Piolets d'Or 2013: everyone wins
The prize for the best climb of 2012 was awarded at the end of an exciting ceremony in Courmayeur last night to all six nominated ascents. The Piolet d'Or Walter Bonatti Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Austria's Kurt Diemberger.
The highly anticipated announcement of the winners was made at the end of an exciting evening packed with mountains and music - the folk-rock band L'Orage - directed perfectly by Kay Rush. The winners of the prestigious mountaineering award were: France's Sébastien Bohin, Didier Jourdain, Sébastien Moatti and Sébastien Ratel (SW Face of Kamet, 7756m, India); Britain's Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden (NE Ridge of Shiva, 6142m, India); Russia's Dmitry Golovchenko, Alexander Lange and Sergey Nilov (NE Spur of Muztagh Tower, 7284 metri, Pakistan); America's Kyle Dempster and Hayden Kennedy (SE Ridge of Baintha Brakk - Ogre, 7285m, Pakistan); Britain's Sandy Allan and Rick Allen (Mazeno ridge, Nanga Parbat, 8125m, Pakistan); Japan's Tatsuya Aoki, Yasuhiro Hanatani and Hiroyoshi Manome (South Pillar of Kyashar, 6770m, Nepal).
The jury, presided by Britain's Stephen Venables, issued the following statement: "2012 was an exceptional year for groundbreaking ascents which reflected the values of the Piolets d'Or. The jury struggled to reduce that list to six, but those that were eventually chosen are truly outstanding. Whether a new route at 6000 metres or the longest ridge on an 8000 metre peak, whether a famous iconic mountain or a remote discovery, all six ascents had one factor in common - they went over the summit, committed to a different descent, and each climb in its own way was sustained at a very high level of difficulty."
Kurt Diemberger received the Piolet d'Or Walter Bonatti Lifetime Achievement Award. Born in Austria in 1932 and Bolognese by adoption, Diemberger is the only mountaineer alive to have made the first ascent of two 8000m peaks. The motivation reads as follows "Kurt Diemberger personifies a pure alpinism, that draws strength from a love for the mountains, exploration and adventure. A great alpinist, writer and filmaker, Diemberger has managed to combine this unrenounceable passion with an innate, poetic ability to communicate the spirit of the mountains and the men who love them. His great undertakings, such as the first ascents of two 8000ers, Broad Peak and Dhaulagiri, his countless climbs throughout the Alps and the mountains worldwide and his battle to safeguard the environment are the example of a chosen path which has never ceased. It is a sign of that continuous research and wisdom which, via the highest peaks, has always accompanied him on his journey as a man." Diemberger is the fourth to receive this award after Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott and Robert Paragot.
The jury also made a special mention to two "important ascents" carried out on the SE Face Cerro Torre in Patagonia: to the team comprised of America's Hayden Kennedy and Canada's Jason Kruk, who climbed the face and removed a large number of bolts placed by Cesare Maestri in 1970 (the famous "Compressor route") and to the Austrian's David Lama and Peter Ortner who, just a few days later, made the first free ascent of the route.