On August 21, 2016, Kyle Dempster and his partner, Scott Adamson, left base camp to make the first ascent of the nearly 23,000-foot north face of Ogre II in Pakistan. When they were still not back on August 26, the day they had planned to return to base camp, fellow climbers, friends and family launched a massive search-and-rescue effort. It went on for nine days before the families made the difficult decision to cease rescue operations.
The Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award, established in 2018, seeks to nurture in others the sense of adventure that Dempster deeply valued. He was more than a climber and alpinist—he was an entrepreneur and an explorer. Among his adventures was a solo, two-month, bike-powered climbing trip in Kyrgyzstan, which he documented in the short film “The Road From Karakol.” Dempster also owned and operated Higher Grounds Coffee, with a high school friend, in Salt Lake City.
Two months from now, friends and family of the Dempster will celebrate his life, and what would be his 36th birthday, by awarding the second annual Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award. The award of $4,000 will go to the individual, or individuals, who show a zest for adventure—climbing-related or otherwise—curiosity and passion for exploration. Applications are open until March 15th.
Last year’s recipients of the award were: Anthony Marra, who received $2,000 for a four-month biking, skiing, surfing and climbing trip across nine summits in New Zealand; Jessica Kelley, who received $1,000 for a 1,350-mile bike-rafting trip through Alaska, while raising money for Anchorage GRIT, a bike-mentorship program for middle-school girls; and Alex Gaber, who received $1,000 for a 1,000-mile thru-hike of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
If you hear the call of adventure, pitch your ideas here for trips taking place between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. Applications are due March 15th, and the winner, or winners, will be announced March 27th.