Courmayeur to co-host Piolets d’Or awards

For those who come to Courmayeur ski resort to climb Mont Blanc are probably familiar with the Piolet Awards.  The Piolets d’Or awards are given each year to the best mountain climbs of the previous year.  For 2012, six high-altitude climbs were nominated for the prestigious award.  Each of the six climbs included summits over 6,000 meters and five of the climbs included a traverse over the top of the summit to descent down another route.  The awards are being presented this year in a festive in Courmayeur, Italy and Chamonix, France in April.  A four-person panel will review the nominated climbs before choosing the winners.

  • In Nepal, Tatsuya Aoki, Yasuhiro Hanatani and Hiroyoshi Manome, of Japan, climbed the south pillar of Kryashar then descended the west ridge in six days.
  • Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden, of the United Kingdom, climbed the northeast ridge of Shiva in India during a nine-day journey that had them traversing over the summit and down the south ridge.
  • Kyle Dempster, Hayden Kennedy, and Josh Wharton from the USA pioneered a new route up the south face of the Ogre in Pakistan.  The 23,901-foot peak has only been climbed twice in 35 years.
  • In Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, the Complete Mazeno Ridge was climbed by Sandy Allan and Rick Allen of the United Kingdom.  The two completed the climb all the way to the summit, which included a traverse of the 8,125-meter peak. The entire journey spanned 18 days.
  • The southwest face of Kamet in India was conquered by Sébastien Bohin, Didier Jourdain, Sébastien Moatti, and Sébastien Ratel from France.  They used an alpine-style climb that lasted five days to ascend the 7/756-meter peak.
  • Russians, Dmitry Golovchenko, Alexander Lange, and Sergey Nilov, made a new line up the northeast spur of Muztagh Tower in Pakistan.  The rarely climbed mountain is very steep with a 7,284-meter peak.

All of the climbs are impressive which will make choosing a winner very tough for the impressive judge panel.  The annual lifetime achievement award for this year was given to Kurt Diemberger, an Austrian who led the first ascents of Broad Peak and Dhaulagiri.

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