History of the Steel Angel award

History. “Steel Angel”: women’s climbing award

The birth of the “Steel Angel” award

In 2008, the first international mountaineering festival took place in Uzunkol gorge, and that is where the first Open Women’s Mountaineering Cup took place. A unique steel figurine meticulously crafted from the beaks of ice axes, the Steel Angel, was first introduced as the main trophy for this competition.

The concept
for the trophy belongs to:

Irina Morozova, the creator of the Women’s Cup, Liana Darenskaya, the founder of the 'RISK On-site' magazine, and Arkady Klepinin. The initial prototype for the award was created by an Italian designer from Grivel.

History. “Steel Angel”: women’s climbing award
History. “Steel Angel”: women’s climbing award

The first
“Steel Angel” award winners:

Ekaterina Matyushevskaya and Anastasia Ermishina, received the “Steel Angel” award for winning the Open Women’s Cup in mountaineering in Uzunkol, completing five ascents.

Since 2009
the Steel Angel award has been given annually for the best ascent performed by a female team.

Over the 15-year span of the award’s existence, the routes completed by award nominees have evolved in both technical complexity and the range of locations.

Female mountaineers embark on technically challenging ascents, pioneering new routes, and completing groundbreaking winter and first ascents.

From 2008 to 2023, there were 8 first ascents of the highest difficulty levels (5B and 6A, Russian grades) accomplished by female teams.

Great Trango Tower, Teng Kang Poche in the Khumbu valley, Nepal, Golden Sentinel,  Kamailong, Alexander Blok peak, Northern wall of Aksu, Asan, Slesova peak in Karavshin: this is but a glimpse of the awe-inspiring summits achieved by female teams in recent years. These remarkable ascents are not just about reaching new heights but also breaking barriers and inspiring the community with courage and determination, they stand as a testament to human resilience and teamwork.

First ascent

In 2021, Nadezhda Oleneva, Marina Popova, and Maria Djupina made the first ascent of an unnamed peak in Karavshin, “peak 4818,” which was later named Peak Sharp (VII+ (UIAA), 6b+/6c (fr), A3 (50 m), ED/ED+). 

This is the first time in Russia, a first ascent of a previously unconquered mountain was performed by an all-female team.

History. “Steel Angel”: women’s climbing award

Here you can find all the first ascents of new routs shortlisted from 2008 to 2023

  1. Ptitsa peak, Ergaki, “Ekho” route, 5A (Russian grades)
    Polina Galatsevich, Elena Shneider (2009) 
  2. Zvyozdny peak, 5B (Russian grades)
    Svetlana Smaykina, Anastasiya Kovalyova (2009) 
  3. Great Trango Tower (6251 m), “Parallel world” route
    Marina Kopteva, Anna Yasinskaya, Galina Chibitok (2011) 
  4. Tengmoche (Teng Kang Poche, 6487 m), Khumbu valley, Nepal, “War for love” route, 6A-6B (Russian grades)
    Marina Kopteva, Galina Chibitok, Anastasiya Petrova (2013).  
  5. Golden Sentinel (5200 m), north-west wall, “Samurai’s daughter” route, approximately 6B (Russian grades), UIAA VI, A2-A3.
    Marina Kopteva, Galina Chibitok (2014).  
  6. Kamailong peak (5870 m), China, “On the way to Amsterdam” route, 6A (Russian grades), ED, 1280 m, A2, 6а-6b.
    Marina Kopteva, Galina Chibitok (2017).  
  7. Optimist peak (2660 m), western part of the mountain ridge Tunkinskiye Goltsy, Eastern Sayan, Chertolen-Gorhon gorge, route difficulty 4B (Russian grades)
    Alyona Panova, Ekaterina Repina, Nadezhda Oleneva (2018). 
  8. Ptitsa peak, Ergaki, center of the northern wall, approximately 5B (Russian grades)
    Daria Seryupova, Anastasiya Kozlova (2009) 
  9. Peak 4818 (peak Sharp), Karavshin, 5B (Russian grades), VII+ (UIAA), 6b+/6c (fr), A3 (50 m), ED/ED+).
    Nadezhda Oleneva, Marina Popova, Maria Djupina (2021)

Free climbing

In 2009, Ekaterina Matyushevskaya and Irina Morozova became the first russian all-female-team to climb the entire hight technical rout by free climbing.

They made the free climbing ascent of the north face of Cime Grande di Lavaredo (2999 m, Dolomites, Italy), via Comici — Dimai route, 5.10c, UIAA VII all free climbing, ED. Nominees of the “Steel Angel” award 2009

History. “Steel Angel”: women’s climbing award

In 2023, Galina Terentyeva and Olga Lukashenko became the second female climbers (after Lynn Hill) and the first all-female-team to climb the Perestroyka Crack rout (5.12-, 7b or 7а/A2, 1000 m) of Slesova peak (4240 m, Karavshin) by free climbing. Winners of the “Steel Angel” award 2023

History. “Steel Angel”: women’s climbing award

Другие факты о премии «Стальной ангел»

За время существования премии ее обладательницами стали пять петербурженок: Галина Чибиток, Анастасия Петрова (2013), Ирина Морозова (2016), Наталья Теплова, Ольга Лукашенко (2019) и пять раз его получили красноярские альпинистки: Екатерина Матюшевская (2008), Полина Галацевич, Ирина Бакалейникова (2012), Марина Попова, Екатерина Матюшевская, Александра Ментовская, Полина Галацевич (2014), Марина Попова, Олеся Бабушкина, Юлия Борисова, Александра Ментовская (2015), Марина Попова и Мария Дюпина в тройке с Надей Оленевой из Перми (2021).

Насколько раз номинантами и лауреатами премии «Стальной ангел» становились женские команды из постсоветского пространства: Марина Коптева и Анна Ясинская (Украина), Анастасия Босых и Айга Ракевича (Латвия).

В 2011 году впервые в истории российского альпинизма женская двойка Марина Коптева и Галина Чибиток, обладательницы «Стального ангела» 2009-го года, завоевала «Золотой ледоруб России» за первопрохождение северо-западной стены Большой башни Транго.