2023 AAC Cutting-Edge Grants Announced

The American Alpine Club has just announced the recipients of its Cutting Edge grants. For nearly a century, this program funds alpine-style teams attempting exceptional climbing projects around the world. Here are the six grantees for 2023.

Jannu North Face

This year we have a repeat attempt: Jackson Marvell (and likely regular partner Alan Rousseau) will attempt 7,710 Jannu’s North Face in pure alpine style. They tried the climb in 2021 and 2022. Located in the Kangchenjunga region, this face has been climbed only once. A Russian team using traditional Himalayan techniques made several trips up and down the mountain, progressively setting up camps and fixing ropes on parts of the route.

Marvell and Rousseau, together with Matt Cornell, recently opened an impressive new line on Alaska’s Mount Dickey. We’ll have to wait to know all the names of Jannu’s North Face team.

Selfie of the climbers on Mt. Dickey's summit. No references in foggy weather.

Left to right, Jackson Marvell, Alan Rousseau and Matt Cornell on Mount Dickey’s summit some weeks ago.


Pik Koroleva

Seth Timpano is heading a team that will attempt one or two new lines up 5,812m Pik Koroleva in Kyrgyzstan.

The rock and ice peak, with a previous route marked in red.

Pik Koroleva in the Tien Shan range. The topo shows a previous route up the North Face opened in 2021 by a Kazakh team.  Photo: Kirill Belotserkovskiy/AAC


White Sapphire

Christian Black and partners Vitaliy Musiyenko and Hayden Wyatt will go for the White Sapphire (6,040m) in Kishtwar, India.

The above three teams will each receive $8,000 for their projects.

The AAC has awarded three other grants: Noah Besen will receive $6,000 to explore and climb the big walls of Coronation Fiord on Baffin Island, Canada. Lindsey Hamm will receive $6,000 for some unspecified climb in the Charakusa Valley, Karakoram.

Finally, James Gustafson has received $3,000 to attempt 2,150m Desdemona Spire on Alaska’s Stikine Ice Cap. The peak has only one previous climb, in 1975. The first climbers were not even sure if they summited because of whiteout conditions.

The grants, offered jointly by the American Alpine Club and Black Diamond, seek 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.”

For teams interested in applying next year, here are the conditions.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.