This week-end wad held in Chamonix the 20th Piolets d’Or ceremony, the awards for the most impressive mountaineering achievements for 2011. Mark Richey, Steve Swenson and Freddie Wilkinson on the Saser Kangri II, and Nejc Marcic and Luka Strazar on the K7, have been awarded.
Saser Kangri II (7,518m), India
Americans Mark Richey, Steve Swenson and Freddie Wilkinson’s expedition to the Indian Karakoram is another example from 2011 of exploration and committed alpine style at high altitude. During a two month expedition, the three alpinists summited the second highest, previously unclimbed mountain in the world, Saser Kangri II. The team reached the summit on 24th August via the steep 1,700 metre south-west face, after four days of
ascent and three bivouacs. The route’s technical difficulties are concentrated in the higher part of the climb.
First ascent: Saser Kangri II via the south-west face – The Old Breed.
Alpinists: Mark Richey, Steve Swenson and Freddie Wilkinson (USA)
Vertical Interval: 1,700m
Difficulty: W14, M3
Date: 21st – 24th August 2011 (base camp to summit).
K7 West (6,615m), Pakistan
Young Slovenians Nejc Marcic and Luka Strazar, 26 and 23 years old respectively, 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. Exploration, technical difficulty, minimalist style and commitment are the characteristics of their ascent. It was their first Himalayan expedition.
New route: Dreamers of the Golden Caves on north-west face of K7 West
Alpinists: Nejc Marcic and Luka Strazar (Slovenia)
Vertical Interval: 1,600m
Difficulty: A15, M5, A2
Date: 6th-9th September 2011 (round trip from base camp)
The jury also made a special mention for the following ascent:
Torre Egger (2,850m), Argentina
by Bjorn-Eivind Aartun and Ole Lied (Norway)