Piolets d'Or - Saraghrar Northwest (7,300m)

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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©Archil Badriashvili/American Alpine Journal

Saraghrar Northwest, first ascent via the northwest face, 2,300m, ED2 or Russian/Caucasian 6B, 6b M5+ A3+ 80-90°, from September 3-10, 2021. The route was descended with one further bivouac.

The Saraghrar Massif, just south of the Afghan border in today’s little visited Pakistan Hindu Kush, has several summits, but few climbers have ever reached them. Saraghrar Northwest (7,300m) remained unclimbed, despite prolonged and valiant attempts on the southwest buttress by three strong Spanish expeditions in the 1970s and early ‘80s. The last of these topped out at around 7,150m on the northwest ridge, at a point they named Saraghrar Northwest II. Georgians Archil Badriashvili, Baqar Gelashvili, and Giorgi Tepnadze chose the previously unattempted northwest face, in its upper part a steep rock wall merging into the northwest ridge. They also opted to make the attempt in September, later in the year than normal, to lessen daytime heat and consequent rockfall.

From a base camp at around 4,200m in the Rosh Gol, and with little pre-acclimatization, the three “warmed up” by making the first ascent of the south face and east ridge (1,800m, TD 60°-ice 75°-snow) of Languta-e-Barfi (6,833m), with one bivouac at 6,400m. This was the fourth ascent of the peak but the first from Pakistan.

Around nine days later, on September 3, the Georgians began climbing the northwest face of Saraghrar Northwest at around 5,000m, continuing unroped up the huge snow and ice couloir that characterizes the lower half, to make a first bivouac at 6,200m. Above, a steep granite face formed the meat of the route.Overcoming hard mixed, free and aid climbing, they bivouacked at 6,400m, 6,600m, 6,750m, 6,850m, and ca 7,000m at the top of the face. Days five and six were spent on the difficult, vertical, 250m headwall, one pitch taking seven hours to lead.

Above the top of the wall lay a long complex and corniced ridge with 300m of vertical gain. The three Georgians made their last bivouac near the exit to the Spanish route, and on their eighth day slogged up to the summit. The were able to reverse the route to the bivouac above the headwall on the same day, and next morning began rappelling the northwest face, continuing through the night until they reached the bottom.

The Jury felt the choice of a high unclimbed peak in a less well-known area, a conventional fair-means approach, a previous unattempted face, a small team, a long climb in pure alpine style with significant technical difficulties above 6,200m and a crux section between 6,750m and 7,000m, and the need for a high level of commitment, all exemplify the Piolets d’or Charter.


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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