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Congratulations! Saser Kangri II Team Wins Piolet d’Or Award

Posted on: March 26th, 2012 by Luke Bauer

Saser Kangri II – Piolets d’or 2012 Winner from on Vimeo.

Congratulations to the Saser Kangri II team on their recognition by the Piolet d’Or! Both Mark Richey and Steve Swenson are Past Presidents of The American Alpine Club, and Freddie Wilkinson has been a staunch supporter of the Club. The trio presented their film about the ascent. The Old Breed, at the recent AAC Annual Dinner in Boston.

The Piolet d’Or’s Charter indicates that: “In modern mountaineering, questions of style and means of ascent take precedence over reaching the objective itself. It is no longer a matter of employing huge financial and technical resources (bottled oxygen, fixed ropes, high-altitude porters, so-called ‘performance-enhancing’ substances…) and large numbers of people to reach the top at all costs. The Piolets d’Or throw the spotlight on imaginative and innovative new routes, using a minimum amount of equipment, and building on experience.” Eighty-eight first-ascents were considered, and eventually the Jury nominated six finalists for consideration.

When the 2012 jury—headed this year by American climbing legend Michael Kennedy—ultimately came to their final selection, it was determined that two ascents should be awarded,”not in a spirit of competition but to encourage a sense of shared purpose and common values among the climbing community world wide.”

So congratulations to the Saser Kangri II team and to Young Slovenians Nejc Marcic and Luka Strazar—26 and 23 years old respectively—who reached the west summit of K7 in a three-day alpine style ascent of the previously unclimbed north-west face via a 1,600m sustained mixed route, completing the third ascent of this famous summit in the Charakusa valley.

A third, special mention was made by the 2012 Jury of Bjorn-Eivind Aartun and Ole Lied’s ascent of Torre Egger. A few days after the climb’s nomination, Bjorn-EIvind Aartun was tragically killed in an ice climbing accident in Norway.

Thanks to Alpinist for some extra info on this story.

Photo Courtesy Piolet d'Or