The 2015 Piolets d'Or prizes for alpinism have been announced prior to the main event which will be held in Courmayeur and Chamonix from 9th-12th April. Amongst the three teams to be honoured with the golden ice axe are American climbers Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold in recognition of their five-day, seven-summit traverse of the Fitz Roy massif in Patagonia last February. (UKC News Report).
In an unusual twist on normal procedure, the organisers have this year decided to pre-announce a selection of 'winners' of the prize, instead of announcing a single winner at the event, in order to focus on celebrating the most outstanding achievements in alpinism in a more rounded manner. As mentioned on the Piolets d'Or event website, the event aims to "share in the “esprit de corps” of international mountaineering and help promote a style of climbing in which « the end does NOT justify the means »"
Other teams also receiving the award are the following:
• Alexander Gukov and Alexey Lonchinsky (Russia), for the first ascent of the direct Southwest Face of Thamserku (6,618 metres) in Nepal.
• Ales Cesen, Luka Lindic, and Marko Prezelj (Slovenia), for the first ascent of the North Face of Hagshu (6,657 metres) in India.
Britain's Sir Chris Bonington will be awarded the seventh Piolet d'Or Carrière at the event in honour of a lifetime of personal achievement and literary contributions both within and outwith the world of mountaineering. Read this UKC News Report for more information.