The 2013 Piolets d’Or (Golden Axe) nominees were announced on March 11, spotlighting some of the biggest and boldest mountaineering feats of last year. Six expeditions were given the nod, including a couple of climbs that we followed closely as they unfolded throughout 2012. Each of the six nominees climbed peaks of at least 6,000 meters (19,685 feet). Three of the climbs took place in Pakistan, two in India and one in Nepal.
The six nominees are:
• South Face of the Ogre in Pakistan by Kyle Dempster, Hayden Kennedy, and Josh Wharton
• Complete Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat in Pakistan by Sandy Allan and Rick Allen
• Northeast Spur of Muztagh Tower in Pakistan by Dmitry Golovchenko, Alexander Lange, and Sergey Nilov
• Southwest Face of Kamet in India by Sébastien Bohin, Didier Jourdain, Sébastien Moatti, and Sébastien Ratel
• Northeast Ridge of Shiva in India by Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden
• South Pillar of Kyashar in Nepal by Tatsuya Aoki, Yasuhiro Hanatani and Hiroyoshi Manome
The winners of this year’s awards will be announced at a mountain festival to be held in Chamonix, France and Courmayeur, Italy, from April 3-6. The selection will be made by an all-star jury that consists of British climbing legend Stephen Venables; Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, the first woman to climb all the 8,000-meter peaks without supplementary oxygen; Slovenian climber Silvo Karo; and Japanese mountaineer Katsutaka “Jumbo” Yokoyama.
Each of these expeditions is worthy of gaining recognition, but I am completely biased in favor of the Mazeno Ridge ascent. What Sandy Allan and Rick Allen accomplished over 18-days on that climb is simply amazing and, for my money, is one of the boldest mountaineering expeditions in a half-century. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they earn a little recognition for their climb.
Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and good luck!