Honnold and Hayes Among 2018 American Alpine Club Climbing Award Recipients
Joining them are John Roskelley, Ellen Lapham and Salley Jewell.
Each year at its annual benefit dinner, the American Alpine Club recognizes a handful of individuals for “outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing and service to the climbing community.” This year, superstars Alex Honnold and Margo Hayes will be presented with awards, alongside pioneering alpinist John Roskelley; longtime alpinist and conservationist Ellen Lapham; and former United States Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. Each honoree receives a different award with its own unique mandate.
Alex Honnold will receive the Robert and Miriam Underhill Award, “given annually to that person who, in the opinion of the selection committee, has demonstrated the highest level of skill in the mountaineering arts and who, through the application of this skill, courage, and perseverance, has achieved outstanding success in various fields of mountaineering.” Among Honnold’s most notable accomplishments are his 2017 free solo of El Capitan via Freerider (VI 5.12d) ; his 2014 traverse of the Fitz Roy massif with Tommy Caldwell; his 2014 free solo of El Sendero Luminoso (V 5.12d); his 2008 free solo of the Regular Northwest Face (VI 5.12a) of Half Dome; and his free solo of Moonlight Buttress (VI 5.12d), also in 2008. Selection Committee member, Mark Richey, says, “The ascent of Free Rider places Alex firmly in a category by himself as the greatest free solo rock climber of all time.”
Margo Hayes is the 2018 recipient of Robert Hicks Bates Award, given each year to a young climber who “has demonstrated exceptional skill and character in the climbing or mountaineering arts and has outstanding promise for future accomplishment.” Hayes made waves in 2017 when she became the first woman to ever climb a consensus 5.15a sport climb—and then did it a second time, too. First she climbed La Rambla in Siurana, Spain, before following it up a number of months later with Biographie, in Ceuse, France. Hayes was the star of “Break on Through,” a short film documenting her journey to 5.15a that was featured in the most recent Reel Rock Film Tour. Selection committee member Rolando “Rolo” Garibotti notes, “With her ascents, Margo redefined what is possible.”
John Roskelley has been chosen for honorary membership in the American Alpine Club, awarded “to those individuals who have had a lasting and highly significant impact on the advancement of the climbing craft.” Roskelley’s resume is chock full of milestone ascents in the Greater Ranges throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including the first ascent of the Great Trango Tower in Pakistan in 1977; new routes on Makalu and Cholatse, in 1980 and 1982, respectively; and the first ascent of the Northeast Face of Taboche, with Jeff Lowe, in 1989. Louis Reichardt, a past AAC director and president, writes, “In both climbing and service, John has set standards that serve as an inspirational example to the entire world-wide climbing and mountaineering communities.” Roskelley received the AAC’s inaugural Robert and Miriam Underhill Award in 1983.
Ellen Lapham will receive the Angelo Heilprin Citation, an honor given to someone who has “shown exemplary service to the Club.” Lapham’s credentials for this award are clear, explains Selection Committee member John Kascenska: Lapham “chaired the AAC’s Conservation Committee and was a key participant in developing the 5-year strategic plan that revolutionized AAC membership growth and started the Cornerstone Conservation Grant. Ellen was an initial founder of the Cordillera Blanca Environmental Expeditions that soon evolved into the current American Climber Science Program.” Lapham has also had great success as a climber: she was a member of the 1986 and 1989 American Expeditions to Everest’s North side, and she is the oldest person to climb both Bridal Veil Falls (WI 6) and Ames Ice Hose, both in Telluride, Colorado. In 2013, the AAC awarded Lapham its David R. Brower Conservation Award.
Last but not least, Sally Jewell, the former Secretary of the Interior, from 2013 to 2016 during the Obama Administration, will receive 2018’s David R. Brower Conservation Award for her “leadership and commitment to preserving mountain regions worldwide.” Selection Committee member, Mark Butler, says, “The American Alpine Club is honored to recognize Secretary Jewell’s unparalleled leadership in landscape conservation and her strong commitment to youth outdoor education.” Prior to serving as Secretary of the Interior, Jewell worked as REI’s CEO and served on the boards of the National Parks Conservation Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association and Premera.
The awards will be presented on February 24 in Boston, Massachusetts, at the AAC’s Annual Benefit Dinner. To find out more and to buy tickets, visit https://americanalpineclub.org/annual-benefit-dinner.