The second Piolet d'Or for 2017 goes to a different type of exploration; a high peak with a north face that already had many established lines. Yet, there remained a prominent virgin buttress, both elegant and direct. For the Russians, Dmitry Golovchenko, Dmitry Grigoriev, and Sergey Nilov, a tried and tested team on the big mountains for half a dozen or more years, the North Buttress of 6,904m Thalay Sagar in the Indian Gangotri gave a really sustained ascent.
The climber's self-imposed ethics meant that they took no portaledge, instead relying on finding suitable places to camp. After the initial 500-600m ice slope they hit the first vertical rock buttress, where due to the wind and weather even the steepest parts were plastered with snow and ice. It took two days to climb 200m. There were good crack systems but they were chocked with ice: sometimes they could be protected by screws, other times they could be cleaned for cams. Above lay 300-400m of taxing mixed climbing at 70-80°. The crux of many routes on Thalay Sagar can be right at the top; the black shale band that protects the summit slopes. The Russians tried to climb around this 110° loose and shattered wall but were unsuccessful and were eventually forced to surmount it direct. They reached the
summit nine days after setting out on the face and from there descended the original route on the west ridge, assisted by fixed ropes placed by a recent successful Indian military expedition.
The route was named Moveable Feast and gave 1,400m of climbing at ED2, 5c A3 WI5 M7.