There follows a representative list of significant, innovative ascents in most mountain regions of the World, climbed during 2020, in alpine style, and without using drilled equipment. This is not a list of nominated ascents for the Piolets d'Or and should not be confused with such: it is a selection of routes that are classed as noteworthy within their particularly regions. Grades are those quoted by the first ascensionists and remain unconfirmed. The number of bivouacs (where made) is for the ascent only. Some web links may not convey a completely true picture of events but are currently the best available.
This preliminary list of significant first ascents during 2020 was compiled by Lindsay Griffin (Senior Editor, American Alpine Journal), with help from Dougald MacDonald (Editor in Chief, American Alpine Journal) and Rodolphe Popier (Club Alpin Francais). The small number of ascents listed reflects limited activity, certainly in many of the Greater Ranges, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Der Flieglende Hollander
Evgeny Glazunov, Elena Panova and Anatoly Syshchikov (Russia)
First ascent of Der Flieglende Hollander (800m, 1,100m of climbing, 22 pitches, 6c) on the southwest buttress of Pik Mechta (2,590m) in the South Muysky Ridge of Russian Siberia
- Pik Trud (4,636m)
Kirill Belotserkovskiy and Grigoriy Chshukin (Kazakhstan)
A new route (1,200m 5B 6b M6 WI5) on the west face of Pik Trud (4,636m) in the Zayliyskiy Alatau, Tien Shan, Kazakhstan
- Sani Pakush (6,951m)
Pierrick Fine and Symon Welfringer (France)
First ascent of the south face and southwest ridge - Revers Gagnant (2,500m, M4+ WI4+ 90°) - of Sani Pakush (6,951m)
- K6 Central (7,155m)
Jeff and Priti Wright (USA)
The first ascent of K6 Central (7,155m) in the Tagas Group of the Pakistan Karakoram, via the summit of K6 West (7,040m), by the southwest face and west ridge (2,000+m, 80°). Jeff and Priti Wright (USA) made six bivouacs on the ascent.
- Daddomain West (6,296m)
Yuikeung Ho, Siyuan Huang and Xiaohua Yang (China)
First ascent of Daddomain West (6,296m) in the Minya Konka Range, Sichuan, via the route Good-bye Happiness (1,400m, WI3 M3 75°) on the northwest face.
- Ushba South (4,710m)
Archil Badriashvili and Giorgi Tepnadze (Georgia)
A new direct route (1,700m, 6A/6B, VI/VII A4) through the headwall on the northwest face of Ushba South (4,710m), Caucasus, Georgia
- Mount Robson (3,954m)
Ethan Berman (USA) and Uisdean Hawthorn (UK)
First ascent of Running in the Shadows (2,300m, US VI, M6 AI5 A0) on the Emperor Face of Mount Robson (3,954m), with one bivouac.
- Neptuak Mountain (3,241m)
Brette Harrington (USA) and Tony McLane (Canada)
First ascent of The Hammer and the Dance (750m, 5.11c X) on the northeast face of Neptuak Mountain (3,241m), Canadian Rockies, with one bivouac. Awful rock and bad pro, leading to runout scary climbing, made this a challenging climb.
- Cerro Redondo (1,850m)
Karla Barria, José Navarro, Gonzalo Vasquez, Eduardo Weber (Chile) & Antonia Aldunate, Nicolas Secul (Chile) and Seb Pelletti (Australia)
Two new routes on the remote south face of Cerro Redondo (1,850m), Sierra Baguales, Chile: Painakin (800m, WI4) & Corta Corriente (800m, WI5).
- Aguja Standhardt (ca 2,700m)
Nico Favresse and Sean Villanueva (Belgium)
First ascent of El Flechazo on the east face of Aguja Standhardt (ca 2,700m), finishing up Exocet (850m to the summit, 7b M3 WI5+), with two bivouacs using lightweight inflatable portaledges. http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201215478
- of Torre Egger (2,850m)
Brette Harrington (USA), Quentin Lindfield Roberts (Canada) and Horacio Gratton (Argentina)
First ascent of MA's Vision (950m, 7b+ 90°) nine-pitch (around 400m) variation to Titanic on the lower east pillar of Torre Egger (2,850m), climbed free in 2019 by Brette Harrington and Quentin Lindfield Roberts to join Titanic; completed in 2020 to the summit via the upper half of Titanic by Harrington, Roberts and Horacio Gratton, this time with a three-pitch variant to the original variation, and some aid. Two bivouacs.
- Aguja Standhardt (ca 2,700m)
Matteo Bernasconi, Matteo della Bordella, and Matteo Pasquetto (IT)
First ascent of Il Dado e' Tratto (600m, 7b A1) on the north face/north ridge of Aguja Standhardt (ca 2,700m), sharing upper section with Festerville. Two bivouacs. One bail bolt was placed to retreat from a crack too iced to climb.
- Aguja Saint-Exupéry (ca 2,550m)
Luka Kranjc and Luka Lindic (Slovenia)
First ascent of Mir (700m, 7a+ A3 70°) on the south face of Aguja Saint-Exupéry (ca 2,550m), finishing up Le Petit Prince, with two bivouacs.
- Cerro Negro Pabellón (6,157m)
Luco Badino, Chicho Fracchia and Martin Hildage (Argentina)
First ascent of the southeast face of Cerro Negro Pabellón (6,157m), Cordillera Frontal, Chile, to the eastern summit plateau at 6,025m (1,200m, D+, generally 70°, 26 hours round trip from a camp below the wall after a three-day approach).
- Pyramid Peak (2,295m)
Ben Dare (New Zealand)
First ascent of Frost Flower (1,200m, M5 WI4) on the south face of Pyramid Peak (2,295m), Darrans, New Zealand, solo.
- Skardhatindar (1,381m)
Rory Harrison (Iceland resident) and Bjartur Týr Ólafsson (Iceland)
First ascent of End of the Line (680m of climbing, M5 AI4+) on the southeast face of Skardhatindar (1,381m), Öræfajökull, Iceland.
Alps & Dolomites
- Brèche Perdrieux, between the Pointe Orientale (3,348m) and Pointe Centrale (3,307m)
Luc Mongellaz, Manu Pellissier and Jessy Pivier (France)
First ascent of The Fridge (900m of climbing, 5c M5 WI5) on the north face of Brèche Perdrieux, the col between the Pointe Orientale (3,348m) and Pointe Centrale (3,307m) on the Epéna, Vanoise Alps.
https://alpinemag.fr/epena-nouvelle-voie-dans-le-frigo-de-la-face-nord (in French)
- Northern rim of the Valtournenche Valley
Francois Cazzanelli and Francesco Ratti (Italy)
First winter traverse around the northern rim of the Valtournenche Valley, Valais Alps, Italy, linking the Furggen Chain, Matterhorn, Grandes and Petites Mirailles (20 summits, 51km, 4,800m of ascent, and three bivouacs)First winter traverse around the northern rim of the Valtournenche Valley, Valais Alps, Italy, linking the Furggen Chain, Matterhorn, Grandes and Petites Mirailles (20 summits, 51km, 4,800m of ascent, and three bivouacs).
- Piz Badile (3,308m)
David Hefti and Marcel Schenk (Switzerland)
Several ascents of ephemeral lines on the northeast face of the Piz Badile (3,308m), Bregaglia Alps, Switzerland, including the first ascent of the 800m Amore Supercombo, linking Amore di Vetro (M5 R 80°) and Nordest Supercombo (M7 R 80°). A serious route with very long runouts completed comfortably in one day. However, nearly all the ground had been climbed at least once before.
- Third Pala di San Lucano (2,355m)
Martin Dejori, Titus Prinoth, and Alex Walpoth (Italy)
First ascent of Guardian of Dreams (1,150m, 34 pitches, VIII+ A0, seconded free at IX) on the south face of the Third Pala di San Lucano (2,355m), Dolomites, Italy, with three bivouac.
- Rochetta Alto di Bosconero (2,412m)
Mirco Grasso (Italy) and Alvaro Lafuente (Spain)
First ascent of Apus (ca 840m of climbing, UIAA V M6+ AI5), an ephemeral mixed/thin-ice climb on the northwest face of the Rochetta Alto di Bosconero (2,412m), Zoldo Dolomites, Italy
David Bruder and Martin Feistl (Germany)
First ascent of Stalingrad, Grubenkarspitze, Karwendal (1,000m, WI7 M8 A1)
- Sagwand (3,227m)
Luka Lindic (Slovenia) and Ines Papert (Germany)
First ascent of Limited in Freedom (800m, WI6 M6) on the north face of the Sagwand (3,227m) in the Zillertal Alps, Austria.
Other ascents that do not entirely meet the Piolets d'Or criteria but were highly notable during the year include:
- Pik Communism (7,495m)
The second winter ascent of Pik Communism (7,495m) via a new route – Barca – on the north face by a large team from Russia and Kyrgyzstan [ca 2,500m, 90°, fixed ropes on the first 1,000m]
- El Chilano Grande
First ascent of Sincronia Magica (1,180 m, A3+ 6a+) on the west face of the west top of El Chilano Grande in the Aysén Region of Chile, solo. Fixed the first 180m then spent 33 days on the wall in capsule style. Hand drilled bolts for belays.
- Pared de la Plata
First ascent of Bailando con la Lluvia (700m, 16 pitches, 7a) on the Pared de la Plata, Northern Patagonia, Chile, by an American-Belgian-Chilean team, which made a six-day approach using machetes, then fixed ropes to half-height during unsettled weather. One hand-drilled bolt placed.
- Cima Ovest
First free ascent in a continuous push of Space Vertigo (8a) on the north face of the Cima Ovest by the original Italian authors of the route. Bolts for main belays, but none used for protection, led to runout obligatory 7b climbing.
- Gross Ruchen (3,137m)
First ascent of Egidius (1,300m WI6+ M7) on the north face of Gross Ruchen (3,137m), Glarner Alps, Switzerland. Climbed in one day after two days of preparation. Bolts used for some points of protection and main belays.