Brits Feature Heavily at Piolets d'Or 2011

© Satyabata Dam
Following on from the earlier announcement that British climbing legend Doug Scott is to receive an award at the Piolets d'Or 2011 (see UKC News), the jury, presided over by Greg Child, has announced the six expeditions selected for the 19th edition of the Piolets d'Or.

"The jury members this year unanimously identified with the spirit of exploring remote and rugged locations, of pioneering new routes in lightweight style, and in embracing a sense of commitment and teamwork. These are the essential attributes at the heart of the Piolets d'Or, and this is what alpinism is all about. The six climbs that have been nominated by the jury for the award this year are climbs that the jury themselves would be proud to have been a part of." said Greg Child.

Malcolm Bass and Paul Figg  descending the north west ridge after climbing the west face  © Satyabata Dam
Malcolm Bass and Paul Figg descending the north west ridge after climbing the west face
© Satyabata Dam

Bob not hesitating to put his boat on the line for the ascent. Ben and Sean at the first belay.  © Devil's Brew Expedition
Bob not hesitating to put his boat on the line for the ascent. Ben and Sean at the first belay.
© Devil's Brew Expedition
The overall list from which the climbs were chosen was extensive, and shows that the spirit of adventure in climbing lives on in a new generation. The selection was made from 53 first ascents made across 19 countries on 5 continents, with 138 mountaineers of 22 different nationalities. All of the mountaineers will be in Chamonix and Courmayeur from 13th - 16th April to present their routes and expeditions, with the chance of receiving a Piolets d'Or award for one of the most noteworthy alpine style ascents of 2010.


  • 3 200m route on the South East Face of Mount Foraker (5304m), Alaska by Colin Haley (USA) and Bjorn-Eivind Artun (Norway): 71 hours without a bivouac to test the limits of non-stop alpine climbing.
  • 2 500 m route on the South East Face of Mount Logan (5959m), Canada by Yasushi Okada and Katsutaka Yokoyama (Japan): 4 bivouacs.
  • first ascent of the West Face (1600m) of Vasuki Parbat (6792m), India by Malcom Bass and Paul Figg (UK): the second only ascent of the peak, 10 days on the route.
  • first ascent of Lunag 1 South East (c6830m), Rolwaling Himal, Nepal by Max Belleville, Mathieu Détrie, Mathieu Meynadier and Sébastien Ratel (France): 3 bivouacs.
  • first ascent of the East Face (2500m) of Mount Edgar (6618m), Minya Konka Range, Sichuan province by Bruce Normand (UK) and Kyle Dempster (USA): second ascent of this peak with 3 approach days and 5 days on the route.
  • 9 new routes on the big walls on the West & South coasts of Greenland by Sean Villanueva, Nicolas and Olivier Favressse (Belgium) and Ben Ditto (USA): the most committing - Devil's Brew, took 10 days. Most of the routes were started from their basecamp boat captained by Briton Bob Shepton (75 yrs).

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14 Mar, 2011
71 hours... thats genuinely ridiculous. my bets on them or the favresse bros. et al's trip.
14 Mar, 2011
I'm still confused as to what the Piolet d'Or actually does. What does "most noteworthy" mean? does it mean hardest achievement full stop? does it mean hardest and most out there according to the team's abilities? or are we talking about what was the most audacious, i.e.nothing to do with difficulty, rather to do with who put their lives on the line the most? i don't get it. How does a jury, regardless of who and how clued up they are, determine whats harder than another? Colin and Bjorn-Eivind's Foraker ascent, would have taken some people 10 days round trip. But conversely, those guys could have gone and climbed the line on Vasuki Parbat (just an example of course) in a day and a half. If you're going to decide what was the "hardest" alpine style ascent, surely you'd have to analyse all the climbers(teams) abilities, and compare accordingly? I'm not suggesting in the slightest that this should be done!!!!! but unless it is done, its impossible to remotely claim that what you're doing is identifying the "hardest", "most impressive", "noteworthy" or whatever you want to call it ascent of the year! I think its good that the big achievements collect aclaim and are celebrated. But any notion of the award actually identifying the best ascent, or ascent's should be smoothed out. As its simply not the case. Rant over. Will
14 Mar, 2011
Hi, ye i've read that. I couldn't make head or tail of what its trying to say. I think it basically carries you away in poetry and well meaning words, to a point where you're not actually bothered what it said. And really don't want to go through the ordeal of reading it again to find out. If its going more on the mentioned values, and difficulty has a small part to play, i think that the winning ascent should by rights go to some unknown person climbing some unknown couloir on peak unknown. Climbed in unknown's three weeks of annual leave. Come on stop kidding ourselves!! its still an award attempting to find the biggest route of the year! Will
14 Mar, 2011
There's no such thing as a no brainer. Even what you may think is obvious to others it may not be. Best to state everything. Anyway the criteria for the Piolets d'Or has changed and evolved to include more than difficulty.
15 Mar, 2011
Pity about the title of the post, smells nationalistic.
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