American climber Pat Amend once said: “When you ride your bike, you’re working your legs, but your mind is on a treadmill. When you play chess, your mind is clicking along, but your body is stagnating. Climbing brings it together in a beautiful, magical way. The adrenaline is flowing, and it’s flowing all the time.”
Like every sport, mountaineering has its own competitions, ceremonies and… winners.
French magazine Montagnes and The Groupe de Haute Montagne give an annual mountaineering award named The Piolet d’Or (The Golden Ice Axe) since 1991. Piolets d’Or (Golden Ice Axes) awards are considered to be the “Oscars of Mountaineering”. Every year, climbers, mountaineers, and mountain-lovers gather at the base of Mont Blanc for a meeting of global alpinism.
This year the award was given to three expeditions:
Expedition through enormous Fitzroy skyline in Patagonia – Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold (USA)
First ascent of the southwest face of Nepal’s 6183m Thamserku – Aleksander Gukov and Aleksey Lonchinskiy (Russia)
The first ascents of the north face of Hagshu in the Kishtwar range of India’s Himalaya – Ales Cesen, Luka Lindic and Marko Prezelj (Slovenia).
So, in 2015, the European winners are: Alexander Gukov, Alexei Lonchinsky, Marko Prezelj, Aleš Česen and Luka Lindič.
Russians Alexander Gukov, Alexei Lonchinsky
In May 2014, these two mountaineers climbed for the first time the southwest face of Thamserku, a dangerous mountain in Nepal. They climbed for a week to the summit of 6623 meters Thamserku and back. This route was called by them “The Shy Girl”. For this great success they awarded the Piolet d’Or in 2015.
Marko Prezelj, Luka Lindic and Ales Cesen – a Slovenian team with great results in climbing
Marko Prezelj won three Piolet d’Or awards. In 1992 Marko Prezelj and Andrej Štremfelj made a new route on the south ridge of Kanchenjunga South (8476) in alpine style, and they won the inaugural Piolet d’Or award.
Alpine style involves a mixture of snow climbing, ice climbing, rock climbing and glacier travel, where mountaineers generally single carry their loads, in a single push for the summit.
In October 2006, Marko Prezelj with Boris Forensic ascended for the first time Chomolhari’s northwest pillar, and in 2007 he was awarded for this great success. For this climbing, he receives the second Piolet d’or award, but he rejected to on stage to express his opposition for that kind of dangerous competition. This year he received his third Piolet d’Or together with Aleš Česen and Luka Lindič.
Between 29 and 30 September 2014, this Slovenian team of alpinists made the first ascent of the North Face of Hagshu (ED, 70°-90°, 6,657 meters) in the in the Ishtar region of India. This 6657 meters summit is the tallest peak in the eastern Kishtwar.
Slovenians Aleš Česen, Luka Lindič and Marko Prezelj spent nearly a month in the Kishtwar Himalaya of India in 2014, because they had some bureaucracy problems with Indian authorities.
Congratulations to the winners!