Bozeman, MT (December 15, 2014)– The recipients of the 2015 Mugs Stump Award were announced at the Bozeman Ice Festival on Thursday. The award, a collaborative effort of Alpinist Magazine, Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd., Mountain Gear, Patagonia, Inc., and W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., was created in 1993 in memory of Mugs Stump, one of North America’s most visionary climbers. In the 23 years since its inception, the Mugs Stump Award has provided $400,000 in grants to small teams pursuing climbing objectives that exemplify light, fast and clean alpinism.
“This was perhaps the strongest group of applications we’ve ever seen,” said Michael Kennedy, one of the grant’s founders. “It will be exciting to follow these climbers as they pursue their alpine dreams all over the world.” Eleven teams with outstanding talent and objectives will receive a total of $38,500 in grants.
2015 Mugs Stump Award recipients:
Revelation Mountains, Alaska Range, Alaska. Chris Thomas and Rick Vance will fly into the remote Revelation Mountains, in a southwesterly pocket of the Alaska Range, to attempt several new routes on its 8,000′ and 9,000′ peaks. “[T]o be honest, we were so excited about the huge number of options available in the relatively untapped Revelation mountain range that we couldn’t pick just one,” says Thomas. Their objectives include a first ascent of unclimbed Peak 9304 by its 4,000′ southwest face; a new route on the steep and technical west face of Pyramid Peak (8,572′); and the first route up the runnel-streaked north face of Golgotha (8,940′).
Mt. Deborah, Hayes Range, Alaska. Elliot Gaddy, Bayard Russell and Michael Wejchert will return for their second attempt on the unclimbed south face of Mt. Deborah (12,540′). In spring 2013, the trio established base camp below the face, expecting to try a 4,500′ line connecting sharp buttresses to the peak’s long, corniced summit ridge. “After two weeks of prolonged cold [as low as -40?F], we were unable to make an alpine-style attempt,” Wejchert says. “We are hungry to return.”
Shispare Sar, Hunza Region, Pakistan. Veteran alpinists Doug Chabot, Steve Su and Rusty Willis will return to the Karakoram in pursuit of “the most promising untried line” Chabot says he’s ever laid eyes on. Shispare Sar (7611m) has seen two previous ascents, by a Polish/German team in 1975 and by six Japanese climbers in 1995. Each ascent was aided by more than 1000m of fixed rope. Chabot, Su and Willis plan to climb the north face in alpine style, without fixed ropes or fixed camps.
Latok I and Ogre II, Charakusa Valley, Pakistan. Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson will spend more than three months in the Karakoram next summer, attempting light and fast ascents of two storied alpine objectives: the North Face of Ogre II (6960m) and the North Ridge of Latok I (7145m). “An ascent of either will be a milestone for Karakoram climbing and its history,” Dempster says. “It would also mark a personal achievement that would frame a lifetime of alpine pursuits.” This trip will mark Dempster’s third attempt on these two objectives.
Ogre II, Charakusa Valley, Pakistan. The trio of Will Mayo, Josh Wharton and Stanislav Vrba will also attempt the North Face of Ogre II, where they’ll find difficult and sustained mixed climbing and a lack of bivy options to the summit ridge.
Unclimbed Towers, Greenland. In 2014, Mike Libecki made his eighth trip to the east coast of Greenland, travelling 600 miles by boat, kayak and foot. Along the way, he found a handful of steep granite towers ranging from 800-1400m tall. “There is not evidence of any kind of climbing or exploration at all, on or near these walls and towers other than by [me] and my partners,” Libecki says. In 2015, he and Ethan Pringle seek to free climb each of these by the steepest and longest natural lines they can find.
Svarog and Main Parus, Ashat Gorge, Kyrgyzstan. Jewell Lund and Angela Van Wiemeersch will pursue new routes on two 5000m peaks in the lesser-known Ashat Gorge, adjacent to the well-travelled Ak-Su and Karavshin valleys. They’ll follow a narrow line of ice to the unclimbed summit of Svarog (ca. 5000m), and take one of several options up the intricate northwest face of Main Parus (5053m).
Nuptse East, Khumbu Region, Nepal. Colin Haley and Ueli Steck will team up to make the first pure alpine-style ascent of the infamous South Pillar of Nuptse East (7804m). After attempts by Jeff Lowe, Mark Twight, Barry Blanchard, Steve House, Marko Prezelj, and others, Valeriy Babanov and Yuri Koshelenko summited in 2003 by fixing lines up to 6400m. “I do not object to Babanov’s decision to fix ropes on the route,” Haley says, “but I do believe that the original and greater challenge remains and is as relevant as ever: to climb the route in alpine style.”
K6 Central, Nangma Valley, Pakistan. Young alpinists Scott Bennett and Graham Zimmerman will join veterans Mark Richey and Steve Swenson in pursuit of the unclimbed central summit (7100m) of the K6 massif. As two teams of two, they will skirt objective hazard by climbing a steep pillar that rises directly up the south face to the summit. For Bennett, “This expedition is not only an opportunity for a group of strong alpinists to visit a significant unclimbed objective, but also a fantastic opportunity for a sharing of knowledge between two generations of alpinists.”
Hathi Parbat, Garhwal Himalaya, India. Though Hathi Parbat (6727m), an oblong peak in Nanda Devi National Park, was first climbed by an Indian team over 50 years ago, its southwest face remains unexplored. In 2015, Bozeman climbers Anne Gilbert Chase and Jason Thompson will attempt the complex face in alpine style, weaving between steep snow, ice and a broad rock face to top the 1500m wall and continue to the summit.
Ngadi Chuli, Mansiri Himal, Nepal. Justin Griffin and Skiy DeTray will venture to the massive south face of Ngadi Chuli (aka Peak 29; 7871m), immediately south of Manaslu. They believe the face, estimated 2700m tall, to be “one of the great unclimbed challenges of this generation,” Griffin says.
These climbers–and all of this year’s Mugs Stump Award applicants–share Mugs’ vision of climbing as a celebration of boldness, purity and simplicity. For more information on the Mugs Stump Award, including reports from previous years, please visit mugsstumpaward.com.
Contact: Michael Kennedy, 970-309-4651, firstname.lastname@example.org