Piolets d'Or - SPECIAL MENTION - ALEX HONNOLD

SPECIAL MENTION - ALEX HONNOLD

We would like to give a special mention to another American, Alex Honnold, for his outstanding contribution to climbing in the year 2017.

In the mountains he made two short new rock routes in Alaska's Ruth Gorge, and a remarkable series of climbs in Antarctica, where in the famous Fenris Kjeften Range of Queen Maud Land, Honnold reached the summits of 14 peaks by routes of varying difficulty. Notable was the east pillar (dubbed Dark Tower) of Stetind (2,588m), climbed with Cedar Wright. Historians of Antarctic mountaineering feel this is probably the hardest on-sight, all free rock route on the continent. Climbed in cold, windy conditions, and with runout pitches on poor rock, it gave Honnold "the scariest lead of my life".

That has to say something! Of course, all this was very much overshadowed by the astonishing free solo of Free Rider on El Capitan. On this sensibly well-choreographed ascent, Honnold exhibited complete mastery at a level probably unequalled in the history of rock climbing. Regular climbing partner Tommy Caldwell was convinced that in terms of mind control, it was "one of the pinnacle sporting moments of all time".

But we shouldn't forget Alex Honnold's other commitment, on-going through 2017. The Honnold Foundation, founded in 2012, has the simple vision to improve lives and reduce environmental impact by working with partners to promote solar-powered energy worldwide. Last year, work continued with the Solar Energy Foundation (SEF) to carry out much needed installations in Ethiopian villages.

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