Why The Piolet D’Or is Climbing’s Greatest and Most Debated Award

Garibotti is aware of the hazard firsthand. By his tally, greater than 30 individuals he has roped up with have later died climbing. The Piolets d’Or twice tried to appoint Garibotti for the award, as soon as in 2006, for a brand new route on Cerro Torre, in Patagonia, and as soon as in 2009, for the primary traverse of all the Cerro Torre massif. Twice he refused.

Most stunning was whom the jury determined to honor in 1998: a Russian group that made the primary ascent of the west face of the Himalayan peak Makalu in 1997. Two of the climbers on the expedition died within the course of. The organizers launched a brand new criterion after backlash that yr, requiring, in response to Trommsdorff, “that you must come again in a single piece.”

The issue, in Garibotti’s opinion, isn’t that the awards encourage climbers to take extra danger, however that in awarding dangerous climbs, they validate dangerous conduct. “If in case you have illustration of climbs which might be reckless, there are going to be extra reckless climbs,” he stated.

After successful a Piolet d’Or in 2019 together with his Slovene teammates Ales Cesen and Luka Strazar, the British climber Tom Livingstone wrote in an essay on his web site that the award “performs on my human ego” in worrisome methods.

“I have already got a satan on my shoulder on the finish of a run-out” — a bit of sparsely protected climbing that can lead to harmful falls — “who whispers, ‘uh oh, you’re gonna take a giant one!’” Livingstone wrote. “I don’t need one other providing me a golden trophy.” He accepted the award solely as a result of his teammates wished to.

In fact, for a lot of climbers, hazard is a giant a part of the game’s attraction.

“We have now to acknowledge that in conventional mountaineering, demise is a chance,” stated Reinhold Messner, 77, some of the lauded alpinists of the final century. “If it’s not a chance, it’s not mountaineering. The artwork of surviving is simply that. It’s an artwork.”

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