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RICHMOND, CALIF. (April 22, 2014) Swiss alpinist and Mountain Hardwear athlete Ueli Steck was recently awarded the Piolets d’Or 2014 for his solo, 28-hour ascent on the South Face of Annapurna.
During the 28 hours, Steck maintained absolute concentration, knowing that the slightest mistake would cause his certain death. He tried to minimize the risk of falling ice and rocks by climbing at night and taking full advantage of the lull in the winds, continuing as long as he felt he would still be able to come down the same route.
The Piolets d’Or is an international event that occurs each year to celebrate ethical mountaineering and reward the best climbs of the previous year. The 2014 jury consisted of alpinists, writers and journalists, who agreed that by climbing the face alone, Steck had subjected himself to maximum exposure. Despite not knowing what he could expect above the 6500 meters, he managed to complete the unfinished 1992 route of Pierre Béghin and Jean-Christophe Lafaille. His rapid, solo, first ascent represents the on-going evolution of mountaineering today.
By awarding the Piolet d’Or, the alpine community has officially recognized Steck’s ascent and massive accomplishment.
Steck shared this year’s prize with the Canadian duo Ian Welsted and Raphael Salwinsky for their climb on the North West face of K6 in Pakistan.