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Karl Unterkircher Award 2012, the nominations


The second edition of the Karl Unterkircher Award will take place on 6 July 2012 at Selva di Val Gardena in the Italian Dolomites. The alpinists nominated for this award are Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards for the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II, Sean Villanueva, Ben Ditto, Nicolas Favresse and Olivier Favressee for their Greenland Big Walls and Marina Kopteva, Galina Chibitok and Anna Yasinskaya for their new route up Great Trango Tower in Pakistan.

The memories of the 1st Karl Unterkircher Award 2010 are still alive. For this purpose world-renowned climbers such as Simone Moro (Italy), Markus Prezelj, Rok Blagus and Luka Lindic (Slovenia), Ueli Steck (Switzerland), Robert Jaser (Germany), Roger Schäli (Switzerland) as well as Samuel Anthamatten and Michael Lerjen-Demjen (Switzerland) and members of the jury like Ines Papert (Germany) Hans Kammerlander and Rolando Larcher (Italy) met on July, 8th 2010 in Selva di Val Gardena, Dolomites. Guests of honour were Kurt Diemberger, Walter Nones and Simon Kehrer. All had come for the first alpine award in the South Tyrol was assigned and to remember and pay homage to Karl Unterkircher.

As the curtain fell Kurt Diemberger, the only living alpinist who made two first ascents on two eight thousanders, found the right words to sum up the event “…Karl’s ideal is alive: continue to forge forward, without boundaries, without limits, towards what you feel is real…”
During those two evenings in 2010, the nominated alpinists presented their outstanding ascents with video and slideshows.

It was Ueli Steck who won the 1st edition of the “Karl Unterkircher Award”. The Swiss climber received the prize for his outstanding performances in 2009 which included the Schmidt route up the north of the Matterhorn in less than two hours, the 8a rock climb Golden Gate up El Capitan in Yosemite and two eight-thousanders without oxygen: GII and Makalu. All other climbers were honoured, too, and received a plaque in dolomite which represents Mount Sassolungo, the symbol of Val Gardena, with Karl's smiling face. It was a successful event, “…an important meeting that could be compared, in due proportion, to the Piolets d’Or…” wrote an Italian mountaineering magazine at the time.

Recently the work group met with the founding committee for the 2nd edition of the “Karl Unterkircher Award” and decided, for various reasons, to stage this event once every two years and to nominate three alpinists / groups of climbers. In addition, the date was set for Friday 6th of July 2012 at the “Oswald von Wolkenstein” Culture House in Selva Val Gardena
The jury members are as follows:
Oswald Dr.med. Oelz (Swiss, alpinist, President of the 2012 Jury)
Silvio Mondinelli (Gnaro) (Italian, alpinist)
Christoph Hainz (Italian, alpinist)
Ivo Rabanser (Italian, alpinist)
Carlo Caccia (Italian, journalist of mountaineering magazines)

Guests of honour who have confirmed their presence are Kurt Diemberger and two Nepalese Sherpas (Temba and Subin) who personally knew Karl. As part of the evening program the Sherpa Subin and Temba will introduce the medical project in Thulopakar (Nepal).

The nominations of the exceptional climbers and their achievements (selected by the Presidents of the Climbing Group Catores and the Alpine Guides Val Gardena) are as follows:

1st Ascent winter ascent of the Gasherbrum II 8035 m (Pakistan)
The Italian Simone Moro, Denis Urubko from Kazakhstan and Cory Richards (USA) summited on 2 February 2011 to make the first winter ascent of the Gasherbrum II, with temperatures down to -50°C

Big Walls (Greenland)
9 new routes on Big Walls of Cape Farewell on the southern and western coast of Greenland climbed by Sean Villanueva, Ben Ditto, Nicolas Favresse and Olivier Favresse;
The most challenging route - Devil’s Brew - took 10 days. The expedition's sailing boat served most times as base camp. For this extraordinary expedition, done in July and August 2010, they were honoured with the Piolet d’Or 2011.

Great Trango Tower 6286m (Pakistan)
New new up the NW FACe “Parallel World“ (VI+ 7b, 2580 m) by Marina Kopteva, Galina Chibitok and Anna Yasinskaya and from 22.7. – 9.8.2011 (38 days in the wall) and awarded with the Russian Piolet d‘Or in 2011. It is the first time that women have received this honour.

Founders of the committee of the Award are Silke Unterkircher, widow of Karl, his brother Peter Unterkircher and his friend Herbert Mussner. The event will be held under the patronage of the Councillor for the Culture and Ladin Schools Dr. Florian Mussner. The working group is composed of Adam Holzknecht (Climbing Group Catores) and Reinhard Senoner (Mountain Guides Val Gardena) while the organization of this event is taken by Josef Kelder, President of the Tourist Office of Selva Gardena and his Director Ellis Kasslatter.





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