On Saturday 19 June the 3rd Eiger Award was presented in the «Alpine-festive» surroundings of the Congress Hall in Grindelwald before the eyes of numerous celebrities from the world of mountaineering, tourism and business. The professional alpinist Marko Prezelj from Slovenia was awarded the prize worth 10,000 Swiss francs.
Of course the red carpet was not missing, but this was covered by stones taken from the foot of the Eiger north face. The guests therefore had to walk in much the same concentrated manner, as if they were on a mountain rather than in a congress hall. Access to the stage was also in the form of a stone staircase. The extreme alpinist, mountain guide and instructor Marko Prezelj easily faced the challenge as he arose to be presented with the Eiger Award. This distinction, the «Oscar in mountaineering» is awarded to people who, through their outstanding achievements in alpinism, succeed in bringing the value and fascination of the mountains closer to the general public.
The Slovenian was born in Ljubljana on 13 October 1965. During his early childhood he already developed a great interest in climbing. It is this curiosity that still drives him today. When questioned about his enthusiasm for mountaineering he claims: «In climbing, style is my first concern. The decision-making process is the challenge. Doubt and uncertainty are the essence; trying to balance them with my choices is the passion.» Mixed routes are the personal favourite of the father of two children: Mixed not merely in the sense that the route consists of a combination of snow, ice and rock. The more complex a route is, the greater the interest in challenging it. For example on the Cho Oyu, a peak of over 8000 metres in the Himalayas, he opened up a new route on the northern side. On the Cerro Torre in Patagonia, together with Dean Potter and Stephan Koch, he succeeded in finding an alternative to the so-called Compressor Route.