Britain’s climbing taxman has won a major international award for his innovation in mountaineering.
Alpine Club president Mick Fowler, a high-ranking HM Customs and Excise officer, received the King Albert Mountain Award at a ceremony in Switzerland.
The award is reserved for people or institutions who have distinguished themselves through exceptional and lasting achievements on or around mountains. Mr Fowler is only the third British mountaineer, after Lord John Hunt and Stephen Venables, to win a King Albert Mountain Award.
The award was set up in memory of King Albert I of Belgium, a keen mountaineer killed in a climbing accident in 1934 and was first presented in 1994.
The Berghaus-sponsored athlete’s accolade came as he prepared for his latest venture, an attempt on an unclimbed buttress line on the 6,142m peak of Shiva in the Indian Himalaya. He will leave the UK this week and return around the middle of October.
Mick Fowler said: “To receive an award of this stature for doing something I love is very special to me.
“It is a great honour to be recognised alongside colleagues of such standing and I am very grateful to the King Albert I Memorial Foundation.”
The foundation said it was making the award to Mr Fowler ‘for being one of the most successful and innovative mountaineers of our time, constantly searching out and mastering difficult and beautiful lines on largely unknown peaks of up to 7,000m’.
“His unique style stands out against the spirit of the time which overvalues so-called records,” it said.
His latest expedition celebrates his 30 years leading routes in the Greater Ranges.