The recipients of the 2021 Piolets d'Or, honouring routes achieved in 2020 have been announced. Due to the pandemic, it was obviously a difficult year for exploratory mountaineering and the judges have sought to reflect this in the ascents they have chosen to award.
'Running in the Shadows' on Mount Robson's Emperor Face and 'Revers Gagnant' on Sani Pakkush are both to receive mountaineering's highest accolade, while Silvia Vidal has also been recognised for her impressive resumé of solo big wall first ascents.
'Running in the Shadows' was climbed by Alpine Club member Uisdean Hawthorn and American Ethan Berman. Although at a lower altitude than routes typically awarded by the committee, it was felt that given the special circumstances of the pandemic and the impeccable alpine-style in which the route was achieved, that it was very much worthy of recognition. You can hear Uisdean discuss the route in the Alpine ClubCast 'Bagpipes and Blagging' which we broadcast in January of this year.
At a more familiar height for the Piolet d'Or, 'Revers Gagnant' was climbed by the French team of Pierrick Fine and Symon Welfringer after they were forced to relocate their planned autumn expedition from Nepal to the Karakoram. Their new line tackled the mountain via its south face and southwest ridge to achieve the second ascent of this summit.
Greater detail on the routes and recipients can be found via the Piolets d'Or website.