American Climb Nominated for Piolet d'Or

PHOTO: Jed Brown, Kyle Dempster, and Bruce Normand in front of the north face of Xuelian West in China. Courtesy of Jed Brown.

The first ascent of a huge north face in northern China, completed last summer by Americans Jed Brown and Kyle Dempster, with Scottish climber Bruce Normand, is one of five nominees for this year’s Piolets d’Or. The 18th annual Piolets d’Or ceremony and festival will be held April 7–10 in Chamonix, France, and Courmayeur, Italy.

The American-Scottish team did the first ascent of Xuelian West (6,422m) in the Chinese Tien Shan via its 2,650-meter north face. The trio climbed alpine-style in a five-day round trip. Xuelian West is a satellite of 6,627-meter Xuelian, which has only been climbed once.

The other four climbs nominated for the Piolets d’Or are:

A new route on the southeast face of 8,201-meter Cho Oyu in Nepal by Denis Urubko and Boris Dedeshko.

First ascent of the north face of Chang Himal (6,750m) in Nepal by Britons Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman.

First ascent of Peak 6,134m in the Minya Konka (Gongga Shan) massif of China, by Russians Mikhail Mikhailov and Alexander Ruchkin.

New route on the north face of Peak Pobeda (7,439m) in Kyrgyzstan, by Russian climbers Vitaly Gorelik and Gleb Sokolov.

In addition to celebrating outstanding climbs during 2009, the Piolets d’Or organizers will present a golden ice axe to Reinhold Messner for his career of groundbreaking climbs. Learn more at



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