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NZ mountaineer makes preliminary list for prestigious award

New Zealand mountaineer makes preliminary list for prestigious award

New Zealand Alpine Club General Manager, Sam Newton has today congratulated New Zealand climber Guy McKinnon on making the preliminary list for the prestigious Piolets d’Or.

“This is thoroughly derived honour for Guy. The first ascent of the West face of Mt Tutoko, which he did solo, was a huge milestone for New Zealand mountaineering. For that to be recognised internationally, at the highest level, is fantastic,” Mr Newton said.

The Piolets d’Or (Golden Ice Axe) is an annual award recognising cutting-edge alpine climbs. In a pursuit that finds it difficult to compare the relative difficulty of climbs, it is regarded as the highest honour.

“Competition for the Piolets d’Or is incredibly high. Only the very best alpinists and their boldest ascents are considered,” Mr Newton said.

Guy commented: “I'm greatly honoured to make the preliminary list of the Piolet d'Ors 2014. I think it is great news that amateur climbing in NZ has been recognised in this way.”

“While I don't expect to go much further, the result speaks to me that those who recreate in our mountains can expect some recognition if they are prepared to maintain a strong code of ethics, both in their climbing and relationships with others, as well as a commitment to climbing in the best possible style,” he said,

“I'm proud to be part of a resurgence of alpinism in NZ and pay my respects to those who have inspired me in the past and the many enthusiastic outdoorspeople who are driving huge improvements at the moment," he said.

Only one New Zealander, Athol Whimp, has won the Piolet D’or. In 1998 Whimp was awarded the prize for the first direct ascent of the north face of Thalay Sagar, in the Himalayas.

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