At the basic level, that’s what the climbing grants do – and applications for two major grants, the Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award and the McNeill-Nott Award, are due this Friday, January 1. So, get after it. Just a public service note.
Granted (get it?) there is a little more to it. Filling out the form entitles you to nothing, but it would seem worth the effort if you’ve got a project that fits. Yet few apply (note: I’m not on any grant committees, but I’ve asked some of the people who are). I don’t know why, maybe it’s just a small pool that self-selects – the grants are competitive and, to my knowledge, none exist for run-of-the-mill things like repeating classic routes or road-trippin’ with your bros. Indeed, when we look at recipients of some of the major grants geared toward cutting-edge adventure, like the Mugs Stump Award, the Lyman Spitzer, the Polartec Challenge, and the Shipton-Tilman, they’ve supported some of the greatest alpine ascents in recent history. These objectives are almost always new routes, not refinement repeats (i.e. not first one-day ascent, first free ascent, first all-woman ascent, first American ascent, etc.), as impressive as these may be. To paraphrase a saying that, I think, gets attributed to climbing legend Jim Bridwell: “You don’t travel halfway around the world to repeat somebody else’s route.”
[Alaska's famed Ruth Gorge, as seen from the summit of the Moose's Tooth. Photo: Kelly Cordes]