Piolets d'Or - Jugal Spire (aka Dorje Lhakpa II, 6,563m)

We are very delighted to announce that the 2024 edition of the “Piolets d’Or” will be held

in San Martino di Castrozza, in Trentino (Italy), on December 8th to 11th.


San Martino di Castrozza, 8th-11th Decem…

We are very delighted to announce that the 2024 edition of the “Piolets d’Or” will be held in San Martino di Castrozza, in Trentino, on December 8th to 11th.

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©Paul Ramsden

First ascent of Jugal Spire (6,563m), Jugal Himal, via The Phantom Line (1,300m, ED) on the north face, from April 25-29. Descent was effected by traversing the mountain and descending previously unclimbed ground to the south and west.

The Jugal Himal holds the nearest high mountains to Kathmandu but is infrequently visited. Desperate to climb after being curtailed by COVID-19 for two years, Tim Miller and Paul Ramsden from the UK arrived in Nepal in early spring. During the whole of the expedition it would rain, hail, or snow for at least part of every day.

After a four-day approach to base camp, an acclimatization outing on the west ridge of Dorje Lhakpa allowed them to see for the first time the north face of Peak 6,563m (later named Jugal Spire), a huge sweep of very steep granite. Although seemingly the preserve of big wall climbers, careful inspection showed a steep ice line cutting diagonally through the face from bottom right. While most of this line had a suggestion of ice, there was a rock wall at around one-third height that appeared steep and blank.

After the initial day, which involved sections of unprotected and delicate mixed climbing leading to a comfortable bivouac, they reached the steep rock wall. Surprised, they found a series of chimneys hidden behind a line of flakes that gave intense Scottish-style climbing. The following night spindrift avalanches ripped the tent and part of their time was spent standing in the dark until spindrift eventually subsided. The third night was more pleasant, though by now the tent was no longer usable as such, and the two just hid inside the fabric. The fourth bivouac, close to the top of the strenuous bullet-proof ice of the summit slopes, was inside a natural rock cave. Next day, after 37 pitches from the bottom of the face, they crossed the summit, rappelled from Abalakovs to the south, then dropped west down a broad gully to make their last bivouac where it met the glacier. They named the route The Phantom Line due to the ephemeral nature of the ice, and the way the route appeared and disappeared under different light conditions when viewed from a distance. Ramsden felt it was one of the best routes he’d climbed.


What are the "Piolets d'Or" ?

A celebration of mountaineering

The purpose of the Piolets d'Or awards is to raise awareness about the year's greatest ascents across the world.  They aim to celebrate the taste for adventure, the bravery and sense of exploration that lie behind the art of climbing in the world's great mountain ranges. The Piolets d'Or draw their inspiration from mountaineering's rich history.  They are a celebration of a sense of partnership and solidarity, of shared experiences, and reward individual or collective achievement.

The Spirit of Modern Alpinism

More than just the recognition of a performance, the Piolets d'Or celebrates passion, spirit and values. The spirit of the Piolets d’Or draws its inspiration from the history of alpinism and the authenticity of true team spirit. The style should take precedence over the conquest of an objective.  Success is no longer about getting to the summit at all costs, employing all possible financial and technical means, (oxygen, fixed ropes, doping products, etc) or large-scale human resources (high-altitude porters or sherpas). The Piolets d’Or event encourages imagination in searching for innovative routes using a maximum of economy of means, making use of experience and respecting man and nature. The Piolets d’Or is attached to making climbing a shared and valued richness all over the world, capable of attracting the best of human ambitions whilst encompassing moral values and edifying behaviour. The Piolets d'Or event is therefore a celebration of an ethical alpinism, rich in emotion.



Les Piolets d'Or

Piolets d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2009, the first Lifetime Achievement Piolet d’Or was awarded to Walter Bonatti.  His style of mountaineering perfectly reflected the spirit of thePiolets d’Or.  He became a sort of godfather to those who would receive this award after him. In honour of the man and his spirit, it has been renamed the “Piolet d’Or Lifetime Achievement, Walter Bonatti Award”.

The Career Piolets d'Or was created to reward a career where the spirit has inspired the following generations, in the sense of criteria set down by the convention.
Recipients of the Piolet d'Or Career :
2009 : Walter BONATTI
2010 : Reinhold MESSNER
2011 : Doug SCOTT
2012 : Robert PARAGOT
2013 : Kurt DIEMBERGER
2014 : John ROSKELLEY
2015 : Chris BONINGTON
2016 : Wojciech KURTYKA
2017 : Jeff LOWE
2018 : Andrej ŠTREMFELJ
2019 : Krzysztof WIELICKI
2020 : Catherine DESTIVELLE
2021 : Yasushi YAMANOI
2022 : Silvo KARO

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