Greenland and Mount Logan climbs recognised with Piolets d’Or

Membership, Mountaineering

Two climbs have been awarded the 2011 Piolets d’Or: Greenland Big Walls Expedition and Mount Logan South East Face.

The following text is from the organising committee of the prestigious award, which is supported by French, American, British and Italian alpine clubs – all member federations of the UIAA:

The jury, presided over by Greg Child, has come together to deliberate on the six expeditions selected for the 19th edition of the Piolets d’Or.

The selection was made from 53 first ascents across 19 countries on 5 continents, with 138 mountaineers of 22 different nationalities. These ascents represent the spirit of exploring remote and rugged locations, of pioneering new routes in lightweight style, and of embracing a sense of commitment and teamwork. These attributes lie at the heart of the Piolets d’Or.

The six climbs that were nominated by the jury this year are climbs that were deemed to best represent the ideals of the Piolets d’Or Charter, and are climbs that the jury themselves would have been proud to call their own. These diverse ascents were made by experienced alpinists, on low or middle altitude peaks, featuring exceptionally high levels of technical competence. There was an overriding sense of team spirit and having fun.

The jury has decided to highlight two very different ascents:

Greenland Big Walls Expedition
This was innovative big wall climbing with a difference – in excellent style, using neither bolts nor pitons, and traversing the peaks after the climbs. In the popular sport of big wall climbing, this showed that it is possible to make these ascents completely clean. In addition to a high technical level, the team approached by yacht into unexplored areas and showed huge camaraderie.
by Sean Villanueva, Nicolas & Olivier Favressse (Belgium) and Ben Ditto (USA), boat captained by Bob Shepton (UK – 75 yrs).

Mount Logan South East Face
This was a new route on a very remote 2,500 metre face, undertaken with meticulous preparation. The climb- ers travelled over a wide area to find routes for acclimatisation, and only embarked on the route after careful planning to avoid objective danger. The ascent epitomises climbing in modern alpine style, travelling at speed on unknown terrain for a route one and a half times the height of the Eiger North Face. The pair completed the long connecting ridge to the East summit.
by Yasushi Okada and Katsutaka Yokoyama (Japan).