The 18th Piolets d'Or event was held in Chamonix and Courmayeur from the 7th to the 10th of April. The Piolets d'Or are a "celebration of ethical alpinism" in which a jury gives 'awards' to the top or most inspirational ascents of the year. There is also a career award to honour a climber who has had a major impact on world climbing through a successful climbing career.
Reinhold Messner, the famous Italian high altitude mountaineer, was the recipient of this year's Career Piolet d'Or award, recognising his huge influence in world mountaineering.
The two teams that took a Piolets d'Or for a major ascent in 2009 were:
Xuelian West (6422m), north face, China.
Bruce Normand from Scotland and Americans Jed Brown and Kyle Dempster are among the first climbers to explore the north side of this impressive massif. After climbing several virgin faces during acclimatisation, they completed the first ascent of the 2650-metre north wall of Xuelian West, with five days of difficult and insecure technical climbing.
Cho Oyu (8201m) southeast face, Nepal.
The Kazakh climbers Denis Urubko and Boris Dedeshko climbed a very difficult and direct new route on this 2600-meter wall, during a 10-day round trip from base camp in May. With this climb, they discovered a bold and difficult new way to the summit of a popular Himalayan summit. For Urubko, the climb was a stylish conclusion to his quest to climb all 14 of the world's 8000-metre peaks.
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