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Press Releases

GORE-TEX® Brand Shipton-Tillman Grant Recipients Awarded 22nd Annual Piolets d’Or

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Canadians Raphael Slawinski and Ian Welsted Honored for K6 West Ascent 

Elkton, Md., April 14, 2014: GORE-TEX® Brand Shipton-Tilman Grant recipients Raphael Slawinski and Ian Welsted were honored with a Piolets d’Or on March 29, 2014, in Courmayeur, France, for their ascent of the 2,500-meter vertical, northwest face of K6 West, the highest peak in the Charakusa Valley in the Pakistani Karakorum. The peak was previously one of the largest remaining unattained goals in alpine climbing, and the team ascended in a light, environmentally-conscious alpine style, including both ice and mixed climbing without the support of fixed gear.

Out of 76 climbs nominated for the 22nd Piolets d’Or, six teams were celebrated for their skilled mountaineering. The overall purpose of the award is to raise global awareness of the year’s greatest ascents and celebrate adventure, bravery and exploration. The awards, which are decided upon by a jury of expert climbers, recognize teams who take imaginative and innovative new routes, use the minimum amount of equipment and build on experience.

“This was an amazing, beautiful and challenging expedition that was ultimately the only successful North American expedition in Pakistan in 2013,” said Welsted. “We could not have accomplished it without GORE’s support, and we were extremely proud to have done it in the spirit and inspiration of Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman.”

Eric Shipton (b. 1907) and Bill Tilman (b. 1897) were arguably the greatest team of mountain explorers of our time. They were strong advocates of traveling in small, compact teams and remaining respectful of the terrai unburdened by numbers of porters and excessive tonnage and leaving little trace of their passage. It is in this spirit that teams were chosen to receive the grants through the 2013 GORE-TEX® brand Shipton-Tilman Grant program, funded by W. L. Gore & Associates, inventors of the GORE-TEX® brand product technology for comfort and protection. Gore established this annual grant program in 1990 as a tribute to Shipton and Tilman.

About the GORE-TEX® brand Shipton-Tilman Grant Program

Applications are accepted from small, unencumbered teams of friends with daring and imaginative goals. The expedition team must plan to accomplish their feat in a self-propelled, environmentally sound, and cost-effective way. The application deadline for the grant is March 1 of each year. An independent judge reviews all applications and looks for projects that exemplify the Shipton-Tilman philosophy. Teams receive a grant ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. 

About W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.
Gore is a technology-driven company focused on discovery and product innovation. Well known for waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® fabric, the company’s portfolio includes everything from high-performance fabrics and implantable medical devices to industrial manufacturing components and aerospace electronics. Headquartered in the United States, Gore posts annual sales of more than $3 billion and employs more than 10,000 associates with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and China, and sales offices around the world. In Europe, Gore started its first business operations only a few years after the Enterprise’s founding in 1958. Gore now has locations–sales offices as as well as production facilities–in the key European countries dedicated to serving the markets of all of Gore’s product divisions. Gore is one of a select few companies to appear on all of the U.S. “100 Best Companies to Work For” lists since the rankings debuted in 1984. For several years now, Gore has also been voted one of the best workplaces in Europe and has been ranked on top workplace lists in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Sweden. Learn more at

Press contact

Cynthia Amon, Gore Public Relations

410-506-2647; cell: 443-553-0333