The Lyman Spitzer Awards Showcase the Future of Mountaineering

Besides showcasing 2016’s most ambitious expeditions, the grants promote climbing in true alpine style.


The American Alpine Club has announced the winners of their Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards, a $6,000 grant for mountaineers who are pushing the boundaries of ultralight mountaineering. The grant is named after Lyman Spitzer, the astrophysicist and mountaineer. Besides showcasing two of the most ambitious expeditions of 2016, the grants promote climbing in true alpine style, which means that the expeditions will be climbing fast and light, a style many purists consider the “right” way to mountaineer.

One team, led by mountaineers Chris Wright and Tico Gangulee, will attempt several unclimbed peaks in the Kullu Himalaya. The other team, consisting of alpinists Rob Duncan, Jesse Mease and Marcos Costa, will attempt to summit the unclimbed peak Link Sar in the Himalayas. Link Sar’s main peak remains unclimbed despite repeated attempts by some of the world’s best climbers, and nobody has even set foot on some of the routes Wright’s team is attempting. If either team succeeds in its objectives, their expeditions will earn a place in climbing history.

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