The 2011 Piolets d'Or Asia has been awarded to Kazakhs Gennady Durov and Denis Urubko for their ascent of Dollar Rod on the North Face of 7,439m Pik Pobeda.
The award ceremony, now in its sixth year, is dedicated to celebrating climbs achieved by Asian mountaineers, such as Koreans, Japanese and Asian CIS states.
Other nominations this year were: Urubko with Boris Dedeshko for their new route on Pik Prezhevalskogo (6,240m); Urubko, again, as a member of the team that made the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II; Choi Suk-moon's Korean team for their ascent of the Moonflower on the North Buttress of Hunter (Alaska); and Japanese Giri-Giri boys Fumitaka Ichimura, Ryo Masumoto and Takaaki Nagato, for their first ascent of the East Face of Daddomain (6,380m) in China's Minya Konka Range.
This is Urubko's third Asian Piolets d'Or Award. In 2006 he was honoured for his new route on Manaslu, and in 2009 for his new route (with Dedeshko) on Cho Oyu, an ascent that would also gain him an award at the main 2010 Piolets d'Or in Chamonix.
The seven-member jury, five Koreans and one Chinese presided over by Hiroshi Hagiwara, editor of the main Japanese mountaineering magazine ROCK&SNOW, spent some time discussing whether to make one or two awards (the other to the Japanese) before deciding on just one.
However, the three Japanese were honoured with a newly inaugurated award, which roughly translates as the Golden Climbing Boots Award.
This was considered for "fair play", the fact that the team never gave up on the ascent in bad weather, and because their successful climb was an inspiration to Japanese affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
Another accolade, the fourth Golden Climbing Shoes award, was bestowed on Korean Park Hee-young for his outstanding performance in the Ice Climbing World Cup.
Following on from recent developments in the main French-Italian organized Piolets d'Or, the jury also made a second Lifetime Achievement Award. This went to the noted Japanese climber and soloist Yasushi Yamanoi.
Amongst other impressive ascents Yamanoi has made new routes, solo, on the West Face of Ama Dablam, East Face of Kusum Kanguru and South West Face of Cho Oyu, as well as a solo winter ascent of Fitz Roy, and what was, at the time, the fastest ascent and descent of K2.
However, in 2002, having made an epic descent from the summit of Gyachung Kang (7,985m) in a bad storm, he suffered serious frostbite and lost five fingers plus all the toes on one foot.
Since then he has concentrated more on rock climbing with first ascents of
Putala Shan in China's Siguniang Range, and in 2008, with his wife - who was also on Gyachung Kang but did not summit and returned with even more horrific injuries than her husband - and another male companion, a big rock wall on the Greenland island of Milne Land.
The photo show Hong Suk-Ha, president of the Korean Man and Mountain company, congratulating Yasushi Yamanoi on his career award