Piolets d'Or 2013 - Review to be held

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The Piolets d'Or says it will shortly be holding a meeting with French and Italian partners to "review the event and establish a basis for the continued future of the Piolets d'Or." The announcement follows the resignation of two French-based climbing magazines from the organisation in protest at the decision by this year's jury to award Piolets d'Or to all six of the shortlisted climbing teams.

The Piolets d'Or organisation has released the following statement in response to the growing row over the decision by this year's jury to award the Piolets d'Or mountaineering prize to all six of the shortlisted climbing teams.

"The 2013 Piolets d'Or took place 3rd-6th April in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and Courmayeur with close to a thousand people attending two evenings of presentations of the nominated expeditions and career of Lifetime Piolet d'Or recipient Kurt Diemberger. Visitors were impressed with a high level of organisation, and with the impressive and spectacular accounts of the visiting alpinists.

"Despite this success, there has been a certain amount of tension with éditions Nivéales - one of the co-founding partners of the Piolets d'Or.

"The organisation regrets the public announcement of those internal problems, but remains confident in the ability of those involved to continue with such a major event - driven by a common passion, a passion for alpinism.

"A meeting will be held in the coming days with the French and Italian partners of the event, to review the event and establish a basis for the continued future of the Piolets d'Or."

Editions Nivéales publish Montagnes a and Vertical magazines, as well as a number of other magazines covering outdoor activities . Manu Rivaud, editor-in-chief of Montagnes, announced this week on the magazine's website that he and the editor-in chief of Vertical had resigned from the Piolets d'Or organising committee.

Restructuring, journalism and editorial independence

Earlier this year, the Nivéales group announced that it will be implementing a restructuring plan involving the removal of five of its eight editors-in-chief. The restructuring programme  was first put forward in 2010 and at that time drew strong criticism from the Syndicat National des Journalistes, the main French journalists' union. The union pointed out that, even before re-structuring, the group had very few journalists on its permanent staff, and that these staff were "a guarantee of professionalism and journalistic quality of the various publications."

So it probably shouldn't be a surprise that the editors of two Nivéales publications have become rather aggressive in pursuit of an issue  that their employers may believe to be in their commercial interest.

All this year's winning climbs were in the Himalaya and Karakoram mountains. For more background, see Piolets d'Or 2013 - Winners and Quitters