The American Alpine Club (AAC) has announced the 2022 Cutting Edge Grant recipients: Chantel Astorga, Alan Rousseau, Jerome Sullivan and Priti Wright. The recipients and their partners will attempt climbs in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges.
The AAC press release reads:
The Cutting Edge Grant continues the Club’s 100-year tradition and seeks to fund individuals planning expeditions to remote areas featuring unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, difficult new routes, first free ascents, or similar world-class pursuits. Four recipients have been awarded a total of $37,000 for this cycle, with objectives featuring a low-impact style and leave-no-trace mentality being looked upon with favor. Black Diamond Equipment is a proud sponsor of the Cutting Edge Grant and a key partner in supporting cutting-edge alpinism.
Chantel Astorga will receive a grant for $10,000 to attempt a new route on Lunag Ri [ca. 6900m] in Nepal. Chantel…Anne Gilbert Chase and Jason Thompson will hope to establish a new line on Lunag Ri in alpine style. Chantel recently grabbed the first female solo ascent of the Cassin Ridge in under 15 hours on Denali in 2021. Anne, Jason, and Chantel established a new route on the unclimbed SW Face [of] Nilkantha [6596m], India in 2017. [The Alpinist Podcast interviewed Astorga about her climbing career and female speed record on the Cassin Ridge; that episode can be found here.]
Alan Rousseau will receive $10,000 to attempt an alpine style ascent of the north face of Jannu (aka Kumbhakarna, 7710m) in Nepal. Given its aspect, elevation, and sheer scale (3200 vertical meters), Jannu is considered one of the most complex alpine objectives in the world. The upper north face headwall has yet to see an alpine style ascent. [Jannu was featured in the Mountain Profile of Alpinist 57 in 2017. A collection of essays from that feature can be found here.] Jackson Marvell will join Alan. Jackson and Alan climbed a new route on the east face of Mt. Dickey, Ruth Gorge Grinder [M7 AI6+, 5,000′] and repeated Trailer Park on London Tower (WI6 M6, 3,000′), both located in the Ruth Gorge of the Alaska Range.
Jerome Sullivan will receive a grant for $10,000 to attempt the first ascent of Pumari Chhish East (6850m) in the Pakistani Karakoram. Pumari Chhish East is one of the major unclimbed technical summits of Karakoram. Located on the Hispar Glacier, it presents three characteristic granite pillars and a 2000-meter face. Jerome will attempt the climb alongside Martin Elias, Victor Saucede, Jeremy Stagnetto. Recently the team climbed K13 west by the new route Harvest Moon. Jerome and Jeremy did the first ascent of the southeast ridge of Cerro Murallon (Patagonia) and the first ascent of Pyramid Peak in the Revelation Range (Alaska). [Sullivan also had a grand adventure with three companions in 2016 on a self-supported expedition in which they sea kayaked along the coast of Greenland to climb a new big-wall route on the Apostelens Tommelfinger. In a story titled “Castles of Ice and Air,” published in Alpinist 43 (2013), Sullivan wrote about climbing the southeast pillar of Cerro Murallon on Patagonia’s Continental Ice Cap.]
Priti Wright will receive $7,000 to attempt a new route on K7 in the Pakistani Karakoram. Priti and Jeffrey Wright will attempt the unclimbed peak K7 Central (6,858m) by establishing an entirely new technical route in alpine style. During Priti and Jeff’s first Karakoram expedition, they were successful in establishing the first ascent of K6 Central (7155m) in 2020.
The American Alpine Club has inspired and supported cutting-edge climbing achievements for over 100 years. From funding the first ascent of Mt. Logan in 1925 and the exploration of the Karakoram in 1938 to the 2006 first ascent of Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face, and the countless expeditions in between, the AAC has stood to encourage climbers to push their physical and mental limits, supported their pursuits, and celebrated their accomplishments. The Cutting Edge Grant…sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment…continues this tradition, aiming to fund advanced climbing athletes in pursuit of world-class climbing and mountaineering objectives.
Applications for the Cutting Edge Grant are accepted each year from October 1 through November 30.
For more information, visit: americanalpineclub.org/cutting-edge-grant.