Five climbing teams have been nominated for the 16th annual Piolet d’Or, the golden ice axe presented to the “best” mountaineering ascent of the year. The award winner will be announced in Grenoble, France, in late January by the co-hosts, the French magazine Montagnes and the Groupe de Haute Montagne guides’ association. The five nominated climbs are:
Although no North American team was nominated for the 2006 prize, last year Americans Vince Anderson and Steve House won the Piolet d’Or for their new route on the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. The annual prize has been criticized in the past for its celebration of traditional expeditions using siege tactics to conquer big walls. But this year’s nominated climbs were all rapid ascents by small teams.