Tag Archives: Alexander Ruchkin

18e Piolets d’Or – 2010

Now we know you’re all proud about that super difficult problem you pulled at Les Gaillands last summer and despite all the spraying you’ve done down the Chambre 9 nobody seems to pay any attention to this achievement of yours which is clearly worthy of international recognition.

Well lucky for you my friend, The Piolets d’Or is kinda like mountaineering’s very own version of the Oscars except without all the glamorous movie stars, the bazillion dollar post parties or the hundreds of millions of viewers. OK, so it’s not really like the Oscars at all but the award is widely recognized as recognition of the most awe-inspiring achievements in alpinism over the course of the previous year. The award is presided over by the G.H.M. (Groupe Haute Montagne), editors of Vertical and Montagnes magazines and, starting this year, with help from journalists at the American Alpine Journal. Event organizers describe it thusly:

The Piolets d’Or event gathers together alpinists from many countries; active participants in the most remarkable ascents of the past year on every summit of the globe.

More than recognition for any one performance, the event celebrates the ethic, style and values which take inspiration from the true spirit of a rope party.

For the past 18 years, this international event has publicized the greatest ascents achieved in the mountains the world over, and given recognition to climbers of all nationalities for their individual or team ventures.

To put it in a nutshell the Piolets d’Or are awarded to exceptionally hard men putting up ludicrously difficult routes all for the sake of gettin’ her done. When you look at the lines these guys are climbing you’ll realize we should all be buying these guys multiple rounds of beers for shattering our ideas of physical and mental boundaries. Well, lo and behold we’ll get that chance when the Piolets d’Or rolls into Chamonix and Courmayeur next week.

The action begins on Wednesday, April 7th at 21:00 with the 1930′s film La Conquête des Cimes accompanied by a jazz improv group at Le Cinema Vox. The Courmayeur alternative will be a theater production La Conquista del Cervino performed by The Aosta Theatre Company at the Jardin de l’Ange.

Check out the complete schedule with full details at PioletsdOr.com.

Those of you who are far too enchanted by my lyrical prose to hyperlink

Reinhold Messner

away to learn the actual facts should know the program continues throughout the week and culminates with the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to some guy named Reinhold Messner in Courmayeur at the Cinema Palanoir.

On Saturday in Chamonix the fun and games start at 16:00 with a book fair and film screenings before the main event, the Piolet d’Or ‘Ascent of the Year’ Ceremony, gets underway at 21:00. At this time Piolets d’Or will be awarded to the ascents that most impress the distinguished panel of judges.

The criteria upon which the awards are based are:

- Style of ascent.
- Spirit of exploration: original (previously unclimbed) route and/or mountain, creative and innovative approach.
- Level of commitment and self-sufficiency.
- High level of technical ability required.
- Suitability of route in light of objective dangers.
- Efficient and sparing use of resources.
- Transparency regarding the use of these resources.
- Respect for people, climbing partners, members of other teams, porters and local agents.
- Respect for the environment.
- Respect for future generations of mountaineers by leaving them the possibility of enjoying the same kind of experiences and adventures.

The five nominees for the 18e Piolets d’Or were selected from a long list of 52 ascents by 116 alpinists in 14 countries. It should be noted that Yannick Graziano and Christian Trommsdorff withdrew their first ascent of the South Face of Nemjung from consideration. Trommsdorff is President of GHM and co-organizer of the Piolets d’Or.

And with that said … envelope please…

Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman – Chang Himal, Bullock-Houseman (M6, 1800m). Regular readers of the Insider will vividly remember our own gripping report on this incredible achievement. No? Really?! OK then, click here. 74 represent!

Chamonix's own Nick Bullock, Andy Houseman

Chang Himal (6802m) - Bullock-Houseman


Mikhail Mikhailov and Alexander Ruchkin
Gongga Peak, Carte Blance (6c free, mixed, 75˚ ice, 1100m)

Mikhail Mikhailov, Alexander Ruchkin

Gongga Peak (6134m) - Carte Blanche

Denis Urubko and Boris DedeshkoCho Oyu, Kazakh Dedeshko-Urubko (steep snow and ice, 6b, A2/A3, 2600m)

Boris Dedechko, Denis Urubko

Cho Oyu (8201m) – Kazakh Dedeshko Urubko

Jeb Brown, Kyle Dempster and Bruce NormandXuelian West, The Great White Jade Heist (ice 5, rock 5, M6, 2650m)

Jed Brown, Kyle Dempster, Bruce Normand

Xuelian West (6422m) – The Great White Jade Heist

Vitaly Gorelik and Gleb SokolovPic Pobeda, Sokolov/Gorelik (ED, 2400m)

Vitaly Gorelik, Gleb Sokolov

Brooklyn Decker - inexplicably overlooked for her contribution to alpinism.

Pic Pobeda (7439m) – Sokolov/Gorelik