Polartec, the company behind the fabrics that keep us warm and dry while playing in inclement weather, has announced the recipients of their 20th annual Polartec Challenge Grants. The awards are generally awarded to small, innovative, and daring expeditions in need of funding to realize their goals. This year, there were four winners.
Amongst the recipients for 2011 is climber Mike Libecki who plans to make several first ascents above the Arctic Circle. Libecki will catch a lift aboard a Russian Icebreaker, than travel like a polar explorer on skis and rubber raft, across 50 miles of open ice, to reach his eventual climbing destination. Look for this expedition to get underway this spring.
The second grant was awarded to Jon Turk, Tyler Bradt and Erik Boomer, who will attempt the first circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island, one of the most remote pieces of land on the planet, falling not far from the North Pole. The team will be covering more than 1400 miles through treacherous pack ice in kayaks and on skis. This will be another spring time adventure that should be quite interesting to follow.
The third grant goes to an all-female team of climbers who have set a goal for themselves to make the first ascent on an unnamed peak in the Karakoram along the border of India and Pakistan. The team consists of top climbers and guides Janet Bergman, Zoe Hart and Kirsten Kremer, who will be making an ascent of a mountain that is 6135 meters (20,128 ft) in height. The expedition will most likely take place this summer, when the Karakoram season is in full swing, and will be a daring alpine style ascent.
The final grant was actually awarded last year, but due to an injury to climber Kelly Cordes, it has to be postponed until 2011. Cordes, and his climbing partner Kyle Dempster, will be headed to Charakusa Valley in Pakistan, where they’ll have their choice of a number of unclimbed faces. Of particular interest is a 6200 meter (20,341 ft) spire near K7 that has yet to be conquered. No dates are set for this expedition, but considering the destination, this is probably a summer adventure as well.
Congrats to the winners. These are some interesting and exciting expeditions.
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