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Historic Canadian Award Goes to Fine Alpine Objective

Two climbers are heading to Alaska to try an esthetic looking alpine line with support from the John Lauchlan Award

Mount Huntington west face

The John Lauchlan Award (JLA) has been funding Canadian climbing expeditions since 1997, that’s 25 years of big mountain epics around the world. This year’s award is going to Zac Colbran and Grant Stewart for an attempt at a new route in Alaska this spring. They will receive $5,000 from the JLA.

Colbran and Stewart, who climbed together in Alaska in 2022, stated in their application to the JLA: “Our main objective is to establish a new route up a buttress on the west face of Mount Huntington. The route follows very steep mixed terrain linking rock corners into large ice features to establish 700 metres of highly-technical new ground before intersecting with the upper climbing of the Colton/Leach and reaching the summit.” They will attempt their new route in April. Colbran and Stewart are highly experienced climbers, this is their first time receiving the JLA. In total, seven teams applied for support to the JLA this year.

The goal of the JLA has been to assist Canadians on cutting-edge expeditions around the world. From the beginning, the award aimed to promote the development of Canadian alpinists at an international level and to perpetuate the bold and adventurous spirit exemplified in John Lauchlan’s mountain exploits. As a climber, Lauchlan set new standards nationally and internationally before his death in an avalanche on Polar Circus in 1982. In 1978, he made the first winter ascent of the 1,300-metre north face of Mount Kitchener with Jim Elzinga. One year later, Lauchlan, Elzinga and two others made a 16-day alpine-style ascent of the highly prized and unclimbed 3,000-metre southwest buttress of Mount Logan – the line has yet to be repeated. That same year, Lauchlan and Elzinga made the first ascent of Slipstream WI4 900m on Snowdome.

Elzinga has been overseeing the JLA for several years and thanks to his hard work, the JLA continues to support Canadian climbing expeditions. The JLA is sponsored by several brands, including RAB and Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, and is organized by the Alpine Club of Canada. For more information on the JLA visit here. Follow Colbran and Stewart on Instagram below for more climbing action as they prepare to leave for Alaska in April.




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