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Spitzer Climb Nominated for Piolet d’Or

Posted on: March 2nd, 2010 by admin

Jed Brown, Kyle Dempster, and Bruce Normand (L to R) in front of the north face of Xuelian West. Courtesy of Jed Brown

A huge climb in northern China by Kyle Dempster and teammates Jed Brown and Bruce Normand is one of five nominees for this year’s Piolets d’Or. Dempster received a 2009 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award from the AAC for this expedition, which also included American Jared Vilhauer; the team completed several major new routes in the Chinese Tien Shan.

As their final climb of the trip, Dempster, Brown, and Normand did the first ascent of Xuelian West (6,422m).  The three men completed an alpine-style ascent of the 2,650-meter north face during a five-day round trip. Their route, the Great White Jade Heist, went at M6 WI5 5.7 R. Xuelian West is a satellite of 6,627-meter Xuelian, which has only been climbed once.

The remaining four climbs nominated for the Piolets d’Or are:

• A new route on the southeast face of 8,201-meter Cho Oyu in Nepal by Denis Urubko and Boris Dedeshko.

• First ascent of the direct north face of Chang Himal (6,750m) in Nepal by Britons Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman.

• First ascent of Peak 6,134m in the Minya Konka (Gongga Shan) massif of China, by Russians Mikhail Mikhailov and Alexander Ruchkin.

• New route on the north face of Peak Pobeda (7,439m) in Kyrgyzstan, by Russian climbers Vitaly Gorelik and Gleb Sokolov.

The 18th annual Piolets d’Or ceremony and festival will be held April 7–10 in Chamonix, France, and Courmayeur, Italy. To learn more, visit the Piolets d’Or website.

Each year, the AAC grants a total of $12,000 through Lyman Spitzer Cutting-Edge Awards for lightweight attempts on new routes in the world’s greatest ranges. Winners of the 2010 awards will be announced this week.