In the field of alpine climbing, 2012 was a huge year, with numerous groundbreaking ascents across the globe. While this was good news for the mountaineering community, it meant hard work for the Piolets d’Or awards jury—the group tasked to choose the boldest and most impressive climb of the last 12 months from among six nominated teams.
In the face of this challenge, the jury did a surprising thing: They gave the prize to everyone.
The committee announced its decision at a ceremony in Courmayeur, Italy, on Friday. It is the first time in the award’s 21-year history that all nominees received the prize.
Each of the winning teams climbed peaks higher than 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) and five of the six included traverses over the top of a mountain and down another route.
The nominees included:
- From the United States: Kyle Dempster, Hayden Kennedy, and Josh Wharton for the south face of the Ogre in Pakistan.
- From the United Kingdom: Sandy Allan and Rick Allen for the complete Mazeno Ridge in Nanga Parbat, Pakistan.
- From the United Kingdom: Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden for the northeast ridge of Shiva in India.
- From Russia: Dmitry Golovchenko, Alexander Lange, and Sergey Nilov for the northeast spur of Muztagh Tower in Pakistan.
- From France: Sébastien Bohin, Didier Jourdain, Sébastien Moatti, and Sébastien Ratel for the southwest face of Kamet in India.
- From Japan: Tatsuya Aoki, Yasuhiro Hanatani and Hiroyoshi Manome for the south pillar of Kyashar in Nepal.
The jury included British mountaineer Stephen Venables; Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, the first woman to climb all the 8,000-meter peaks without supplementary oxygen; Silvo Karo, an alpinist from Slovenia who completed many notable expeditions in Patagonia; and Katsutaka “Jumbo” Yokoyama, a Japanese climber who is known for ascents in Alaska and elsewhere.
To learn more about the Piolets d'Or, visit the official website.