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Piolets D’Or 2012

The jury, of the 2012 Piolets d’Or, presided over by Michael Kennedy, has come together to deliberate on the

six expeditions nominated for the 20th edition of the Piolets d’Or.

The initial selection was made from 88 first ascents carried out across five continents by alpinists from all

over the world. The six climbs that were nominated by the jury this year were deemed to best represent the

ideals of the Piolets d’Or Charter, and embody the spirit of exploring remote and technically difficult mountains, of pioneering new routes in lightweight and low-impact style, and of embracing a sense of commitment

and teamwork. These attributes are the essence of the Piolets d’Or.

By celebrating bold and adventurous alpinism, the Piolets d’Or hopes to inspire current and future generations

of climbers to approach the mountains with passion, respect and humility. To this end, the jury has decided to

highlight two of the six nominated ascents, not in a spirit of competition but to encourage a sense of shared

purpose and common values among the climbing community world wide.

K7 West (6,615m), Pakistan

This three-day alpine style ascent of the previously unclimbed north-west face via a 1,600m sustained mixed
route was the third ascent of this famous summit in the Charakusa valley. This young team took their experience of climbing in their home mountains of Slovenia on their first trip to the Himalaya, and used exceptional

judgement and commitment on this highly technical climb. The route involved a strong element of exploration and was carried out in minimalist style by a team of non-professional climbers.

by Nejc Marcic and Luka Strazar, Slovenia

Saser Kangri II (7,518m), India

The ascent of Saser Kangri II – the second highest previously unclimbed mountain in the world – is an

example of classic exploratory alpinism and committed alpine style climbing at high altitude. The summit was

reached via the steep 1,700 metre south-west face after four days of ascent and three bivouacs with the main

difficulties concentrated in the upper part of the climb. A wealth of experience enabled the team to take a

very minimal lightweight alpine style approach in achieving the first ascent of the peak.

by Mark Richey, Steve Swenson and Freddie Wilkinson, USA

A third ascent has been given a special mention by the jury.

Torre Egger (2,850m), Argentina

This ascent of Torre Egger achieved a new level for technical ice climbing in an alpine environment. The

ephemeral line is a hugely creative and imaginative route, and was only possible due to the team’s opportunism.

A few days after the climb’s nomination, Bjorn-EIvind Aartun was tragically killed in an ice climbing accident in Norway, along with Stein-Ivar Gravdal. Aartun’s partner from Torre Egger, Ole Lied, was unable to attend the

2012 Piolets d’Or. The organisers, jury, and the rest of the nominees express their sympathy and support for

Ole and the entire Norwegian climbing community.

by Bjorn-Eivind Aartun and Ole Lied, Norway

Full Disclosure: Michael Kennedy is the Editor-in-Chief of Alpinist.