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American alpinist John Roskelley
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Uli Biaho Tower (6109m), Karakorum, Pakistan. The first ascent of this splendid peak was carried out in 1979 by American alpinists Bill Forest, Ron Kauk, John Roskelley and Kim Schmitz who climbed the East Face.
Photo by archive John Roskelley
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Piolets d'Or 2014: John Roskelley to receive Lifetime Achievement Award


From 26 - 29 March 2014 Courmayeur and Chamonix will host the 22nd edition of the Piolets d’Or, the Oscars of mountaineering. American alpinist John Roskelley will receive the Piolet d'Or Carrière.

Another famous name joins the prestigious list of alpinists whose achievements have been recognised and celebrated since 2009 with the Piolet d'Or Carrière, the Lifetime Achievement Award. After Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Robert Paragot and Kurt Diemberger, it is now America's John Roskelley who will receive the coveted "Golden ice axe." The prestigious award, named in 2012 after Walter Bonatti, will be awarded to this great alpinist during the the 22nd edition of Piolet d'Or, scheduled to take place from 26 - 29 March 2014 in Courmayeur and Chamonix Mont-Blanc.

Alpinism has showed its best side in 2013. Despite initial difficulties related to the situation that arose in the Himalayas between some Sherpa and alpinists, sportsmanship and fair play triumphed and some of the ascents carried out this year can be ranked as among the most beautiful of all times. Teams of highly motivated, often young alpinsts succeeded in elegantly expressing their love for the mountains and the alpinists, less present in the Himalaya, chose other destinations such as Alaska, Patagonia and the Chinese peaks where much has yet to be explored. Intense activity took place in the Alps, too, in particular the Dolomites, with cutting-edge ascents up the biggest faces in this massif.

Once again alpine style has prevailed: lightweight gear, simple expeditions and above all "lightweight" teams that tackled technically difficult faces while fully respecting the mountains. Reaching the summit on ascents of this calibre is extremely difficult and their success highlights the alpinists' courage, resourcefulness and talent.

The list of big climbs carried out in 2013 will be published on the Piolets d’Or website as of 1 February 2014.

6th PIOLET D’OR CARRIERE "Walter Bonatti Award"

The sixth Piolet d’Or Carrière – Premio Walter Bonatti goes to American alpinist John Roskelley. Born in 1948, Roskelley lives in Spokane, Washington. He first started climbing in the 1970's in the Rocky Mountains and on the great Canadian icefalls where he carried out numerous important ascents. While already famous in the US, Roskelley was relatively unknown throughout Europe, so much so that the famous Mountain magazine entitled one of its articles "Who is this man?"

At the time John Roskelley was an outsider yet he climbed mountains at a breakneck pace. Success on the immense NW Face of Nanda Devi (7816m) in 1976 was largely due to Roskelley and the stories of his fellow climbers exalt his resistance, ability to deal with challenges of high-altitude and his strong personality. In 1977 he successfully carried out the first ascent of Great Trango Tower (6286m) together with Galen Rowell, Kim Schmitz and Dennis Hennek. A year later, after an unsuccessful attempt up the North Face of Jannu, he travelled to K2 to climb the NE Ridge, a long route rarely repeated even today. Led by Jim Whittaker, the Americans succeeded and did so without supplementary oxygen and high altitude porters.

In 1979 Roskelley carried out the first ascent of difficult Gaurishankar (7134m), while shortly afterwards he made the first ascent of Uli Biaho (6109 m), the magnificent tower in the Baltoro region together with Kim Schmitz, Ron Kauk and Bill Forrest. In 1980 he climbed the West Pillar of Makalu (8481m) and reached the summit alone.

Roskelley continued making expeditions almost every year and ascents include the SW Face of Cholatse (6440m) in 1982 with Vern Clevenger, Galen Rowell and Bill O’Connor, and the NE Face of nearby Tawoche (6501m) in February 1989 with Jeff Lowe.

Author of numerous books that deal with his expeditions, John Roskelley subsequently turned his attention to politics. The Piolets d’Or will be honoured to welcome such a strong personality, a man with firm convictions.

by Omnia Relations

Further information on the official website: www.pioletsdor.com





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