Home > News

John Lauchlan Award wants to make the mountains more accessible, apply today

The Canada-based award will be mentoring and supporting climbers from underrepresented communities going forward

Since 1997, the John Lauchlaun Award (JLA) has assisted Canadian mountaineers and explorers with cash to lead cutting-edge trips and expeditions all around the world. From the beginning, the award aimed to promote the development of Canadian mountaineers at an international level and to perpetuate the bold and adventurous spirit exemplified in John Lauchlan’s mountain exploits.

In light of the growing need to make mountains more accessible to everyone, from aspiring to experienced alpinists, the award is introducing a new category. The first category, The Edge Award, calls for the same level of experience and excellence that the JLA has recognized and supported since its founding.

The new Mentors Edge Award for 2022

The second is The Mentors Edge Award, in which the JLA will offer mentoring support to applicants from under-represented groups that historically have not been as supported, so that everyone has the optimum chance of being selected.

A core value of the JLA is that all individuals should be able to pursue climbing as a passion. In light of this, they’ll be ensuring that at least one Edge Award will go to a climber or climbers from the LGBTQ2S+ and/or BIPOC communities.

This is an opportunity to have your climbing projects fully, or mostly, funded simply by applying. A press release from the JLA, said, “The JLA encourages climbers from all backgrounds and from any community in Canada to apply.”

If you have a big mountain objective that focuses on technical climbing, you want to apply for this award. And, if you’re looking at throwing yourself at that big wall up the valley, tell us why it’s bold and adventurous–how will your project challenge your skill and develop your climbing?

For more information on selection criteria visit here and click on How to Apply. The JLA also welcomes questions via email: jla@alpineclubofcanada.ca.

A brief history of the John Lauchlan Award

The first award was given in 1997 to Sean Isaac and the late Guy Edwards for their trip to Towers de Paine in Patagonia; and to Tim Pochay and Grant Statham for their trip to Kitchatna Spires in Alaska.

Since then, dozens of Canadians have received the award, including Katie Holm in 2005 (now co-owner of Climb On in Squamish), Jon Walsh, Sean Easton, Jia Condon, Ian Welsted, Raphael Slawinski, Paul McSorley, Steve Holeczi, Eamon Walsh, Jen Olson, Lilla Molnar, Joshua Lavigne, Simon Meis, Alik Berg, Peter Hoang, the late Anna Smith, the late Carlyle Norman, Jason Kruk, Chris Atkinson, Kris Irwin, Max Fischer, Tim Banfield, Quentin Roberts and many more.

Trips that were supported include to: Karakoram, Alaska, Patagonia, Peru, Himalayas, Greenland, Baffin Island and more.

In 2021, two trips were supported, one to a remote wall in B.C. and one to Canada’s highest peak. Read about the new routes climbed around Mount Logan by Alik Berg, Maarten van Haeren, Ethan Berman and Peter Hoang here.

Who was John Lauchlan?

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.

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.

John Lauchlan on Mount Logan. Photo Jim Elzinga