In September 1997, Athol Whimp and me made the first ascent of the north face of Thalay Sagar (6904m) in the Indian Himalaya. Our climb was awarded the 1998 Piolet d'Or by Groupe de Haute Montagne and Montagne on a cold winter's night in Chamonix, France. We never expected or coveted the award, but we appreciated the respect our ascent received from the alpine community.

The Piolet d'Or has been no stranger to controversy over the years. But throughout all of this I've always thought its goals were admirable (even if fallible): to recognize the spirit of alpinism in its truest form. The debate around exactly what defines alpinism will always go on. See the article "Overcoming the Banality of Mountaineering" on this site for more.

1998 Piolet d'Or.