I learned last week that our South Avellano Towers Expedition has been selected to receive this year’s prestigious Mugs Stump Award.
Here is what I wrote to the selection committee
Thank you for supporting our expedition to the Avellano Towers in Chile. While the funds from the Mugs Stump Award are a huge help in making this trip possible for Szu-ting Jared and myself, the award has a much deeper meaning for me.
I would imagine that I am one of the older receipts of this years Mugs Stump Award. However, being “old” in age allows me to have a unique connection to both the person, Mugs Stump, and the ideals of alpinism that are embodied in the award. Although I never met Mugs Stump, he was the main reason I started climbing more than four decades ago.
For my 18th birthday I received a subscription to a brand new magazine called Outside. The first issue featured an article called titled “The Dance of the Woo Li Masters” about the incredible first ascent of the East Face of the Moose’s Tooth by Jim Bridwell and Mugs Stump. At the time I knew nothing about climbing, but soon after reading the article I devoured every book on the subject from my local suburban library. That spring I started rock climbing on the short cliffs of CT’s traprock and have been seeking out challenges in the mountains ever since. As I learned more about Mugs Stump I became inspired not only by his pure climbing style, but for choosing a way of life instead of having society choose one for him.
Bridwell’s title for the route drew upon the ideas presented by Gary Zukav in his “new age” quantum physics book, The Dancing Woo Li Masters.
“Whatever he [the Master] does,” writes Zukav, ” he does it with the enthusiasm of doing it for the first time. This is the source of his unlimited energy.” 32 years later I am still feeding off this energy!