The International Alpine Solidarity Award – Silver Plate, now in its 35th edition, is an important recognition that is annually awarded with a suggestive ceremony at the council hall of the Municipality of Pinzolo on the last Saturday of September (quest year 23.09.2006).
The Committee, by unanimous decision, awarded the 35th Silver Plate to the Austrian Sepp Lederer, an exemplary figure of volunteer in the field of mountain rescue and social solidarity, culture and sport. He was one of the founders of Alpen Adria Alpin, which unites climbers from Austria, Slovenia and Italy “an exemplary figure of volunteer engaged in mountain rescue, social, culture and sport: his solidarity, without borders”. Lederer is a 58-year-old Carinthian who lives in Kötschach-Mauthen, a town on the southern side of the Alpengail. A passionate mountaineer, he entered the Alpine Rescue at a very young age, where he soon held important positions of responsibility. He was the head of the mountain rescue station of his town from 1969 to 2001 and in that period he participated in about 450 rescue actions. In addition, for 16 years he actively engaged in the research dog training school. His figure testifies how much the mountains, instead of dividing or acting as a border, manage to unite the people who live on their slopes and the mountaineers who frequent them. More than twenty years ago we find it among the founders of Alpen Adria Alpin (AAA) a partnership made up of young Austrian, Slovenian and Italian mountaineers who meets every year in a large international gathering where topics relating to mountaineering, nature are debated solidarity, the relationships between young people from different countries, lands belonging to three states, but united in alpine spirituality, in the quality of life and facing the world. To report it to the Committee was Walter Hartlieb, mayor of Kötschach-Mauten. “His life – he writes – was and is marked by principles, ideas and initiatives that fully correspond to the spirit of your Award”. He is a generous and sensitive man who has dedicated himself to alpine solidarity, but also to culture and helping young people. His professional career led him to teach in various schools and then assist children with disabilities. He was director of the Hermagor school, today he is the director of the Kötschach-Mauten school. He also worked to create a collaboration between the stations of the Alpine Rescue Corps of Austria, Slovenia and Italy located on the borders of the three states, which each year find themselves in a different station for a nice alpine skiing competition. These meetings are an opportunity to stimulate and exchange experiences regarding rescue techniques. Full of ideas and enthusiasm, he devised mountain running, cross racing, duathlon (ice climbing and skiing), Triathlon (climbing, mountain biking and running) events, he created a hockey team and established the championships Austrians climbing on ice. A volcano of initiatives, but generous and full of humanity, especially towards the weakest, young people and those who need help.
During the ceremony, cheered by the songs of the Choir Presanella, an award was also given to the memory of the mountaineers Clemente Maffei Gueret, mountain guide of Pinzolo, and Carlo Mauri dei Ragni of Lecco, pioneers of Italian mountaineering overseas, in the 50th anniversary of the conquest of the Sarmiento summit in Patagonia.
Numerous civil, religious and military authorities, Italian and foreign delegations were present at the suggestive ceremony and ended with lunch in honor of the award winner.
In recent years the Prize has become one of the most important and significant events in the valley and is deeply felt by the local population.