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.
A celebration of mountaineering
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.
In modern mountaineering, questions of style and means of ascent take precedence over reaching the objective itself. It is no longer a matter of employing huge financial and technical resources (bottled oxygen, fixed ropes, high-altitude porters, so-called 'performance-enhancing' substances…) and large numbers of people to reach the top at all costs. The Piolets d'Or throw the spotlight on imaginative and innovative new routes, using a minimum amount of equipment, and building on experience.
Criteria for evaluating performances
The jury judges these ascents irrespective of a climber's nationality and against the following criteria, both on a point-by-point basis and as a whole:
- Style of ascent.
- Spirit of exploration: original (previously unclimbed) route and/or mountain, creative and innovative approach.
- Level of commitment and self-sufficiency.
- High level of technical ability required.
- Suitability of route in light of objective dangers.
- Efficient and sparing use of resources.
- Transparency regarding the use of these resources.
- Respect for people, climbing partners, members of other teams, porters and local agents.
- Respect for the environment.
- Respect for future generations of mountaineers by leaving them the possibility of enjoying the same kind of experiences and adventures.