Due to a welcome increase in available funds, the BMC was able to award £18,700 to climbers involved in 17 expeditions planning first ascents in the World's mountain ranges.
In addition, the BMC was able to offer its Approval to four more teams, and make the first of the Julie Tullis Memorial awards.
Destinations include North and South America, Central Asia and the Himalaya, with a number of projects truly world class. Several teams have already returned and reports on their adventures can be found at this site. More news will appear in the future, as climbers come home with their stories.
For further details on how and when to apply for support, see BMC Grant Support for Expeditions.
Receiving £1,800 were Stu McAleese, Mark Thomas and Twid Turner for their trip to chilly Baffin Island, which resulted in the probable first ascent of a formation they dubbed Welshman's Peak by the major big wall route Arctic Monkeys.
An award of £1,500 went to Pete Rhodes and George Ullrich, who joined American Mason Earle to attempt a free ascent of the Catedral in the Torres del Paine. The three got well up the East Face before a massive Patagonian storm sent them packing.
David Rudkin and Matthew Stygall received £1,500 for their proposed attempt on Byeliy (5,697m) in Kyrghyzstan's Western Kokshaal-too. Despite several attempts, this well-guarded peak, originally dubbed Grand Poobah, remains the main unclimbed summit of the range, and the pair also hopes to have a crack at a direct line up the impressive ice/mixed face of Granitsa.
Daniel Clark and Matthew Traver are also travelling to Kyrghyzstan, where they will join two Americans for an exploratory trip to the Djangart region on the Chinese border. This is a little visited range and most peaks remain unclimbed, including the highest at 5,318m. They received a grant of £800.
Sam Leach, Simon Lindsell and Tom Nichols were awarded £500 to investigate the head of an unnamed glacier basin in Kyrghyzstan's Torugart-too. On the border with China lies a hidden peak of 5,108m, perhaps the highest remaining unclimbed summit in this part of the range.
Suzy Madge was awarded £400 for an exploratory ski-mountaineering trip to the upper Wakhan Corridor in North East Afghanistan. She was also the recipient of the 2010 Julie Tullis Memorial Award of £350. Read about her escapades at British go Afghanistanski.
University students Hamish Dunn, Luke Hunt and Tom Ripley head off shortly to Tahu Ratum in Pakistan, armed with a number of grants including a BMC award of £1,800. This year is proving lean for expeditions to the Karakoram and the team will be one of very few from any country to climb on peaks above 6,500m. Read more about their up-coming trip on Young team receives 2010 Nick Estcourt Award.
Boris Korzh, Philip Leadbeater, Andrew McLellan and Jonathan Phillips form the Imperial College Obra Valley expedition, which received £600 and plans to climb in this little-visited Indian valley. Peaks rise to over 5,800m and will provide a step-up in altitude for the climbers in an area where no one has yet reached any of the major summits.
If a permit from the Indian authorities is forthcoming, Malcolm Bass and Paul Figg hope to attempt 6,805m Janahut, the highest unclimbed peak in the Gangotri. Bass has previous experience here, having attempted the West Face in 2004. They received a grant of £1,000 and will be accompanied by New Zealand female Pat Deavoll, who was also on the 2004 expedition.
Recipient of a 2010 Piolet d'Or for last year's splendid climbs in the Tien Shan, Bruce Normand hopes to gain a permit for Birutaso I (6,691m), a technically difficult unclimbed summit in Tibet's Eastern Nyanchen Tanglha. He has received £900 for the attempt, in which New Zealander Guy McKinnon will join him.
An award of £2,100 was given to Pete Benson, Nick Bullock and Matt Helliker for an attempt on the South East Ridge of Annapurna III (7,555m), one of the most well-known unclimbed lines in Nepal, if not the Himalaya. In the past, several parties have been defeated by the complex approach, which can be difficult and dangerous. This proved the case for the British trio in the spring, but they plan to make a second attempt during the autumn.
A two-man Kyashar expedition plans to attempt the South Pillar of this 6,769m peak (aka Peak 43) above the Hinku Valley in Nepal. Andy Houseman's original partner, Nick Bullock, may now be otherwise engaged on Annapurna III, so it's likely there will be a replacement. It’s a technical line that has seen off some strong opposition in the past, and Houseman has been awarded £1,400.
Only one of the supported teams travels to Peru this summer. It's not easy to find a major unclimbed face in the Peruvian Andes but Tony Barton knows about these things, and with Tom Chamberlain and Mark Scales is hoping to attempt the untouched South West Face of the little-visited Huaguruncho (5,780m) in the Cordillera Oriental. This is an isolated, difficult mountain that was first climbed in 1956 by notable British alpinists. The three have been awarded £1,000.
Three teams received support for trips to Alaska. Tim Lofthouse and Adrian Nelhams planned to attempt hard and ephemeral ice lines in the Kichatna Range (awarded £1,000), while Jonathan Griffith and Will Sim were heading for objectives accessed from the Ruth Amphitheatre, notably Peak 11,300' (also awarded £1,000). Rob Adie and James Wake had a number of options within and also possibly without the Ruth Gorge (£800).
The weather in Alaska was not the best this season: Griffith and Sim had to abort their new line on the East Face of Peak 11,300' at a vertical section of unconsolidated snow, from which Griffith took a 50-footer. The two later moved to the Kahiltna, from where they made a creditable attempt on Hunter's Moonflower Buttress and several other routes. Adie and Wake fared rather better, managing to complete one route, which may or may not be new.
In the more remote Wrangell St Elias group Stuart Howard and Dave Swinburne have discovered an untouched group of peaks on the Barkley Ridge, east of Mt Miller. They received £500 to attempt one or more of these enigmatic summits, which rise to c2,800m
The BMC also awarded Approved Status to Andy Parkin and Victor Saunders who planned to attempt winter ascents in the Khumbu. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful on any objectives due to a nasty injury sustained by Parkin, as noted in a previous news report on Winter expeditions in Nepal. Also awarded Approved Status were Chris Horobin's four-man team to the unclimbed Telthop in India’s Ladakh Range, Mick Fowler's four-person team to the Chinese Tien Shan, and Ricky Munday's Australasia Three Peaks expedition planning to climb the three highest mountains in Indonesia.
Photographs from top to bottom:
Birutaso. Birutaso I is the peak furthest left, with II immediately to the right. Sean Waters
Byeliy from the north, as seen during the approach up the Fersmana Glacier. The main summit is on the right. Paul Knott
Kyashar, with the South Pillar facing the camera. Marek Holecek
The East Face of Peak 11,300'. James Clapham