In 2009 the BMC has been able to award £11,800 to climbers involved in 10 innovative expeditions. It has also offered its Approval to six others.
Because of criteria changes in the award system, grants are now offered to individuals who meet these criteria, and not the expedition as a whole: in some cases these individuals will be part of a team in which other participants, for a variety of reasons (eg they are from a country outside the UK), do not qualify for an award.
Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman have been awarded £2,500 for their attempt on the unclimbed North Face of Chang Himal, a hard, technical, 1,500m line up a beautiful 6,750m peak in the Kangchenjunga region. The expedition takes place post-monsoon.
Also receiving £2,500 are Jon Bracey and Mat Helliker, a tried and tested team attempting a hard, new mixed line this spring up a steep 1,200m corner system on the South Face of Bradley (2,770m) in Alaska's Ruth Gorge. This objective has already defeated a strong American attempt.
Also visiting the Ruth Gorge this spring are James Clapham and Gavin Pike, who have a number of different objectives. If they find it in condition, they would like to attempt the fabulous but ephemeral ice line left of the Wine Bottle on the 1,500m East Face of Dickey (2,909m). Failing that, virgin lines on the North Face of Church, East Face of Dan Beard or even the unclimbed East Face of Pk 11,300' beckon. They have been awarded £600.
Steven Fortune, Viv Scott and Tony Stone are also in Alaska this spring and have been awarded £1,500 to attempt a new line towards the right side of Hunter's North Face. The so-called Z Buttress has already seen one previous attempt that sadly ended in tragedy. Time allowing, the three plan to transfer afterwards to the Ruth, and attempt more new lines.
Two Chamonix-based female alpinists, Emily Andrew and Cat Freeman, were awarded £400 to attempt most likely the first ascent of Foraker (5,303m) by an all-female team, and certainly the first via the Sultana Ridge. They will initially acclimatize with an ascent of McKinley (Denali) via either the West Rib or West Buttress.
Following up his previous exploration of the remote Xuelian Range in the Chinese Tien Shan, Bruce Normand has been awarded £750 to attempt impressive lines on unclimbed 6,000m+ summits in this little known area. American Jed Brown will partner him.
Es Tresidder has received £1,250 for his attempt on the impressive, unclimbed 1,300m South Couloir of San Lorenzo (3,706m) in Northern Patagonia. No British party has ever climbed in the immediate area, and the vast South Face of Lorenzo remains untouched. Tresidder is partnered for this venture by Mick Fowler. Steve Burns and Ian Cartwright make up the team, and the four head out in September (the austral spring).
Carrying on the tradition of British exploration in Kyrghyzstan's Western Kokshaal-too, Carl Reilly and Graeme Schofield plan to attempt the elegant 1,500m North Ridge of Kyzyl Asker (5,841m). This should involve rock and ice difficulties on excellent granite, and was attempted to around half-height in 1998 by a strong US party. The pair has been awarded £1,500 for their August expedition.
One of the more unusual trips supported is Steve Beckwith's and Matthew Traver's attempt on the unclimbed South West Pillar of the Dragon's Horns on Malaysia's Tioman Island. The Welsh-based pair was awarded £400 and plan to climb in July-August. The only other established climb on the island was put up in 1999 on the South Face: reaching the base of the c500m granite pillar to the left, which will involve trail breaking through dense jungle, is likely to prove one of the cruxes.
Last but not least are Christopher Lavin, Jonathan Phillips, Robert Porter and Dominic Southgate from Imperial College, who have been awarded £400 for their trip to the little-visited Sortebrae region of East Greenland in June-July. This team plans to attempt virgin summits in an area close to previous British visits.
Approved status was given to Tim Moss's three member team to explore the Russian Altai close to the borders with Mongolia, Sally Brown's six-member expedition hoping to make first ascents in the Borkoldoy Range of Kyrghyzstan, Glenn Wilks's four person team climbing from the previously unvisited Staircase Glacier in Yukon's Kluane Icefields, Edward Lemon's three-man team exploring the Sarychat Glacier of the Western Kokshaal-too, Jeremy Windsor hoping to make the first ascent of Kellas Peak on the Sikkim-Tibet border, and Paul Schweizer and Simon Yates, hoping to climb the virgin South West Spur of Vancouver in the St Elias Range. Good luck to them all.
Information on how to apply for a BMC Expedition Award