Friday, January 12, 2018

American Alpine Club Announces 2018 Climbing Award Winners

Yesterday the American Alpine Club announced the winners of its 2018 Climbing Awards, and as you might expect, there are some well known names on the list. The awards are given out each year by the AAC to recognize outstanding achievements not just in climbing, but also conversation and service to the community as well.

This year's winners include the following:

Honorary Membership Award:  John Roskelley takes home this award, which is given out to "those who had a lasting and highly significant impact on the advancement of the climbing craft." Roskelley earned the honor by putting up multiple first ascents in North America, the Himalaya, and the Karakoram, including a new route on the Northwest Face of Nanda Devi and the first ascent of the Great Trango Tower. He also has summits of K2, Makalu, and numerous other peaks to his name.

The Robert and Miriam Underhill Award: This award is given out to the person who has displayed the "greatest skill in the mountaineering arts and who, through the application of this skill, courage, and perseverance, has achieved outstanding success in various fields of mountaineering." For 2018, that person happens to be Alex Honnold, who has a long and distinguished list of accomplishments, not the least of which was the first free solo climb of El Capitan in 2017.

Heilprin Citation: Each year, the Angelo Heilprin Citation is given to the person that has shown outstanding service to the AAC. This year, that award will be given to Ellen Lapham who has chaired the club's Conversation Committee and was instrumental in developing a five-year plan for the organization.


The Robert Hicks Bates Award: This year's winner of the Robert Hicks Bates Award, given to an outstanding young climber who has demonstrated "exceptional skill and character," is Margo Hayes. The 19-year old has been on the climbing scene for several years already, but has put up some impressive accomplishments in her young career, including La Rambla in Siurana, Spain and Realization in Ceuse, France, two of the hardest sport climbing routes in the world, both rated at 5.15a. She has also won the Golden Piton for climbing 14 routes graded 5.14 or higher, and was the first female to complete a 5.15a route.

The David R. Brower Conservation Award: The winner of this award really doesn't need any introduction. The 2018 David R. Brower Conservation Award will go to Sally Jewell, who served as the Secretary of the Interior during the Obama Administration and is the former CEO of REI. Under her watch, the National Parks launched initiatives to get more kids into the outdoors. She also oversaw the designation of 18 new National Monuments, and has been instrumental in the improvement of relations with Native Americans as well.

The awards will officially be handed out at the AAC's annual benefits dinner on February 24 in Boston. To find out more about each of these award winners click here

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