The 18th Piolets d'Or in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and Courmayeur

The Piolets d'Or (Golden Ice-Axes) is a major event in mountaineering: it is a global gathering of those responsible for the most outstanding climbs of the year, on summits across the planet.

The 18th Piolets d'OrCreated in 1991, this meeting of alpinists and Himalayan climbers turned a new page in 2009 thanks to the development of a new charter and the indispensable support of international organisations such as The Alpine Club and the American Alpine Journal.

The 18th Annual Event is launched
The event runs from 7th -10th April 2010 and reaffirms its fundamental values.  As well as awarding the Piolets d'Or, the meeting is dedicated to the mountains: debates, presentations, meetings and films being an integral part of the festivities.  Taking place at the foot of Mont-Blanc, it is a celebration of ethical alpinism and the spirit of team climbing.

Along with the organising towns of Courmayeur and Chamonix (the founding partners of the Piolets d'or) the Groupe de Haute Montagne(GHM), Nivéales Publishing and the regional authorities of the Aosta Valley and Rhône-Alpes, unite to celebrate alpinism, here, where it was first invented more than 200 years ago.

In a few weeks, the steering committee will give the jury the list of 2009 first ascents in order that they might select the most significant. In addition, the recipient of the second Lifetime Achievement Piolet d'Or will be unveiled.

The 2010 jury will be presided over by Slovenian climber Andrej Stremfelj, winner of the first Piolet d'Or in 1991 and known for his many firsts in alpine style ascents in the Himalayas.

Looking back over 2009
In 2009, the four days of animated debates made it possible to lay down an outline of international alpinism which maintains the values of exchange, sharing and style. The Piolets d'Or is not only an award ceremony, it is a celebration of ethical alpinism.

During the closing ceremony, the jury, along with its president, English climber Doug Scott, emphasized the fact that “This is about more than just achieving one's goal at any price, employing financial or techniques means (oxygen, fixed ropes, high altitude porters, doping agents, etc.)… it is, above all else, about the style”.

The 17th event was rich in emotion, with the high point being the award of the first ever Lifetime Achievement Piolet d'Or going to Walter Bonatti.  This award honours an alpinist's career, Bonatti being the benchmark and a man who put economy of means and real adventure before everything else.

Also for the first time, several ascents were each given a Piolet d'Or, all having fulfilled the criteria of the charter: the spirit of exploration, commitment and autonomy, as well as a high technical standard.

QuelleLaure Chatelard