The Grit and Rock Foundation announced the recipients of their new female-only Grit and Rock First Ascent Expedition Award. Grant money will go to four teams heading out on expeditions.

The GritandRock.net website states, “In September 2016 Grit and Rock announced a launch of an annual international FIRST ASCENT EXPEDITION PRIZE to enable female first ascents. The award, the largest of its kind globally, will fund a female-led expedition team up to the amount of GBP5,000 [$8,100 Canadian]. The aims of the annually awarded prize is to promote and encourage female participation in pioneering alpine ascents.

“The Award is open to individuals and climbing teams with majority female participation and is meant to provide funding for those who need it most.” There were nearly 30 applications from over a dozen countries that applied to one of three categories.

The Exploration Award: Natalia Martinez, Ines Dussaillant and Camilo Rada for a trip to Cordon Aysen in northern Patagonia. And the award also goes to Cristina Pogacean and Nasim Eshqui to attempt peak H17 5,845m in the Zanskar Valley, India.

Jumping with joy at 00:00 GMT this morning when the last of the 28 applications for the First Ascent Expedition Award hit the GRIT&ROCK's mailbox. Wow! So much for all the talk of the crisis in female alpinism. 28 contrast with 35 that Mugs Stump receives after 10 years of successful grant-making. Dreams ranging from climbing remote walls on Baffin island to high altitude peaks in far-flung valleys of Pakistan. Judges Catherine Destivelle, Victor Saunders, Lydia Bradey and Lise Billon have work cut out for them. I am profoundly grateful to everyone who believed in the idea of establishing a female-focused sizable grant to catalise a change and who have helped generously: Tahria Sheather who created the trailer, the BMC, Katie Ives and the Alpinist who helped to spread the word, Carolina Adler who brought the UIAA on board, Nathan Williams, Marion Poitevin, David Autheman and Caroline George for their footage that has inspired many to apply. Tune in to Facebook Live on GRIT&ROCK's page on February 10th at 6pm GMT for the jury's announcement.

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The Performance Award: Galina Chibitok, Marina Kopteva and Anastasia Petrova to attempt a new route on Cameron Peak 5,873m in the Sichuan Province of China.

The Special Prize: Dawa Yangzum Sherpa and Dawa Gyalje Sherpa will attempt a new route on the east face of Chukkima Go 6,258m in Nepal.

The climbers who made the selection were Grit and Rock Founder Masha Gordon, Lydia Bradey, Catherine Destivelle, Victor Saunders and Lise Billon. Listen to a Basecamp Podcast conversation between Bradey and Gripped editor Brandon Pullan below.

Grit and Rock is a new charity which aims to help teenage girls aged 13 to 15 from deprived, inner city backgrounds develop greater grit, determination and self-confidence through a year-long mountaineering training program. Find out more here.


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