Editor’s Note: In 2007 a number of high-profile alpinists spoke out against the Piolet d’Or, the annual climbing award historically given by Montagnes Magazine and the Groupe de Haute Montagne (GHM). (Read Marko Prezelj and Steve House’s denouncements in the February 26, 2007 and March 16, 2007 NewsWires.) In February GHM released a statement that proposed a new ceremony be introduced in 2008. It would, they said, focus on a celebration of the alpinist experience more than on the subjective declaration of a single superior team. (See the March 19, 2007 NewsWire.) The ethical debate reignited a month afterward when Alpinist reported that a team nominated for the 2007 Piolet d’Or had lied about reaching the summit of Shingu Charpa. (Read the March 30, 2007 NewsWire.) On January 23, 2007, GHM posted the following release on www.ghm-alpinisme.com in French.
The next ceremony of the Piolet d’Or, the seventeenth, will take place on February 15, 2008 in Valle d’Aoste with a very strong involvement by the Autonomous Region of the Valle d’Aoste, Casino de la Vallee, the Forte di Bard association and Grivel.
The jury composition has been changed from that of preceding ceremonies and now includes more high-level alpinists. In particular, the award nominees will take part in the international jury to choose the year’s Piolet d’Or winner. [See the November 27, 2007 NewsWire regarding the 2007 Russian Piolet d’Or and its similar “Hamburg Score” judging process. –Ed.]
The GHM, which withdrew from the preceding ceremony [the 2007 Piolet d’Or] because of a disagreement with the co-organizers on how to evaluate the achievements, considers this evolution positive and thus has decided to participate again in the event.
Nonetheless, the GHM believes that the Piolet d’Or in its present incarnation, with a single winner, is becoming more and more a competition that does not make any sense for an activity as polymorphous as alpinism. Far from supporting that development, the GHM will continue to fight for a more convivial and more festive format and to ensure that the important decisions regarding the Piolet d’Or will remain in the hands of the mountaineers themselves.