The annual Polartec® Challenge Grant award recipients have been announced. A total of $14,000 will be granted to three separate expeditions in 2009: a climbing and cultural expedition to Namibia, a trip to Everest to focus attention on the impact of climate change on Sherpa culture, and a climb up the Carstensz Pyramid as part of 12-year-old Jordan Romero’s quest for the Seven Summits.
The first grant recipient is climber and writer Majka Burhardt. This spring, Burhardt will lead a small team of climbers into Namibia in the heart of Africa where they will attempt a first ascent on Van Zyl, a sheer, 2,000-foot granite face. Along the way, Burhardt’s team will document and interact with the Himba, an indigenous pastoral tribe whose way of life if threatened by western influence.
The second grant is awarded to Himalya Alert, an expedition to Everest led by renowned Dutch adventurer and freelance writer, Bernice Notenboom. The objective of the expedition will be to report on climate change in the Himalaya and its profound impact on the Sherpa culture.
The final grant recipient is Jordan Romero from Big Bear, California who, at the age of 12, has already climbed the highest peak on five different continents. This summer, Romero intends to climb the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, leaving only Mt. Vinson in Antarctica and Mt. Everest on his list. In his attempt to become the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits, Romero has become a role model for and mentor for other children, speaking at schools about climbing, exercise and the outdoors.
“The Polartec Challenge celebrates the cultural and environmental aspects of adventure,” states Director of Marketing, Nate Simmons. “We believe Majka will draw mainstream attention to climbing in Africa; Bernice will use her trip as a powerful vignette on the impacts of climate change; and Jordan Romero will inspire 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.