The 2010 Piolets d'Or
The Piolets d'Or aim to recognize a pure form of alpinism that celebrates innovation, teamwork and solidarity and that places a high value on the beauty of an individual or collective action.
Out of the 52 major first ascents and enchainments achieved in 2009, the jury, presided by the Slovenian Andrej Stremfelj, shortlisted five international teams.
Each team presented its ascent to the jury, including all the criteria in the charter of the Piolets d'Or. The jury then met to deliberate and to decide on the award of one or more Piolets d'Or, either by consensus, or by vote if necessary.
Imagination and creativity are two of the most exciting aspects of climbing – to see possibilities where no one has seen them before. Some climbers discover new lines on well-explored, well-known mountains. Others go to mountains that no one has ever seen. "Today we have decided to showcase two ascents that represent creativity and exploration in different ways," said Andrej Stremfelj. "Each suggests many possibilities for today's climbers and future générations."
The two recipients of the Piolets d'Or for ascents in 2009 are:
- Cho Oyu (8201m) southeast face, Nepal.
The Kazakh climbers Denis Urubko and Boris Dedeshko climbed a very difficult and direct new route on this 2600-meter wall, during a 10-day round trip from base camp in May. With this climb, they discovered a bold and difficult new way to the summit of a popular Himalayan summit. For Urubko, the climb was a stylish conclusion to his quest to climb all 14 of the world's 8000-metre peaks.
- Xuelian West (6422m), north face, China.
Bruce Normand from Scotland and Americans Jed Brown and Kyle Dempster are among the first climbers to explore the north side of this impressive massif. After climbing several virgin faces during acclimatization, they completed the first ascent of the 2650-metre north wall of Xuelian West, with five days of difficult and insecure technical climbing.
This ceremony also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the ascent of Annapurna, the first 8000-metre peak to be climbed, on June 3, 1950, through the presence of the leader of that expedition, Maurice Herzog, as a featured guest.
Courmayeur and Chamonix Mont-Blanc, in the presence of two living legendes from the history of alpinisme, honour the current generation of top-level climbers who are opening routes on the highest mountains in the world. This year, the jury reached consensus and did not need to vote.