Kyle Dempster Solo Award and American Alpine Club Live Your Dream Grant open for 2020 applications

Posted on: January 18, 2020


Kyle Dempster in his elements. [Photo] Kyle Dempster collectionKyle Dempster in his elements. [Photo] Kyle Dempster collection

Two grant application periods opened this week—the Kyle Dempster Solo Award and the American Alpine Club Live Your Dream Grant. The AAC application period is closing earlier than usual this year, on February 29; more information on that grant will follow below.

KD Solo Award applications are due March 15 for trips taking place between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. The recipient(s) will be announced on March 27, 2019, Dempster's birthday.

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A press release reads:

One of America's great young alpinists best known for first ascents of big remote peaks around the globe, Kyle Dempster was a passionate climber, adventurer and friend who fully lived his 33 years before he and his climbing partner Scott Adamson disappeared while attempting to climb the North Face of the Ogre II in Pakistan, in August of 2016.

Though Kyle loved climbing, traveling and going on adventures with friends, many of his most memorable and creative trips were done alone, traversing wild corners of the world by himself and under his own power. From kite skiing hundreds of miles across Baffin Island, to his biking and climbing trip across Kyrgyzstan that was made famous in the short film The Road from Karakol, Kyle found a deep sense of meaning and joy in exploring the world on his own.

Each year, the Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award will be given to an American solo adventurer embarking on a journey that embodies Kyle's passionate spirit and love of exploration, with an emphasis on storytelling and leave no trace ethics. The recipients are by no means limited to climbers, and the trips awarded by no means must involve the big mountains Kyle loved—on the contrary, we encourage applications for human-powered solo adventures of all kinds—big or small, remote or urban, cold and icy or hot and sunny.

Trip reports from past recipients can be found here.

Click here to apply or get more information.

AAC Live Your Dream Grant

Anel Guel travelled to the Cordillera Blanca in Ancash, Peru, where she summited Mt. Pisco (5752m) in Huascaran National Park on June 19-20, 2018. [Photo] Anel Guel collectionThe Live Your Dream Grant supported Anel Guel, who travelled to the Cordillera Blanca in Ancash, Peru, where she summited Mt. Pisco (5752m) in Huascaran National Park on June 19-20, 2018. [Photo] Anel Guel collection

The American Alpine Club is pleased to announce this year that "the 2020 Live Your Dream Grant is now open to climbers of all ages, all experience levels, and all climbing disciplines." As mentioned previously, grant applications are due by February 29.

A press release reads:

"After receiving valuable feedback from our grant applicants and committee members, we decided to shift the timing of the 2020 Live Your Dream Grant," said Caroline Bridges, the club's Grant Manager. "By opening the grant in mid-January and closing it at the end of February, we hope to provide individuals with more planning time for their early-season adventures. We look forward to seeing where your dreams take you in 2020."

The Live Your Dream Grant was founded on the belief that our definitions of exploration and dreams are unique to each of us. Meaningful exploration isn't limited to the highest peaks in the farthest reaches of the world. Your local gym, crag and backyard mountains are equally important resources to help stoke inspiration for adventure. When we seek out new experiences, overcome obstacles, and connect with each other through exploration, we change ourselves.

What's most important in a Live Your Dream Grant application is to demonstrate personal progression. Be it transitioning out of the gym or establishing a first ascent in the greater ranges, the purpose of this grant is to support and promote unforgettable experiences for those who love climbing.

Since 2012, the AAC and The North Face have enabled nearly 700 adventures large and small with more than $330,000 in financial support. This initiative is supported through TNF's The Explore Fund, established in 2010 to create access and drive equity in the outdoors. Live Your Dream Grants are unique because their main objectives are to help more climbers of all skill-levels improve through life-changing exploration.

For the 2020 grant cycle, the AAC and TNF will give away $50,000 in increments ranging from $200-$1,000 per individual. There is an application fee of $5 for AAC members and $20 for non-members. AAC membership is required only if a grant is awarded.

Click here to apply or find more information.

A story from LYD Grant recipient Austin Schmitz

Thanks to an American Alpine Club Live Your Dream Grant and some guidance from her son, this mother did something she never thought she would and climbed Cathedral Peak in Yosemite. [Photo] Austin SchmitzThanks to an American Alpine Club Live Your Dream Grant, this mom was able to climb Cathedral Peak in Yosemite with her son. [Photo] Austin Schmitz

[The following story has been edited by Alpinist staff.]

I wanted to do something a little different than other LYD grants. My mom was in a bit of a rough place, and I knew we needed to get out and about.

My mom is not a climber, but about a year ago she watched the classic film Valley Uprising. [Fewer than] two weeks later, she sent me a photo of Cathedral Peak [in Yosemite], asking what mountain it was.... I told her that it was a fairly easy climb and that we should climb it this time next year!

She was a bit hesitant, but it didn't take long for her to get excited. Despite crippling depression, she found the energy and motivation to hire a personal trainer and worked her butt off to get in shape for the climb.

Fast forward a year: I met her in Sacramento, California, and we drove to Tuolumne Meadows to climb Cathedral Peak....

We did one scouting day to make sure we knew the approach (not intuitive!). The next day we woke up at 4 a.m. to give us plenty of time to summit. We summited not long after noon and made it back with plenty of time.

Although it was a great physical and mental challenge, my mom said it was one of the most incredible days of her life. As a kid she had always dreamed of becoming a [National Geographic] photographer or explorer, but unfortunately life got in the way. Instead, she raised kids at an early age and never got to do the things she dreamed [of doing]. But with this climb she felt she had [accomplished a dream]. I will never forget that feeling. She's now riding [on] the [sense of] empowerment she felt with this climb and is changing her lifestyle to be healthier, happier and more willing to take on challenges.

—Austin Schmitz

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