Logan, Greenland Climbs Earn Piolets d'Or

Katsutaka Yokoyama (left) and Yasushi Okada, celebrated for their first ascent of the southeast face of Mt. Logan in Canada. Courtesy of Piolets d'Or

4/16/11 - Two teams of climbers were honored with the 2011 Piolets d'Or, the annual prizes awarded in Chamonix, France, and Courmayeur, Italy, for the most inspiring ascents of the previous year. 

Yasushi Okada and Katsutaka Yokoyama won a golden ice axe for their first ascent of the 2,500-meter southeast face of Mt. Logan. Earlier this year, this climb won a Golden Piton for alpine climbing from Climbing magazine.

The second Piolet d'Or of 2011 was unusual because it did not involve alpine climbing: Ben Ditto (USA) and Nicolas Favresse, Olivier Favresse, and Sean Villanueva from Belgium climbed nine new routes on the big walls of Greenland, one of which took 10 days. The team started most of their climbs from a sailboat captained by 75-year-old Bob Shepton from Great Britain.

American Ben Ditto, part of the team that won a 2011 Piolets d'Or for nine new routes in western and southern Greenland. Courtesy of Piolets d'Or

Asked about the choice of a big-wall rock climbing expedition for a Piolet d'Or, jury president Greg Child, from Castle Valley, Utah, told Alpinist's Keese Lane, that "climbing is not about numbers or statistics, but about the feeling in your gut," and that the Belgian-American team had climbed its routes with no bolts or pitons, an exemplary model for expeditionary big-wall climbing. Lane also reported that many jury members had told him this was the trip among all the nominees that they'd wished they were on. 

The other nominees for this year's awards were: 

Dates of awards: April 2011 

Sources: pioletsdor.com, alpinist.com, climbing.com   


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