Piolet D’or Asia selected

Posted: Nov 13, 2012 02:17 am EST

(Kyu Dam Lee/ExWeb Korea) The ceremony of awarding ‘Piolet D’or Asia’ prize was held in Seoul on Nov-09-2012. Winners of the prize were two expeditions; co-awarded:

2012 Korean Himjung Expedition (location : Peri Himal of Nepal)
First Ascent
Chang-Ho Kim, Chi-Young An

The Free Spirits Expedition (location : Ta-Hsueh Mts of Sichun)
Target Jiazi (6540m), Little Konka(5928m), Leduomanyin(6112m)
New Routes
Zhou Peng, Yan Dongdong, Lee Shuang

Two other candidates were:

2012 Sympathy 3 Hunter North Face Expedition (KOR) Mt Hunter(4441m) North Face (Location: Denali National Park in Alaska)
Suk-Moon Choi, Sung-Wook Moon, Jong-Neung An

Japan Namu-nani-feng Expedition 2011 (JPN) Namu-nani-feng (7694m) Traverse (Location Gangdise Mountains of West Tibet)
Kazuya Hiraide, Kei Taniguchi

From the organizers (Kim Seung Jim, Man and Mountain magazine):

The Piolets D'or Asia Award is now receiving its seventh anniversary. This award has been raising up the cultural mind of Asian mountaineering world and presenting the direction of the future alpinism.

Based on the fast and light expedition, which will result the protection of natural environment and the preservation of the essence of alpinism, this award has been requiring the new and harder attempts to the climbers of Asia. Without fixed ropes, without oxygen bottles, without sherpa guides, and then climbers and mountains can share the genuine experience.

This award is not a competition, but a festival of climbers. Monthly magazine 'the Man And the Mountain' selected 4 nominees finally by way of strict screening. They were recommended by member nations of UAAA and mountaineering mgazines which represents their nations.

Let's meet the final nominees of this year!


Kim Seung Jin, Korea, Editor in Chief of Man and Mountain
Hiroshi Hagiwara, Japan, Editor in Chief of Rock & Snow
Im Duck Yong, Korea, 14th, 15th, 16th Jury of Piolets D’or
Denis Urubko, Kazakhstan, Winner of 6th Piolets D’or Asia
Kim Byung Jun, Korea, Korea Alpine Federation
Yu Han Gu, Korea, Alpinist
Park Jung-hyun, Korea, Alpinist
Lim Sungmuk, Korea, Editor of Man and Mountain

1. 2012 Sympathy 3 Hunter North Face Expedition
Target Mt Hunter (4441m) North Face
Location Denali National Park in Alaska
Route Variation Route(between Deprivation and Moonflower)
Member Leader Choi Suk-moon, Moon Sung-wook, An Jong-Neung
Climbing style Alpine style

Korean three-man team put their feet on the top of Mt. Hunter on 21st May this year. Their original goal was a new direct route between the route Deprivation and the route Moonflower on the north face.

They started to climb on 15th May and reached an overhang below the First Ice Band that day, breaking through several M7 grade mixed pitches. Next day became the crucial day. Leader Choi got over an ice column of WI6 grade and then confronted with the vertical ice wall. When he pulled out his ice tool at the point below few meters of the pitch's end, the ice wall began to collapse. He fell 15 meters without serious injury. The ice-screw set below the collapsed ice wall stopped his fall. Acknowledging that they couldn't succeed the line, they retreated to the base camp.

On 19th May they re-started. This time they changed their first goal and aimed a variation route by way of the route Deprivation. Reaching the previous collapsed ice wall, they detoured to the right, and breaking through 600 meters to the Second Ice Band. This 600 meters is the new line on the north face. Thereafter, they followed the Deprivation's easy snow slopes and the Moonflower route to the top of the north peak of the Mt. Hunter.

They didn't stop at the north peak, while most teams did. Instead they continued to the main summit, breaking through the steep knife ridge. They completed the 1,500 meter north face route with almost half of the route being new line.

2. Japan Namu-nani-feng Expedition 2011
Target Namu-nani-feng (7694m) Traverse
Location Gangdise Mountains of West Tibet
Route New Route(Southwest Face~Summit~Northwest Ridge)
Member Kazuya Hiraide, Kei Taniguchi
Climbing style Alpine style

Japanese two-people team set a new line on the southeast face of Kamet in 2008. And so they received this Piolet D'or Award already. This time they nominated by traversing a remote high mountain of the West Tibet, Namunanifeng. This mountain lies in Kangdise Mountains wherein the sacred mountain Kailas is near.

They came to the mountain last year. In October they set the base camp at 4850m near Ronggo Gully. Their aim was to climb up the southwest face and climb down the northwest ridge. The southwest face is beyond 2000 meters, and they started to climb central direct rib of the face. They climbed mixed pitches 400 meters a day. On the fourth day they started camp 4 and reached the top. Climbing down the northwest ridge to the aimed plan, they accomplished the whole ridge by pitching one more camp on the descent.

This is the moment of the traversing 7000 meter peak by alpine style by new route.

3. 2012 Korean Himjung Expedition
Target Himjung (7140m) First Ascent
Location Peri Himal of Nepal
Route Southwest Face
Member Kim Chang-ho, An Chi-young
Climbing style Alpine style

7140 meters high peak Himjung was the highest unclimbed peak in Nepal Himalaya, until a Korean two-man team ascended it on 12th October this year. This peak was opened in 2002 in commemoration of the Year of the World Mountain.

They set the base camp at 4880m in the Pangri Glacier on 29th September. They changed their planned route of southeast ridge which is prone to avalanche to southeast face which runs directly up to the top.

On 9th October, they started to climb and reached the foot of the southwest face at 6050m. During the bivouac they were suffered by jet stream, and next day they climbed only 3 pitches of overhang rock face. On 11th October, they climbed through ice and rock in turn to reach the ice crevasse at 6770m. During the night of their bivouac the temperature went down to -22 degrees due to the jet stream.

Next day they climbed simultaneously the snow-ice face which was prone to avalanche. Reaching the summit ridge, they climbed one pitch of rock ridge and then first summited the highest untrodden peak in Nepal Himalaya.

4. The Free Spirits Expedition
Target Jiazi (6540m), Little Konka (5928m), Leduomanyin (6112m)
Location Ta-hsueh Mountains of Sichuan
Route New Routes
Member Zhou Peng, Yan Dongdong, Lee Shuang
Climbing style Alpine style

Chinese Free Spirits Expedition has climbed a new line on the northwest face of Jiazi in alpine style last year. The ascent was made by two climbers, Zhou Feng and Yan Dongdong in October.

The northwest face is 1500m high in vertical, and they pitched two bivouac camps along the route. The grade of the route is M6 WI3.

They also climbed Little Konka (5982m) and Leduomanyin (6112m) in the same season. Thus they made a success to accomplished multi-peak expedition in alpine style. But after this beautiful expedition the leader Yan Dongdong fell to death during climbing in the Tienshan to our grief.

We will miss you so, Mr. Yan.


The stylish climbing award "Piolet d'Or" is held each year in Asia as well as Europe.

Visit our new website