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The Piolets d’Or 2014 international Jury announced: George Lowe president


George Lowe, Erri De Luca, Catherine Destivelle, Denis Urubko, Lin Sung Muk and Karin Steinbach are the members of the highly expertPiolets d'Or 2014 Jury, with complementary approaches, endowed with a mountain spirit transcending the framework and limits of the discipline

More than just climbing peaks, these representatives of the ‘high altitude world’ point the way to a realm where everyone can aim to reach higher, rather than just getting to the summit; where one can start one’s quest with a more serene frame of mind, towards the mountains of the soul.

These men and women focused their attention and set their foot on all the major mountain ranges of the world. Engineer, physicist, writers, publisher, journalists, comedian, Pro climbers... the members of the 2014 Piolets d’Or Jury represent all mountaineering trends, from free climbing challenging the laws of gravity to exploring lands where the air becomes rarified, and only the strength of the mind allows the body to overcome its limits.

Piolets d’Or are proud and honoured to welcome renowned mountaineers, admired for their achievements and their integrity, as members of this year’s Jury. These protagonists, bearers of those values and symbols of that code of ethics which constitute the founding principles of alpinism Piolets d’Or intends to promote, nurtured the flame of their passion, and that remained unchanged since the first day. With spontaneity and modesty they accep- ted to become members of the 2014 Piolets d’Or Jury.

They are the ambassadors of alpinism, intended as a discipline concerned with respecting the mountains and those who live under them. Beyond their performance, they enhance those behaviours and gestures which prove that mountaineering is a universal adventure, inherently human and cultural as well as enjoyable as a sport.


George Lowe (USA) was born in 1944. He started climbing in California at the age of 18. His mountaineering career extends over more than 40 years. His most famous ascent is the 1978 attempt on the northern ridge of Latok 1 (7145 m.), in Pakistan, together with his cousin Jeff Lowe, Jim Donini and Michael Kennedy, which stopped short of the summit of 150 m. The performance has not been matched since and the ridge remains untouched. From the long list of his achievements Lowe frequently mentions the adventure on the Nose (El Capitan, Yosemite) with Alex Lowe, accomplished in one day in 1991, or Grand Teton in 1980 with his father, George Jr, and his son, George IV. The physicist and mountaineer also climbed famous new routes in Alaska, notably on Mount Hunter and Mount Foraker.

If Erri de Luca (Italy) is universally known by the lovers of literature, many will be surprised to discover his passion for alpinism and free climbing, disciplines in which he attained high level performances. In 2002 he was the first fifty-years-old to climb the 8th (B) grade. He extensively explored the Dolomites, and traveled in the Himalayas. Not infrequently the mountains feature in his work, particularly in two books: Sulle tracce di Nives and Il peso della farfalla. A keen reader of the Bible, this is the man who, in the seventies, following his ideals, decided to become a construction worker, and to teach himself hebrew and yiddish, day in and day out, in order to study the Holy Book more closely. A passionate spirit, a thinker out of the box, a virtuoso of the page, as well as with his climbing gear. For the record, Erri de Luca has been a member of the Cannes Film Festival Jury...

Catherine Destivelle (France) showed to be an extraordinarily gifted climber from an early age. She succeeded in climbing the highest grades in the eighties, reaching the podium in various competitions, before reverting to alpinism, only to obtain similar success. She solo climbed a new route on the western face of Drus in 1991. In the following three winters she attempted, solo, the three classic north faces of the Alps: Eiger, Jorasses, ending with the Bonatti route on the Matterhorn. In the Himalayas she climbed solo the Yugoslav route on the Great Trango Tower (with Jeff Lowe) and the southern face of Shishapangma (with Erik Decamp). A mountaineering star, Catherine Destivelle is currently a publisher, lecturer, and yet still finds the time to climb with the same passion.

Denis Urubko (Russia) was born in 1973 in the Caucasus. He climbed all of the world’s eight-thousand-metre peaks. It is mostly his Alpine style first ascents, however, especially those in 2005 on Broad Peak (with Samoilov), in 2006 on Manaslu (again with Samoilov), and in 2009 on Cho Oyu, with Boris Dedeshko, which gained him his reputation as an expert in Alpine style high-altitude mountaineering. The extremely arduous climb on Cho Oyu was awarded with a Piolet d’Or in 2010. Denis is an habitué of the Piolets d’Or ceremony: in 2012 he was acclaimed for his first ascent on Peak Pobeda, with Genadi Durov. He also completed the winter ascents of Makalu and Gasherbrum 2.

Sungmuk Lim (Korea), 45 years old, lives in Seoul, where he works for the magazine Men and Mountains. He completed several ascents in Pakistan, amongst which are the new routes on Brakk Zang on the Nagma glacier, on Khache Brangse (5560 m) and on Ghonboro (5500 m) in the valley of Arandu. He also climbed Shikari (5928 m) and Mustum (5620m) in the Hindu Raj region. In 2003 he climbed a new route on the Great Trango Tower; the following year he completed the ascent of the southern face of the magnificent Mount Siguniang, in China; in 2009 he climbed Hunza Peak, in Pakistan. He confesses to have a penchant for the mountains of eastern Tibet. Let us not forget that mountain territories cover 70 % of the total surface area of Korea, and that mountaineering devotees amount to millions in the Land of the Morning calm.

Karin Steinbach, (Germany), hailing from Munich, lives in St. Gallen, Switzerland, where she works as an independent journalist, writer and lecturer. She curated scientific works on alpinism and mountain environment. She wrote the biographies of Peter Habeler (first ascent of Everest without oxygen, in 1978 with Reinhold Messner), Ines Papert, Norbert Joos and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. Karin also collaborated with Alex Huber and Ueli Steck, world renowned protagonists of the discipline. She is the author of a book on women mountaineers, written with Caroline Fink. She regularly enjoys skiing and free climbing, favouring rock routes in the Alps and the great classics, such as the Mittellegi Ridge on the Eiger and the Weisshorn.

Further information on the official website: www.pioletsdor.com

20/12/2013 - Piolets d'Or 2014: John Roskelley to receive Lifetime Achievement Award





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