American Alpine Club Hands Out $12k To Fund Climbs

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The American Alpine Club has announced the winners of the 2012 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards, which are given annually to small teams making first ascents or other challenging climbs on some of the toughest mountains on the planet. This year, the bold climbers who have earned this recognition seem keenly focused on objectives in Pakistan and China.

The winners each receive grants to help fund their expeditions, and the 2012 honorees certainly have some ambitious plans. The list includes the following:

• Stan Price & Rusty Willis the storied, oft-tried North Ridge of Latok 1.
• Hayden Kennedy & Kyle Dempster for K7 and the Ogre II.
• Graham Zimmerman, Scott Bennett, and Blake Herrington for Tahu Rutum, a stunning 6,651m tower in the Karakoram.
• David Gottlieb & Chad Kellogg for China’s unclimbed Karjiang (7,221m), the 3rd highest unclimbed peak in the world.

 In total, $12,000 was given to these four teams, which Paul Gagner, the chair of the Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award committee, called the best he has seen in the years that he has held that position.

Each of those is indeed an ambitious challenge, but those are also some excellent and highly skilled climbers on that list as well. It’ll be interesting to follow their progress later in the year, when the Karakoram climbing season gets going.

Congratulations to all the winners and good luck on your projects.

Kraig Becker