Climb the Grand Scholarship

Calling all youth of Fremont County! Experience the adventure of a lifetime with a four-day guided experience up the Grand Teton, the most iconic peak in Wyoming. No previous climbing experience required. Four recipients will be selected in 2018. Eligible applicants are those finishing 8th – 11th grade in May 2018.

How to Apply:

The Online Application link is below.  Paper applications are also available at regional schools and at the lander chamber of commerce.  All applications must be submitted by 5pm on April 20th, 2018.  

Upon completing this application, you will receive a confirmation email/phone call. If receiving an interview, you will be notified by early May and an interview will be scheduled. The Central Wyoming Climbers Alliance will choose 4 recipients from those interviewed. Recipients will be notified by mid May.

Climb dates are non negotiable: July 19th - July 22nd (see itinerary below). At least one parent/guardian will need to be available to accompany scholarship winners to and from Jackson, Wyoming. This will include 2 nights’ lodging in or near Jackson while recipients attend their 2 days of pre-climb instruction. CWCA can work with recipients to help figure out these travel and lodging logistics.  For more info on the 4 day Grand Teton trip visit: Climb details, gear list, and itinerary will be provided to the scholarship recipients upon notification and acceptance.

Planned Itinerary:
Thursday, July 19th
-  Mountaineering Level I at Hidden Falls. Number in party: 4

Friday, July 20th - Mountaineering Level II at Hidden Falls. Number in party: 4

Saturday, July 21st & 22nd - Grand Teton 2-Day Classic. Number in party: 4

Scholarship recipients will be climbing with up to 3 other youths and 2 mountain guides in variable weather conditions and over varied terrain. If you are filling out this application, you should be prepared for mental and physical challenge. Additionally, be prepared to work with others to accomplish goals and to ask for help. If the recipient needs help with gear, the CWCA and Exum guides will provide what is needed.

Link to 2018 Online Application

Questions? Email:

Why is there a scholarship to climb the Grand Teton?

The purpose of the Jim Ratz Memorial Scholarship is to provide young people with the opportunity to experience the power of personal achievement and the experience of problem-solving through climbing.

Rock climbing is a powerful activity that prepares us for life. It allows us to learn and practice new skills, confront fears and anxiety, connect to the land, and ourselves. Climbing teaches everyone different things. Often the most difficult part of climbing is getting the equipment to get started and finding a mentor or guide. This scholarship is meant to allow a greater number of youth to experience climbing by removing those barriers to entry. Here is an interesting article by an 8th grader after experiencing indoor climbing for the first time   "lessons I learned while rock climbing."

Jim Ratz was a community member, an avid climber and a visionary. He was a former Executive Director of  NOLS, co-owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, and director of the AMGA. He dedicated his life to outdoor education and the preservation of Wilderness. 

To read more about Jim Ratz and his connection to Lander, please check out these articles from NOLS and Everest News.

Past scholarship winners:

2017: Justin Don Martin (Riverton), Darien Ferris (Ft. Washakie)

2016: Dorian Baldes (Ft. Wasakie), Kaylen Frable (Atlantic City), Maria Kulow (Lander), Emilee Robins (Lander)

2015: Rachael Troxl (Lander) and Ryan Crawford (Lander) 

2014: Nesto Lowham (Lander) and Kamille Brough (Lander)

2012: Sammy Crawford Mitchell Atnip

2011: Beryl Coulter and Henry Austin

2010: Anna Boyle (Lander) and Chancy Headley (Ft. Washakie)

2009: Joe McGowan (Lander) and Willy Ratz (Lander)

2008: Carlyn Cook (Lander) and Jessica Roberts (Riverton)

2007: Lisa Zirbel (Lander) and Larkin Guenther (Lander)

2006: Teresa Miller (Lander) and Clayton Tanner (Lander)

2005: Heather Birch (Lander) and Eliah Petersen (Lander)

2004: Heather Hendricks (Lander) and Marie Cartwright (Lander)

2003: Tom Pryor (Hudson) and Karissa McGiven (Riverton)

2002: Cale Hinkle (Lander) and Marissa Matthews (Riverton)