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American Alpine Club presents its second annual Excellence in Climbing Awards

Posted on: May 3, 2017


The second annual American Alpine Club Excellence in Climbing Awards celebration in Denver on June 3 will honor several climbers for their contributions to social and environmental causes around the world. In addition, a Cutting Edge Award will recognize an ascent performed in upstanding style.

The AAC describes the Cutting Edge Award as honoring a "team who, with the aid of an AAC climbing grant, demonstrated excellence in climbing, upheld the values of the American Alpine Club, and acted in a manner befitting a world-class ambassador to American climbing both domestically and abroad."

Scott Bennett and Graham Zimmerman are receiving the American Alpine Club's Cutting Edge Award for their 2015 ascent of K6 West (7040m) by a new route on the Southwest Ridge (M6 90 degrees, 1800m) at a benefit celebration in Denver on June 3. The event will also recognize David Morton and Melissa Arnot Reid, Sean and Timmy O'Neill, Doug Walker and Sean Patrick for their contributions to social and environmental causes around the world. [Photo] Courtesy of the American Alpine ClubScott Bennett and Graham Zimmerman are receiving the American Alpine Club's Cutting Edge Award for their 2015 ascent of K6 West (7040m) by a new route on the Southwest Ridge (M6 90, 1800m) at a benefit celebration in Denver on June 3. The event will also recognize David Morton and Melissa Arnot Reid, Sean and Timmy O'Neill, Doug Walker and Sean Patrick for their contributions to social and environmental causes around the world. [Photo] Courtesy of the American Alpine Club

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This year, Scott Bennett and Graham Zimmerman are receiving the award for their 2015 ascent of K6 West (7040m) by a new route on the Southwest Ridge (M6 90 degrees, 1800m). They were supported by the American Alpine Club's Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Grant for an expedition that also included a first ascent of Changi Tower (6500m) by the North Ridge (M6 5.10 A2, 600m) with Steve Swenson. [Zimmerman wrote a feature article about the climb for Alpinist 53, which can be found here.]

The honorees being inducted into Hall of Mountaineering Excellence for their contributions to social and environmental causes are David Morton and Melissa Arnot Reid, Sean and Timmy O'Neill, and the late Doug Walker and Sean Patrick.

An AAC press release describes the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence inductees:

Sean Patrick (1951—2009): For being a recognized leader in the cancer treatment and research community. Sean Patrick spread awareness, compassion and inspiration to other women by founding HERA Ovarian Cancer Foundation, all while continuing to climb.

David Morton and Melissa Arnot Reid: For starting The Juniper Fund, which provides assistance to individuals, families and communities in underserved countries adversely affected by their work for the mountain-based adventure industry.

Sean and Timmy O'Neill: For their work with Paradox Sports, a community that provides inspiration, opportunities and specialized adaptive equipment so that anyone is able to be an active participant in human-powered sports.

Doug Walker (1950—2015): Former AAC President, committed conservationist, and a true climber's climber, Doug Walker dedicated his life to the preservation of the outdoors he loved so dearly through his service on a variety of boards and generous giving.

The "teamwork-themed" event is at the Westin Hotel and includes presentations by award winners. There will be a cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, libations and food. An after-party starts immediately after dinner, complete with live music by The Goonies (an '80s cover band) and a gear giveaway.

A "very limited" number of tickets are available for $85 for AAC members and $100 for non-members. All proceeds benefit The American Alpine Club Library and The Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum. For more information about the weekend activities and to reserve your spot, call (303) 384-0110 or visit americanalpineclub.org/excellence. Registration closes on May 29, or when sold out.

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