Ueli Steck and Simon Anthamatten Claim 2009 Piolet d’Or

The Hardwear Sessions, official blog of Mountain Hardwear, is reporting that that Ueli Steck and Simon Anthamatten have won one of three 2009 Piolet d’Or awards, given out annually for outstanding accomplishments in mountaineering. The amazing duo took home their prize for their first ascent, in Alpine Style, of the North Face of Tengkampoche, a 6500m peak in the Khumbu Valley.

Upon winning the award, Ueli released the following statement:


t is a great honour for me to receive the “Piolets d’Or 2009” award. This award is given away by mountaineers who know what alpinism is all about. This prize should also be trendsetting. Therefore it is a great confirmation that Simon and I are on the right track. Alpinism is not comparable. First of all it is a matter of personal experience and personal challenge. That’s why it is important to be able to follow some rules. With today’s modern technique everything is achievable. Every mountain can be climbed. But the mountain is no longer the determining link between success and failure. Personally this is exactly what most matters: that the alpinist is the most important element between success and failure and not primarily the technical means. Thanks to all my sponsors, which have been supporting me during all these years and who give me the opportunity to realise such idealistic goals.

Thank you also to Simon: this was one of the most beautiful expeditions I could experience.

Although this prize was for 2009 I am proud of all my ascents. And we do not have to forget: it’s not over yet, it will go on. I am totally consumed by my projects. And the next one is closer than we might think.”

Ueli and Simon are a class act both on the mountain and off, and everyone already knows their part in the Inaki Ochoa incident last year on Annapurna. Obviously this award is well deserved, as they exemplify everything that the spirit of mountaineering is all about.

The other two winners of the Piolet d’Or include Japanese climbers Kazuya Hiraide and Kei Taniguchi completing the first ascent of the South-West face of Kamet and Fumitaka Ichimura, Yusuke Sato and Kazuki Amano, also of Japan, opening a new route on the North Face of Kalanka. Both climbs were completed in Alpine Style.

Congrats to all the winners.

Kraig Becker

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