GRIT&ROCK Announces Winners of 2019 First Ascent Expedition Award

And the winners are….

By GRIT&ROCK Foundation | February 12th, 2019

In September 2016 GRIT&ROCK Foundation, a UK based charity, established an annual international expedition award to promote female first ascents. The aims of the First Ascent Expedition Award to encourage female participation in pioneering alpine ascents and to further the understanding and exploration of the unclimbed peaks. The Award is open to individuals and climbing teams of any nationality with a majority female participation.

On February 11, 2019, the jury, consisting of Christian Tromsdorff, Lydia Bradey, Masha Gordon and Victor Saunders, reviewed applications and announced the winners of the 2019 Award in three categories:



Chantel Astorga, Anne Gilbert Chase and Jason Thompson (USA) for a new route on Pumari Chhish South (7,350m) in Karakoram range in Pakistan (USD 1,000).

Lise Billon (France), Maud Vanpoulle (France) and Caro North (Switzerland) for a new route on Arjuna Peak (6,230 m) in Kishtwar region in India (USD 2,000).



Szu-ting Yi and David Anderson (USA) to climb virgin Starikatchan (5,904 m) in Zanskar Valley of India (USD 2,000).

Sonia Casas Torcida and Mikel Zabalza Azkona (Spain) for a new route on the west ridge of Chobutse (6,685 m) in Rolwaling Valley of Nepal (USD 2,000).

Beth Goralski (USA) and Mary Harlan (USA) for a new route on Mount Marcus in Waddington range in BC, Canada (USD 1,000).



A Swiss team of young alpinists Florence Nikles, Anne Flechsig, Rahel Schonauer, Lisa Pfalzgraf and Ramona Volken for an expedition to Peak Granitnyj (5,278 m) in Kyrgyzstan (USD 2,000).


Lydia Bradey, a member of the jury, said: “The jury was extremely impressed with the wealth of the applicants’ experience and the creativity of climbing objectives displayed in the applications for the Award. The winners of the three categories had matched their own considerable skills well with their chosen goals. This match between confidence and ambition, skill and objective, was a criteria for the jury’s choice.”

Masha Gordon, the founder of GRIT&ROCK said: “The quality of applications goes to show extraordinary ambition and skill in female alpinism. In the course of 2019, we will be watching these 6 formidable teams make attempts on their chosen objectives. These journeys will no doubt inspire others to dream up a formidable goal for the 2020 Award.”


Notify of

Mount Rushmore Sent By Barefoot Woman on Vacation… Almost

A 30-year-old Omaha native and mother of two was 15 feet shy of topping out before she descended (and was arrested).

read more

The Hardest Line in the Hardest Place: Robert Leistner Establishes New 5.14b in the Elbsandstein

Widely spaced ring bolts; no chalk; and no cams, nuts or modern metal protection. The Elbsandstein, Germany is not for the faint of heart.

read more

Ten Sleep Update: Vigilante Climbers Remove Manufactured Routes

An anonymous group of climbers has removed around 30 routes from Ten Sleep Canyon and padlocked the first bolts of dozens more in protest against some developers’ “blatant disregard for the ethics of the landscape.”

read more