2015 Piolets d’Or Winners Announced
Three climbs to receive mountaineering's highest award
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The 2015 Piolets d’Or winners were announced on Tuesday, and three first ascents will be honored, according to a statement on the award’s website. The ceremony will take place April 9 to 12 in Chamonix, France, and Courmayeur, Italy.
American climbers Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell will take one prize home for the first full traverse of the Fitz Roy range in Patagonia in February 2014. Working from north to south, the pair climbed seven peaks over five days: Aguja Guillaumet, Aguja Mermoz, Cerro Fitz Roy, Aguja Poincenot, Aguja Rafael Juárez, Aguja Saint-Exúpery, and Aguja de l’S. According to Rock and Ice, they notched close to three miles of climbing and 13,000 feet of vertical gain, including some free- and simul-climbing on 65-degree ice.
“I’m pretty psyched,” Honnold told Rock and Ice about winning a Piolet d’Or. “I’ve joked before that if I ever won a Piolets d’Or, I would just retire from climbing. Of course, I said that before I ever alpine climbed, so it seemed like some impossible thing.”
Three Slovenian climbers—Ales Cesen, Luka Lindic, and Marko Prezelj—will be recognized for opening a new 4,400-foot route on the north face of India’s Hagshu last September. The Russian team of Alexander Gukov and Alexey Lonchinsky round out the recipients for climbing a new 5,314-foot route, named Shy Girl, on the southwest face of Thamserku in Nepal.
In the past, the Piolets d’Or haven’t been announced until the awards ceremony, according to Alpinist, but the 2015 committee wanted to move away from emphasizing competition and instead focus on celebrating the “passion, spirit, and values” of alpine climbing, the website says. “We want to get the word ‘winners’ out,” spokesperson Liv Sansoz told Rock and Ice. “Winners implies losers, and that’s not what we are about. We are trying to celebrate the spirit of modern alpinism and its values.”