Piolets d'Or - Jirishanca (ca 6,094m), south-southeast spur

We are very delighted to announce that the 2024 edition of the “Piolets d’Or” will be held

in San Martino di Castrozza, in Trentino (Italy), on December 8th to 11th.


San Martino di Castrozza, 8th-11th Decem…

We are very delighted to announce that the 2024 edition of the “Piolets d’Or” will be held in San Martino di Castrozza, in Trentino, on December 8th to 11th.

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© Quentin Roberts

First ascent of the south-southeast spur of Jirishanca, Cordillera Huayhuash, via Reino Hongo (1,000m, M7 AI5+ 90°) from July 21-23. Descent by the east buttress and lower southeast face

It goes without saying there is real commitment and adventure to be found outside the Himalaya. This year it would be impossible for the Piolets d’Or not to highlight a route from the Andes of South America, where in 2022 several outstanding ascents were completed. The Cordillera Huayhuash is home to very spectacular peaks, including Jirishanca, one of the highest summits in the range and one with no easy route to the top. It was one of the last Peruvian 6,000ers to be climbed.

Canadians Alik Berg and Quentin Roberts chose the coveted line of the south-southeast spur, which rises to a convoluted ridge of enormous snow and ice mushrooms before meeting the vertical, ice-smeared limestone of the south headwall. Past attempts by various parties to reach this headwall by climbing the face further left of the spur had ground to a halt in impossible snow.

Berg and Roberts moved in pure alpine style, carrying sacs on sustained, technical, and previously untouched terrain. Due to heavy snowfall on the rock spur shortly before setting out, and not enough good weather for it to clear properly, the two made the decision to climb five or so pitches up the lower spur and then wrap around the steeper section above onto the south flank. Here, they would climb steep mixed terrain to regain the spur below the convoluted snow/ice ridge shaped like a dragon’s back. They completed this section on day one, the ridge itself on day two, and the crux headwall on day three. The latter provided unprotected pitches that were sometimes as difficult and potentially as dangerous for the second as the leader. When they pulled onto the summit – a rare ascent of the mountain from the east – they were amazed to be greeted by two Americans, who had climbed a route on the right side of the southeast face. Berg and Roberts were subsequently able to follow the American’s descent of the east buttress and lower southeast face, which they achieved with one more bivouac.

The jury felt this to be an inspiring line, direct to the summit, and climbed in exactly the style and with the spirit of adventure that the Piolets d’Or wishes to promote.

What are the "Piolets d'Or" ?

A celebration of mountaineering

The purpose of the Piolets d'Or awards is to raise awareness about the year's greatest ascents across the world.  They aim to celebrate the taste for adventure, the bravery and sense of exploration that lie behind the art of climbing in the world's great mountain ranges. The Piolets d'Or draw their inspiration from mountaineering's rich history.  They are a celebration of a sense of partnership and solidarity, of shared experiences, and reward individual or collective achievement.

The Spirit of Modern Alpinism

More than just the recognition of a performance, the Piolets d'Or celebrates passion, spirit and values. The spirit of the Piolets d’Or draws its inspiration from the history of alpinism and the authenticity of true team spirit. The style should take precedence over the conquest of an objective.  Success is no longer about getting to the summit at all costs, employing all possible financial and technical means, (oxygen, fixed ropes, doping products, etc) or large-scale human resources (high-altitude porters or sherpas). The Piolets d’Or event encourages imagination in searching for innovative routes using a maximum of economy of means, making use of experience and respecting man and nature. The Piolets d’Or is attached to making climbing a shared and valued richness all over the world, capable of attracting the best of human ambitions whilst encompassing moral values and edifying behaviour. The Piolets d'Or event is therefore a celebration of an ethical alpinism, rich in emotion.



Les Piolets d'Or

Piolets d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2009, the first Lifetime Achievement Piolet d’Or was awarded to Walter Bonatti.  His style of mountaineering perfectly reflected the spirit of thePiolets d’Or.  He became a sort of godfather to those who would receive this award after him. In honour of the man and his spirit, it has been renamed the “Piolet d’Or Lifetime Achievement, Walter Bonatti Award”.

The Career Piolets d'Or was created to reward a career where the spirit has inspired the following generations, in the sense of criteria set down by the convention.
Recipients of the Piolet d'Or Career :
2009 : Walter BONATTI
2010 : Reinhold MESSNER
2011 : Doug SCOTT
2012 : Robert PARAGOT
2013 : Kurt DIEMBERGER
2014 : John ROSKELLEY
2015 : Chris BONINGTON
2016 : Wojciech KURTYKA
2017 : Jeff LOWE
2018 : Andrej ŠTREMFELJ
2019 : Krzysztof WIELICKI
2020 : Catherine DESTIVELLE
2021 : Yasushi YAMANOI
2022 : Silvo KARO

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2023 Organizers