2004 Golden Piton Awards
Each January the editors at Cimbing begin scouring the records, recollections, and rumors for the most impressive ascents of the past year. We compare, contrast, argue, judge. Phone calls and emails go out to all corners and slowly the field narrows. Our categories — from bouldering to high-altitude mountaineering — are flexible, since standard-setting climbs often bend the old definitions, but our standards are rigorous. What we look for most are climbs that point the way toward the future. Style always matters. Hard, committing, imaginative climbing gets top marks. We seek out visionary mountaineering efforts, improbable boulder problems, sport routes that “just say no” to the easy temptations. In short, we reward ascents that stand for something, in all mediums.
With more climbers pushing the envelope — many of them professional with definite career agendas — the selection process becomes harder each year. Some notable ascents, perhaps, we just didn’t hear about. Some, we just couldn’t figure out. But we’ve done it, finished the homework, settled our arguments, tipped our hats to the runners-up, and picked the climbs that merit Climbing’s 2004 Golden Piton Awards. The recipients of the Pitons have demonstrated not just world-class climbing prowess, but a unique vision and dedication to our pursuit. They are climber’s climbers, who are willing to peek around the bend and suss out tomorrow’s possibilities. A Golden Piton won’t put gas in a tank or pay for expedition supplies. It’s a token, but we hope it’s a reminder that climbing is something lofty, and that we are paying attention. We applaud all the climbers who pushed it out there this year, recognized by a Piton or not.