The John Lauchlan Memorial Award is a cash award designed to assist expeditions of Canadian mountaineers and explorers, which is accepting applications for end of 2017 and 2018 expeditions.

The award exists to perpetuate the bold and adventurous spirit which John Lauchlan exemplified in his mountain exploits.

Specifically, the award strives to promote the developement of Canadian mountaineers at an international level through the support of worthy expeditions and mountainous adventures.

You have the opportunity to have your trip fully or mostly paid for simply by applying. If you have a big mountain objective, you want to apply for this award.

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The following biography was compiled from a variety of sources including an obituary published in Explore Magazine in April 1982.

John Lauchlan was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Sept. 12, 1954. The Lauchlan family settled in Calgary in 1966 after living in both Edmonton and Saskatoon.

John attended Henry Wise Wood High School where art and music were a big part of his life. In this time he discovered mountain climbing, a passion that would soon dominate all his activities. When he graduated from high school in 1972, “…the direction of his life was well established. It would be climbing first and all other things as they fit.”

In the 10 years after high school, John was to become the undisputed leader of the mountaineering community. His climbs became more bold and he brought new meaning to the words possible and impossible. His intensity and commitment were incomparable to any Canadian climber before him.

Tim Auger, John Lauchlan, Jack Firth, Bugs McKeith and Rob Wood

John was a pioneer in setting new standards both nationally and internationally. In 1978, he made the first winter ascent of the 1,300-metre North Face of Mt Kitchener in Jasper National Park with Jim Elzinga. One year later, John and three others made a 16-day alpine-style ascent of the highly prized and unclimbed 3,000-metre southwest buttress of Mount Logan 5,959 m, Canada’s highest mountain.

In the summer of 1980, with Dwayne Congdon, he represented Canada at the Rassemblement International, a bi-annual event held in Chamonix, France, that attracts two of the best climbers from each country. John and Dwayne succeeded in making the third ascent of the MacIntyre/Coulton Route on the Grande Jorasses, a route that had defeated many of Europe’s top alpinists. John went on to climb the North Face of Les Droites and to solo the Gabbaroux Couloir on Mt Blanc.

In Canada, ice climbing was one of John’s main interests and he led the movement towards new routes and bolder styles. His list of first ascents includes Takakkaw Falls, Pilsner Pillar, Slipstream and Nemesis (the first free ascent).

John Lauchlan on Mount Logan. Photo Jim Elzinga

In spring 1980, John led a four-man expedition to Nepal to establish a very technical new route on the south face of Ganga Purna, a 7,454-metre peak in the Annapurna area. This was a landmark ascent and to this day, ranks as one of the most difficult climbs Canadians have done in the Himalayas.

Climbing was not just a sport for John, it was his way of living life to the fullest; it provided a sense of understanding and a coming to terms with himself. He was constantly testing himself, pushing a little harder on the fine edge that seperates success from failure. Each time he came closer to realizing his full potential.

John was not only a world-class climber, he was a leader and a pioneer of new ideas. He was instumental in what would evolve into today’s Mountain Equipment Coop and he also helped developYamnuska Inc., now Canada’s largest mountain school.

John inspired everyone he met. He was a teacher, a climber and a leader of his generation. His death in an avalanche in the winter of 1982 left an incredible void in the Canadian climbing community. But in his lifetime he created a legend and he gave every climber a fearless example of what they can become. This, perhaps, was his greatest gift of all.

How To Apply Here

Past Recipients of the John Lauchlan Award
2017: Accepting applications now for 2018
2016: Max Fisher and Fred Giroux for their 2017 new-route trip to the Homathko Icefield.
2015: Anna Smith and Alison Criscitiello for their 2016 Garwhal Himalayas expedition.
2014: Mark Taylor, Kris Irwin, Darren Vonk and Ian Welsted for their exploratory trip to climb new routes in the Revalations Mountain Range in Alaska.
2013: Paul McSorley, Joshua Lavigne and Jason Kruk for their trip to attempt an unclimbed route on the south face of Thalay Sager in the Garwhal Himalayas (India).
2012: Carlyle Norman, Brandon Pullan and Cian Brinker for their trip to attempt an unclimbed route on Aguja Bifida in Patagonia.
2011: Chris Geisler and Jason Kruk for their trip to Patagonia for a “fair means” attempt to climb the south east ridge of Cerro Torre. Their goal is to fore-go using any of the compressor placed bolts placed by Maestri on the controversial first ascent.
2010: Chris Atkinson and Chris Jones for their trip to the unclimbed Tangmonja (6328 metres) in the Nyenchen Thangla Range in Tibet.
2009: Eamonn Walsh, Ian Welsted and Raphael Slawinski for their trip to Pumari Chhish East (6900 metres) in the Hispar Glacier region of Pakistan.
2008: Simon Meis and Josh Lavigne for their trip to Hainabrakk in Pakistan.
2007: Lilla Molnar and Jennifer Olson for their trip to Batura Muztagh Range in Pakistan.
2006: Jeff Relph, Jon Walsh and Paul McSorley for their trip to Baintha Brakk (The Ogre) in the Karakorum Range in Pakistan.
2005: Katie Holm, Aidan Oloman and Katherine Fraser for their trip to the Siguniang Mountains in Western China. This was the first time that the award was given to an all-womans expedition.
2004: Jon Walsh and Andre Ike for their trip to the Devil’s Thumb, Alaska.
2003: Sean Easton and Connie Amelunxen for their trip to Peru.
2002: Guy Edwards and John Millar for their trip to Mount Swachnd in the Garwal Himalayas, Northern India.
2001: Jia Condon and Rich Prohaska for their big wall and sailing trip to Greenland.
2000: Steve Holeczi, Josh Briggs and Eamon Walsh for their trip to the S.S.E. ridge of Mt. Logan in the St. Elias Range of northern Canada.
1999: Sean Easton, Connie Amulunxen and Keith Reid for their trip to the Devil’s Thumb in Alaska.
1998: Jia Condon, Rich Prohaska and John Chilton for their trip to the S.E. face of Mt. Logan in northern Canada.
1997: Tim Pochay and Grant Statham for their trip to Kitchatna Spires in Alaska.
1997: Sean Isaac and Guy Edwards for their trip to Towers de Paine in Patagonia.


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