American Alpine Club announces 2021 Cutting Edge Grant winners

Posted on: March 5, 2021

Jess Roskelley, a 2018 Cutting Edge Grant recipient, is pictured here on Baba Hussein (5800m), Pakistan. [Photo] Kurt RossJess Roskelley, a 2018 Cutting Edge Grant recipient, is pictured here on Baba Hussein (5800m), Pakistan. [Photo] Kurt Ross, courtesy of the American Alpine Club

The American Alpine Club (AAC) has announced this year's recipients of the Cutting Edge Grant: Nick Aiello-Popeo, Matthew Cornell, Ryan Driscoll, Sam Hennessey and Vitaliy Musiyenko will attempt objectives in Alaska and Nepal. Black Diamond is sponsoring the grant this year, and a total of $25,000 is being divvied up between the six winners.

A press release reads:

The Cutting Edge Grant continues the Club's 100-year tradition and seeks to fund individuals planning expeditions to remote areas featuring unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, difficult new routes, first free ascents or similar world-class pursuits. Objectives featuring a low-impact style and leave-no-trace mentality are looked upon with favor.


Ryan Driscoll will receive a grant to attempt the North Face (aka the Medusa Face) of Mt. Neacola in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

Nick Aiello-Popeo will receive a grant to attempt the unclimbed 6,000-vertical-foot West Face of Ganesh I [aka Yangra Kangri, 7422m]. This Himalayan giant is the highest peak in the Ganesh Himal in eastern Nepal, on the Tibetan border. The mountain has only seen one recoded ascent, from the north in 1955. Himalayan historian Damien Gildea described the objective as "one of the biggest unclimbed faces in the Himalaya."

Matthew Cornell will receive a grant to attempt the West Face of the North Horseman, and the West Face of Pyramid Peak in Alaska's Revelation Mountains.

Vitaliy Musiyenko will receive a grant to attempt new routes on the North Face of Melanphulan (6573m) and the South Face of Nuptse in the Khumbu Region. Musiyenko had previously been awarded the Cutting Edge Grant in 2020, but the expedition was postponed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

And lastly, Sam Hennessey will receive a grant to attempt the East Face of Jannu East.

Applications for the Cutting Edge Grant are accepted each year from October 1 through November 30.

Click here to learn more or apply.

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