Piolets d'Or - Special mention for two climbs on Cerro Torre

Cerro Torre, Argentina

All six of the climbs nominated for this year's Piolets d'Or award are on mountains in the Himalaya and Karakoram. But the jury of mountaineers announced today that it is giving "special mention" to two other climbs besides the nominated ascents. The climbs they have chosen to highlight are two ascents in January last year of the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre in Patagonia (Argentina).

The ridge was first climbed by Cesare Maestri in 1970 with the aid of over 300 bolts placed  using a compressor - an act which was widely condemned by climbers. In January 2012 Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk climbed the ridge by "fair means" (their term).  They removed around 125 of the old bolts during their descent. Then, a few days later, David Lama and Peter Ortner made a free ascent of the ridge, taking a new variation in the upper part of the headwall.

In selecting these climbs for special mention, Piolets d'Or jury President Stephen Venables said:

"over the last 20 years climbing has become more and more a 'consumer' product, where you simply pay to receive a pre-packaged predictable experience. Kennedy, Kruk, Lama and Ortner have restored Cerro Torre's southeast ridge to the realm of genuine adventure. My feeling is that this goes way beyond Cerro Torre. The relentless increase in bolting of every lump of rock in the world is seriously undermining the most basic values of mountaineering"

Jury member Silvo Karo, a climber with a record of impressive climbs in Patagonia, said:

“That climb was stolen from the future. Without all those bolts the history of that marvellous mountain would have been very different. I am convinced that in alpinism how you have climbed is more important than what you have climbed.”

Source - Piolets d'Or press release