/ Should we have a British Piolet D'Or?
In the October issue of Climb magazine, BMC Chief Officer, Dave Turnbull, seems to be calling for a British version of the Piolet D'Or - a prize for the 'best' mountaineering ascent of the year.
In the same issue of Climb, Stevie Haston says the French award has become a complete joke, with the Russians' fixed rope siege of Jannu's North Face winning last year.
The Americans have the 'Golden Piton' Award.
Should we have a British version?
Sounds a good idea - you have enough world class Alpinists and they would still be eligible for the piolet d'or.
> The Americans have the 'Golden Piton' Award.
> Should we have a British version?
The brass MOAC?
or the golden offset friend?
the silver bolt
That news item seems to have been issued tomorrow.
I think the Russians are unfairly knocked. They applyied big-wall techniques to a gnarly objective at altitude, accepted the workload and suffering this would involve and came away with a plum line that is probably unclimbable any other way. It may not be lightweight super-alpinism, but it's great teamwork, an exemplar of its style and possibly points the way to other objectives?
Sieging in the Himalayas cannot be regarded as a step forward whatever the objective. History shows that what was once the hardest thing going becomes more accessible as standards improve. I've got nothing against anyone climbing in the style they wish, however it shouldn't be classed as anything outstanding.
This is an excerpt from an article by Steve House
over the selection criteria for the Piolet d'Or:
“La sélection des lauréats potentiels, ainsi que les conditions d’attribution du trophée obéissent à une éthique stricte, qui est dans la droite ligne des valeurs fondatrices du GHM. Haut niveau technique, engagement constituent certainement les principaux critères auxquels les membres du Groupe éprouvent tant d’attachement. L’originalité dans le choix de l’objectif, le caractère novateur dans la manière de conduire une ascension sont également des elements d’appréciation importants. La pratique de l’alpinisme est en effet en perpétuelle évolution, et cette dimension ne doit pas être oubliée. C’est par la transgression de certaines étapes qui furent considérées comme infranchissables que les mentalités ont évolué, et que des ascensions réputées impossibles sont devenues courantes… Le respect des montagnes qui nous entourent, la beauté du geste et l’esprit dans lesquels on les gravit sont ainsi devenus une des conditions primordiales dans l’attribution du prix. On ne peut en effet léguer aux générations futures de sommets meurtris au nom d’une éthique alpine dévastatrice sans altérer profondément l’esprit même de cette activité.” Yves Peysson Président du G.H.M. (Montagnes-Magazine, Janvier 1999)
In English, this is roughly translated: The selection of potential laureates, as well as the conditions of awarding the trophy obey a strict ethic, which is in line with the founding values of the GHM. High technical level and commitment certainly constitute the principle criteria to which the GHM members feel so attached.
The originality in the choice of the objective and the innovative nature of the manner of conducting the ascent are equally important elements of appreciation. The practice of alpinism is in effect in perpetual evolution, and this dimension should not be forgotten. It's by the crossing of certain stages that were considered impassable that mentalities have evolved, and ascents reputed to be impossible have become commonplace…
Respect for the mountains that surround us, the beauty of movement, and the spirit in which people climb those mountains are also primary conditions for the awarding of the prize. We cannot in fact pass down to future generations summits mutilated in the name of a destructive climbing style without profoundly altering the spirit itself of this activity.
Read Steve's article and the one that Alpinist did a while back (can't find the link but it was the best article), have a think and you'll see that the Russian's did not even qualify for the Piolet d'Or according to the qualification criteria.
And no to the original poster.
I suggest the prize should be international, but the spirit should be british. Categories wight include 'Mild Stupidity' (e.g. getting to the top of the wrong mountain); 'Being Particularly Stoic', and of course 'Eccentric behaviour'
> In the October issue of Climb magazine, BMC Chief Officer, Dave Turnbull, seems to be calling for a British version of the Piolet D'Or - a prize for the 'best' mountaineering ascent of the year.
> In the same issue of Climb, Stevie Haston says the French award has become a complete joke, with the Russians' fixed rope siege of Jannu's North Face winning last year.
> The Americans have the 'Golden Piton' Award.
> Should we have a British version?
What these two did was history making, it will be interesting to see if there is still integrity in this award. They certainly deserve it.
Sep 13: UK Team establish new routes in Kyrgyzstan
A strong UK team has put up several new routes in the Karavashin area of Kyrgyzstan. Ian Parnell, Mark ‘Zippy’ Pretty, Niall Grimes, Donnie O’Sullivan, Sam Whittaker and Dave Pickford ventured to this remote area and established several hard free and boltless trad routes from E4 to E7. This area became famous as the place where a group of American climbers were kidnapped by militants in 2000.
The Russian Ascent of Jannu deserved the award. Its crap to say just because they fixed ropes they did not deserve the award, very very hard technical climbing was achived. Suggest all those whom don't agree free climb the route in slippers to prove the point in 2 days. Doub't anyone capable so point proved.
You miss the point of what the Piolet d'Or represents completely. In an effort to help clarify where it's coming from philosophically, I've dug up the best article/opinion piece I've come across on the subject.
Pay special attention to paragraphs ten and eleven and what they have to say in twelve. And then harken back to what Messner said in his timeless article, "Murder of the Impossible:"
Put on your boots and get going. If you’ve got a companion, take rope with you and a couple of pitons for your belays, but nothing else. I’m already on my way, ready for anything---even for retreat, if I meet the impossible. I’m not going to be killing dragons, but if anyone wants to come with me, we’ll go to the top together on the routes we can climb without branding ourselves as murderers.
Friends of mine (who have previously won the Piolet d'Or) attempted that face and retreated when they were hammered by stonefall etc. They decided too that they were going to be unable to climb it the way it 'should' be climbed. Went on and did an alpine style ascent of the nearby 'wall of shadows' as consolation.
The Russian ascent is nothing to be proud of.
I got back to civilization and was surfing about seeing what was out about our recent Rupal Face ascent. Please note that our line is RIGHT (not left) of the 1970 Messner route.
If you look at the photo on grivelnorthamerica.com (click ambassadors, click Steve House) you can work it out. We basically climbed the same line as the 2004 attempt for the first two days. Then continued straight up the pillar (at the base of which Humar was rescued). Then exited right to the central icefield, then directly up (slight left trend) from there. Vince and I are both quite happy with the line and the climb. Still quite tired though.
Just wanted to keep the facts as straight as possible.
> I got back to civilization and was surfing about seeing what was out about our recent Rupal Face ascent. Please note that our line is RIGHT (not left) of the 1970 Messner route.
Cheers Steve - now updated.
Mr. House wins this years prize for "mild understatement"! :-)
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