The Copp-Dash Inspire Award, sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment, La Sportiva, Mountain Hardwear and Patagonia (and with in-kind support from Adventure Film Festival, the American Alpine Club, Jonny Copp Foundation and Sender Films), annually announces the winners of the climbing grant established in memory of American climbers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash who were killed in an avalanche in China in May 2009, along with filmmaker Wade Johnson. In addition to providing financial support to perspective expedition teams, the goal of the Copp-Dash Inspire Award is to provide mentoring before and after the expedition to help the climbers bring back and share inspiring multimedia stories of their adventures.
“The Inspire Award is not just a climbing expedition grant,” says Jonathan Thesenga. “One thing we all learned from Jonny and Micah is that it’s as much about the stories and experiences that we take away from our climbs, as the climb itself. This award has been designed to support small teams with big goals in the high mountains and empower them to bring their adventures back and share their stories of inspiration.”
It is with Jonny and Micah’s spirits and passions in mind that the Inspire Award provides the winning applicants with financial support, as well as assists the climbers before, during and after their expeditions with multimedia instruction to help empower them to share their current and future adventures with abroader audience.
The 2017 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives are:
- Quinn Brett - South Africa Tour : First Ascent of The Tsaranoro Massif of Madagascar and unclimbed cliffs in the area. Teams of men and women have climbed together but a woman duo has yet to return and establish their own route.
- Zach Clanton - The striking 2,000’ arête of The Finite Spur, Telaquana Mountains, Alaska with a stout 5.11 splitter pitch that unfolds into one 5.9-5.10 parallel crack after another to reach the top of the White Headwall.
- Zebidiah Engberg - West Face of Xanadu, the largest unclimbed rock wall of good quality in the American Arctic with only one recorded ascent (Jon Krakauer and Bill Bullard, June 1974). The Arrigetch Peaks are a cluster of steep granite spires located in Gates of the Arctic National Park.
- Tino Villanueva - Northern India to the Zanskar Range. Suru Valley, specifically on the Ligsarmo glacier, one drainage west of the Shafat Glacier. The North Face of Rungofarka and the Northwest face of Pk 5780. Rungofarka. A 1300-meter granite wall laced with ice runnels. Pk 5780 is an 800-meter granite formation with a central flying buttress.
The 2016 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives are:
- Craig Muderlak with Drew Thayer and David Fay. Enchainment of the Neacola Bells, a massif of granite spires in the Aleutian Range of Alaska and then pack-rafting out 51 miles to the Lake Clark National Park.
- Chris Gibisch and Jeff Shaprio. First ascent of 4000-foot west face of Arjuna, an alpine wall in the Kishtwar region of northwest India.
- Zach Clanton with James Gustafson and Reese Doyle. First ascents of two unnamed granite peaks and buttresses in the Telaquana Mountains of the southern Alaska Range.
- Whitney Clark and Crystal Davis Robbins. First ascent of Gupta, a steep, fin-shaped peak of snow, ice and granite in the eastern section of the Kishtwar region in northwest India.
The 2015 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives are:
- Zach Martin with James Gustafson and Tim Plotke. First ascents of unnamed and unclimbed granite spires and buttresses in the southeast Tordrilo Mountains of Alaska.
- Rachel Spitzer with Anna Pfff and Lisa Van Sciver. Alpine-style first ascents on the sub-6000-meter peaks of the Indian Himalaya’s Zanskar Range (an area that Johnny and Micah visited in 2007, making the FA of the immense Shafat Fortress).
- Michael Wejchert with Bayard Russell and Elliot Gaddy. First ascent of the unclimbed, unattempted south face of Mount Deborah in Alaska’s Hayes Range
- Joshua Lavigne with Crosby Johnson and Tony Richardson. First free ascent of the1150-meter northwest face of Great Sail Peak in the Stewart Valley of Baffin Island.
The 2014 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives are:
- Austin Siadak with Chris Kalman, Matthew Van Biene and Tad McCrea. Ground-up first ascent on 3,000-foot east face of Cerro Catedral in Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia.
- Jessa Goebel with Pat Goodman. Free climbing first ascents on the 1500- to 1800-foot walls of North Moraine Hill Glacier in the Ragged Range of Canada’s Northwest Territories.
- Erik Bonnett with Max Fisher. First ascent of 2100-foot spire that forms the southern summit of Kooshdakhaa in the eastern Alaska/northern Yukon Coast Mountains.
- Graham Zimmerman with Clint Helander and Jens Holsten. First ascent of the central buttress of Titanic Peak’s 3600-foot northwest face in the Revelation Mountains of Alaska.
The 2013 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives are:
- Michael Wejchert with Bayard Russell and Elliot Gaddy. Unclimbed 4,500-foot south face of Mt. Deborah (12,339') in Alaska's Hayes Range.
- Lizzy Scully with Quinn Brett. Torssukatak Fjord, Cape Farewell, Greenland. First ascents of unclimbed, unnamed big walls and ridges.
- Mick Follari with Dylan Thomas. First ascent of central buttress of Kohe Pamir (6320m) in Afghanistan's Wahkan Corridor.
- Daniel Harro with Colin Haley and John Frieh. First ascent of 5,000-foot west face of Middle Peak, St. Elias Range, Alaska.
- Pete Dronkers with Jonathan Crabtree. South Pillar of Lowell Peak (3630m), St. Elias Range, Canada.
The 2012 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives are:
- Chris Wright with Geoff Unger. Southeast face of Lunag IV (6781m). Other possible objectives include Little Lunag (6492m) and Lunag III (6795m), all in the Khumbu Himal, Nepal, and unclimbed.
- Sam Johnson with Ryan Johnson. 1400-meter southwest face of Kizil Asker (5842m) in western Kokshall Too of Kyrgyzstan.
- Mike Libecki with Freddie Wilkinson. Belgica---Fabiola---BirgerBergensenfiella area, Antarctica. First ascents on previously unclimbed big walls.
- Joshua Lavigne with Jon Walsh. Northwest face of the South Tower of Mount Asgard, Baffin Island, Canada.
- Pat Goodman with Jeremy Collins and Brad Jackson. First ascent of Peak 2600m (aka The Phoenix) via a new all free route up the 700-meter east face, Logan Mountains, Canada.
The 2011 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives were:
- Dave Burdick with Dylan Johnson and John Freih. A new, completely independent rock and mixed line on the 1100m South Face of Mt. Burkett, Stikine Icecap, Southeast Alaska.
- Jesse Spaulding with Kyle Kneely, Scott Parker and Conrad Piper-Ruth. New routes, up to 6000m, in the Nangma Valley, Northern Pakistan.
- Kyle Dempster with Jewell Lund. First ascents in the Karavshin Valley in southwestern Krgyzstan. Intermission bike ride from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to Skardu, Pakistan (approximately 1400 miles).
- Matt McCormick with Pat Goodman and Will Meinen. First ascents of the Southwest Pillar of K7 West and an alpine-style first ascent of a major sub-summit of K7 West, Nepal.
- Mike Libecki. Solo attempt for the first ascent of The Ibex Horn, central Afghanistan.
The 2010 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives were:
- Kevin Mahoney, South Face of Nuptse, Nepal; with Ben Gilmore and Freddie Wilkinson. Alpine-style ascent of the South Face of Nuptse (7,800 meters), via a new route on the perimeter of the Cobweb Wall.
- Madaleine Sorkin, Southeast Face of Mount Proboscis, Canada; with Lorna Illingworth and Emily Stifler. First complete free ascent of the 2000-foot Original Route.
- Matt McCormick, Southeast Pillar of K7 West, Pakistan; with Jim Shimberg and Tim Deroehn. Alpine-style first complete ascent of 1500-meter sub-summit spire of K7 West.
- Sam Johnson, South Face of Mount Shand and traverse of Mount Hayes massif, Alaska; with Ryan Hokanson. Alpine-style first ascent of 1500-meter face on Mount Shand and 12-mile traverse of Mount Hayes massif, entailing thousands of vertical meters of climbing.
- Sarah Garlick, northwest face of The Baroness, Greenland; with Danika Gilbert, Jim Surette, and Dave Nettle. New free route on 2000-foot northwest face of The Baroness.
- Will Meinen, North Face of Mount Geikie, Canada; with Fred McGuinness and Scott Thumlert. First ascent on 4000-foot North Face of Mount Geikie
- Zack Smith, traverse of the Moose’s Tooth massif; with Renan Ozturk and Freddie Wilkinson. A full traverse of the Moose’s Tooth massif, entailing an estimated 12,000-feet of ice, rock and snow climbing.