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Slovenian President Honors Climbers

President Tuerk with Francek Knez. [Photo] Bor Slana-Bobo

Franc Knez and Silvo Karo were awarded the Order of Merit by Slovenia’s President Dr. Danilo Tuerk last Wednesday, December 22, 2010. This high state decoration was confirmed on the pair for “their achievements in Slovenian mountain climbing and for their contributions to the reputation of Slovenian mountaineering and greater recognition of Slovenia in the world.”

Knez and Karo at the top of Torre Egger. [Photo] Silvo Karo

Knez and Karo have represented Slovenia in the climbing world since before their nation’s independence, with close to 7000 routes between the two of them. Together with the late Janez Jeglic, Knez and Karo formed the “Three Musketeers of Slovenian climbing.” The trio gained international fame on ascents like the Devil’s Diretissima ( 7a+ A4 AI5 M6/7,1200m) on Cerro Torre (Karo’s film of the climb won first place at the Trento Mountain Film Festival), and Psycho Vertical (ED+ VII+ A3 90 degrees, 950m) on Torre Egger.

Personally, Knez has made more than 700 first ascents including new routes on the north faces of the Matterhorn, Grandes Jorasses, and Eiger. Karo has climbed routes from 8a to A4 and with Jeglic, did the west face of Bhagirathi III (5.11c/d A4 85 degrees, 6454m) in alpine style. Besides their climbs abroad Knez and Karo have climbed countless first ascents, link ups and enchainments in the Julian Alps.

The two are well deserving of the honor bestowed upon them by their nation. Congratulations Francek and Silvo!

Zdenka Mihelic,,