John Lauchlan Award Announced – Holeczi, Mills, Walsh to the St. Elias Range

 
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The John Lauchlan Award for 2015 was announced on November 8th in Banff. The team of Steve Holeczi, Jay Mills and Eamonn Walsh will be supported by the JLA for their proposed trip into the Mt. Weisshorn area of Yukon’s St. Elias Range.


The John Lauchlan Award

The John Lauchlan Award is an annual cash award designed to assist Canadian trips exactly like this one. It’s intended to help continue the bold spirit that John Lauchlan exemplified in his mountain exploits and to promote the development of Canadian mountaineers at an international level.

 North Ridge of Weisshorn – unclimbed walls and ridges in the St. Elias.

North Ridge of Weisshorn – unclimbed walls and ridges in the St. Elias.


The Team

Steve Holeczi, Jay Mills and Eamonn Walsh are no strangers to new routing on remote peaks at a high standard - all three have deep resumes of first ascents in the Canadian Rockies, in the north and abroad, much of it together. Walsh and Holeczi (along with Josh Briggs) were the recipients of the JLA in 2000 for their for their trip to the SSE ridge of Mt. Logan, and Walsh also won the award in 2009 (along with Ian Welsted, and Raphael Slawinski) for their trip to Pumari Chhish East (6,900 metres) in the Hispar Glacier region of Pakistan. This is Mills’ first John Lauchlan Award.

 Mt. Weisshorn area. “Basically anything in these photos are our objectives.”

Mt. Weisshorn area. “Basically anything in these photos are our objectives.”


The Objective

The team is focusing on the unclimbed north walls on Mt. Weisshorn, Weisshorn Peak 2 and Mt. McKim in the St. Elias Range, Yukon Territories. The area is SE of the Kennedy Massif and largely untouched; it is believed that there are no established routes on any of the walls surrounding the glacier. The lines that the team is looking at are between 1,200 and 1,500 metres high and are granite and mixed terrain. The trip will take place during three weeks in late April and early May, 2015.

Jay, Eamonn and I are very humbled and appreciative to receive the JLA and to get the opportunity to explore these unclimbed walls in a lightweight style. It costs as much to fly to a foreign country as it does to fly into Kluane, and this award will fund a great portion of that.

- Steve Holeczi


Trip report

Following the trip, the team wrote a full report for the 2016 Canadian Alpine Journal.