Mick Fowler (left) and Paul Ramsden during their Gave Ding expedition

Mick Fowler (left) and Paul Ramsden during their Gave Ding expedition

Two British climbers have taken a prize at the ‘mountaineering Oscars’ for an unprecedented third time.

Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden were awarded Piolets d’Or for their 2015 ascent of Gave Ding in the far West of Nepal.

The awards – the Golden Ice-Axes in English – are presented to those judged to have accomplished the best technical and innovative climbs in a year.

Fowler, known as the climbing taxman as he completes his Himalayan expeditions during annual leave from his job the HM Revenue and Customs, and climbing partner are renowned for their extreme Alpine style accents of remote peaks in the Greater Ranges.

They reached the summit of 6,571m (21,558ft) Gave Ding in October 2015, in an expedition that was sponsored by British outdoor brand Berghaus.

They will receive their awards in April at a ceremony in La Grave, France.

Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden first won Piolets d’Or in 2003, for opening up the North Face of 6,250m (20,505ft) Siguniang in China. They followed that up with awards in 2013 for their ascent of the Prow of Shiva in India. The latest accolade means that Fowler and Ramsden are the first team to win Piolets d’Or on three occasions.

Mick Fowler said: “It is flattering to have one’s climbs appreciated and to be able to look forward to celebrating fine ascents with like-minded alpinists.”

Paul Ramsden added: “It is always a pleasure to have my climbing activities recognised by my peers and a weekend of free beer in La Grave sounds excellent.”

Mick Fowler approaches the summit of Gave Ding. Photo: Berghaus

Mick Fowler approaches the summit of Gave Ding. Photo: Berghaus

Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden’s climb on Gave Ding was in one of the remotest regions of Nepal, in a valley that had never previously been visited by westerners. Fowler and Ramsden climbed the mountain by a route graded ED Sup, on the north face in a six-day push, and then descended to base camp over two days, via the west ridge and north flank.

They were supported during the climb by Steve Burns and Ian Cartwright. Climbing in temperatures as low as -30C, Fowler and Ramsden tested prototypes of products that will be part of the all new Berghaus Extrem range for autumn-winter 2016.

After returning from the expedition, Mick Fowler said: “The Gave Ding trip was absolutely brilliant – it couldn’t have been better really.

“The approach and ethnic action were great. We were the first westerners to see the face, and it was as inspiring as we could have hoped. The mountain was unclimbed and the route gave safe, hard climbing on an eye catching line that led straight to summit, followed by an aesthetically pleasing different descent route.

“And the whole thing was a real adventure in that we were operating on gut instinct more than any detailed information.”

More details of the expedition are in Mick Fowler’s blog on the Berghaus website.

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