Female alpinists from all over the world will be rewarded today, the 12th of February, at the Salle du Bicentenaire (Bicentennial Hall), in Chamonix.
Founded in 2016 by Masha Gordon, the Grit & Rock foundation is a charity which aims to help teenage girls from deprived, inner city background develop greater grit and increase self-esteem through year-long mountaineering training programmes.
An example of perseverance
Grit&Rock foundation was born in 2016, as a result of the love of mountaineering of Masha Gordon.
Masha Gordon is a true example of perseverance and determination. She started her career as a journalist for the Washington Post and later earned a BA in political science from the University of Wisconsin and a master in law and diplomacy from Tufts University.
Although she became one of the most successful businesswomen worldwide, Masha Gordon had not always been sports enthusiastic. In fact, she stated that at 11 she failed PE classes and at 30 she could not complete a 5k run.
Nevertheless, in her mid-30s she was introduced to alpinism by a friend while on vacation in Chamonix and everything changed.
She spent the next seven years perfecting her skills in various fields, such as ski mountaineering, mixed climbing and ice climbing.
In October 2015, Masha Gordon commenced one of the hardest endurance challenges - the Explorers Grand Slam and she broke the existing record: she became the fastest woman to complete the Explorers Grand Slam and the fastest woman to complete the Three Poles Challenge.
The Grit&Rock foundation
"If we do not give women female models in mountaineering, they will not be able to go very far," says Masha Gordon.
In 2016, she started the Grit & Rock foundation, which aimed to assist underprivileged teenage girls to gain confidence and increase self-esteem by offering them free mountaineering programmes.
The First Ascent Expedition Prize is an annual prize which amounts to USD 10,000. The goal is to encourage female mountaineers in pioneering alpine ascent.
The award contains three categories:
Performance: this award is given to ambitious, highly skilled female mountaineers, who attempt to embark on difficult, high-altitude ascents.
Exploration: this category is for projects on a smaller scale, which aim to explore little or not all travelled places.
Apprenticeship: this is a special prize for young female mountaineers, in order to help them to continue and advance in their mountaineering journeys.
This year's ceremony in Chamonix
This year's ceremony will be held at the Salle du Bicentenaire in Chamonix today, the 12th of February 2019.
Starting from 6:30 pm, the event is a great opportunity to celebrate female mountaineers from all over the world.
The Grit & Rock event will also present world-renowned female mountaineers, such as Elizabeth Revol, Carole North, who won a scholarship last year, and Tanya Naville, who are to give inspirational speeches.
In addition, inspiring movies about female mountaineers will be displayed during this evening in Chamonix.