The 19th annual Polartec® Challenge Grant recipients have been announced. A total of $20,000 will be awarded to four separate expeditions in 2010: a climbing attempt in Pakistan, a 10,000-kilometer bike ride along the Silk Route, a quest for endless skiing and the continuation of 13-year-old Jordan Romero’s quest for the Seven Summits.
The first grant recipient is climber and writer Kelly Cordes. Cordes, who is a member of Polartec’s Athlete Advisory Board, and his climbing partner Kyle Dempster will travel to Pakistan’s Charakusa Valley, home to massive technical peaks including K6 and K7, along with scores of unclimbed rock and ice objectives, to attempt the first ascent of an unnamed rock spire. The 6,200-meter spire, near K7, has been attempted several times and its virgin summit remains an objective that requires the rare combination of high-end rock skills, tenacity and high-altitude mixed-climbing.
The second grant is awarded to Kate Harris and Mel Yule for a bike expedition along the ancient Silk Road. During their year-long ride from Nepal to Turkey, Harris (a Rhodes scholar with a Master’s from Oxford and M.I.T.) and Yule (an environmental scientist with a Master’s in international development) will use their scientific, environmental and sustainable development training to investigate the natural and social impacts of six unique transboundary protected areas. The goal is to raise awareness about environmental conservation across borders as a peace-building endeavor in transboundary wildernesses along the Silk Road and beyond.
The third grant will go to renowned ski mountaineer Greg Hill, who will attempt to climb and ski over two million vertical feet in 2010. Hill, who set a world record by climbing and skiing 50,000 feet in 24 hours, plans to seek out and explore new ski descents on mountains in Canada, the U.S. and South America over the course of the year. Throughout his quest, Hill will film and document each climb and descent, offering viewers an unparalleled glimpse into the world of backcountry skiing.
The final grant recipient is Jordan Romero from Big Bear, California who, at the age of 13, has climbed the highest peaks on six different continents. This spring, Romero intends to climb Mt. Everest and later this year, Mt. Vinson in Antarctica. In his attempt to become the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits, Romero has become a role model and mentor to other children, speaking at schools about climbing, exercise and the outdoors.
“The Polartec Challenge celebrates our heritage as a technical outdoor company by supporting dreams for big adventure,” states Global Director of Marketing, Nate Simmons. “Kelly is a terrific ambassador for the climbing world and his goal is truly ambitious; Kate and Mell will use their journey as a powerful tool for conservation; Greg is a machine on skis; and Jordan inspires a whole new generation of mountaineers.”
In addition to the grant money, all of this year’s Polartec® Challenge winners will be fully outfitted with Polartec® garments, designed to keep them warm, comfortable and dry in the harshest of climates.
About the Polartec® Challenge Grant
The annual Polartec® Challenge Grant seeks to assist frugal, low impact teams who respect the local culture and environment and serve as role models to outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. Applications are evaluated on the basis of their vision, commitment and credibility. Past recipients of the Polartec® Challenge Grant include outdoor pioneers and adventurers such as Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, Steve House, Marko Prezelj, Andrew McLean and John Shipton.