On the 8th of January 2000 the prestigious Piolet d'or was awarded to two French alpinists, Lionel Daudet and Sebastien Foissac for their ascent of 'Voyage des clochards célestes'. This new route on the south face of the Alaskan Burkett Needle, 2590m was climbed in May 1999 and is only the third successful ascent. The approach and 16 pitches (1200m) required a total of 41 days (25 days climbing) and are given an overall grade of 7a+ obligatory, max. A3.
The internationally recognised Piolet d'or is awarded by Montagnes Magazine and GHM for the most significant ascent of the year. This ninth Prize Giving Ceremony was held during the 10° 'Rassemblement International des Glacieristes du Fournel' in l'Argentière la Bessée.
Last years prize was awarded to the Australians Andrew Lindblade and Athol Whimp for their ascent of the North Face of Thalay Sagar.
The other candidates for this years Piolet d'or were:
Great Trango Tower two routes ascended by American and Russian teams.
The Americans Alex Lowe, Jared Ogden and Mark Synnott climbed the 2000m NW Face of Great Trango Tower via their new route 'Parallel Worlds' (5.11, A4).
The Russians Potan'kin Igor, Alexandr Odintsov, Ivan Samoilenko and Yuri Koshelenko climbed their new route 'Eclissi' (7a, A4) on the same face, starting and finishing shortly after the Americans.
Alex Lowe died on Shishapangma on 5/10/99.
Dhaulagiri - Tomaz Humar
The Slovenian Tomaz Humar climbed a new route solo on the impressive South Face of Dhaulagiri, 8167m. Tomaz and Vanja Furlan had been awarded the Piolet d'or in 1996 for their ascent of the East Face of Ama Dablam.
Whymper Spur - Valeri Babanov
Valeri Babanovs new route 'Eldorado' on the Whymper Spur, on the North Face of the Grandes Jorasses (Mont Blanc). Climbed solo in 12 days in July '99, this 1200m long mixed route is graded ED+ (A3/A4, 6b, 90°).
Thalay Sagar - A. Klenov, M. Davy, M. Pershin and A. Bolotov
The Russians Alexander Klenov, Mikhail Davy, Mikhail Pershin and Alexei Bolotov climbed a new line on the North Face of Thalay Sagar, 6904m, to the right of the route for which the Australians were awarded the 1988 Piolet d'or.
Amin Brakk, Karakorum - S. Vidal, P. Masip and M. Puigdomenech
The Spanish Silvia Vidal, Pep Masip and Miquel Puigdomenech, made the first ascent of Amin Brakk, 5850m over a period of 32 days in July/August 1999. 'Sol solet' is graded A5/ 6c+/ 60°and is 1650m long.