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NOLS Instructors Win Prestigious Climbing Award

By Lauren Edwards, NOLS Marketing Intern

Every year, innovative and adventurous alpinists from North America vie for the prestigious Mugs Stump Award, a grant given annually to alpine climbers with visions of pursuing difficult climbs around the world. The award is given in memory of Mugs Stump, one of North America’s most bold and prolific climbers, who died in May of 1992 in a crevasse fall. This year, NOLS Instructors Dave Anderson and Steve Herlihy have received the grant for their expedition to Patagonia, where they will attempt to open at least two new routes on the previously unattempted Avellano Towers. Nacho Grez and Jamie Selda, also instructors for NOLS, will be part of the expedition team.

The main objectives for the team will be to travel fast and light without leaving any fixed anchors, and to climb at least two new routes. They’ll use the same Leave No Trace principles that they teach their students.

Nacho Grez, a native Chilean, discovered the Towers while leading a trek in the area and will help organize in-country logistics for the expedition. Anderson, Grez, Herlihy, and Selda have done thorough research on the area, and although the terrain is foreign, they believe that the topos look relatively straightforward. The quick and light alpine type climbing that the team is attempting carries many hazards, mainly because of the level of commitment it entails. And with Patagonia’s notoriously intense weather, their attempt at climbing the Avellano Towers may come in short windows.

Dave Anderson has been a NOLS Instructor since 1996. He has taught mountaineering and rock climbing courses in Alaska, Patagonia, the Cascades, the Wind River Range, and India. As an avid climber, his personal climbing expeditions have taken him around the globe establishing first ascents in Alaska, Pakistan, Patagonia, Newfoundland, and Equador. Dave comfortably leads 5.12 sport and trad routes, and lately has been specializing in speed alpine traverses, including a one-day onsight of The Grand Traverse in the Tetons and a 17-hour solo car- to-car link up of the Cirque of Towers in the Wind River Range. His latest redpoint is the Citadel of Hope, a 5.12c sport route located in Sinks Canyon outside Lander, Wyoming.

Steve Herlihy is also an instructor for NOLS, and has been teaching since 2000 in places such as the Cascades, Rocky Mountains, and Tetons. He likes to teach climbing camps, mountaineering, and whitewater courses for the school. Besides instructing for NOLS, Steve has done lots of adventure traveling within the U.S., climbing difficult routes trad and sport routes in Indian Creek, Red Rocks, Joshua Tree and the City of Rocks. Recently Steve has been honing his skills on the big walls in Zion National Park.

Jamie Selda has been climbing for eight years, and teaching for NOLS since 2002. He excels in a variety of climbing mediums, from limestone sport routes, to Yosemite classics such as Lost Arrow Spire, and steep ice in southern Colorado. Nacho Grez is a native of Chile and has founded the Avellano Towers expedition. He has logged many weeks in the field for NOLS, and specializes in teaching mountaineering, climbing, and hiking courses. Nacho has been teaching for NOLS since 2000.

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