Piolets d'Or

The prestigious international award dedicated to mountaineering

From December 8 to 11, in San Martino di Castrozza, the 2024 edition of the "Piolets d''Or," a prestigious international award dedicated to mountaineering, will take place. The Piolet d''Or (in Italian "Golden Ice Axe") is a sports award given by the French magazine Montagnes and the Groupe de haute montagne at the beginning of each year for the best mountaineering achievement of the previous year. It is considered the highest recognition in mountaineering worldwide.

The trophy consists of a 70 cm golden replica of an ice axe. The award was established in 1991 by the Frenchmen Guy Chaumereuil and Jean-Claude Marmier. The prize is awarded by a jury of world-renowned climbers and journalists. Since 2009, a lifetime achievement award has also been included, which since 2012 has been renamed the Walter Bonatti Lifetime Achievement Piolet d''Or, in honor of the Italian climber Walter Bonatti.

This will be the first time that the Piolets d''Or will be organized in the Dolomites, one of the main mountain ranges of the Alps and the world, particularly for its endless possibilities for rock climbing, but also for the special role the Dolomites have played in the development of classical mountaineering over the last 150 years. To name just a few, world-class climbers such as Angelo Dibona, Reinhold Messner, or famous rock climbers like Manolo were/are from the Dolomites. This vast massif with thousands of peaks - besides the Pale di San Martino, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Marmolada, Sassolungo, Catinaccio, and Monte Civetta are probably the most famous - has attracted climbers and mountaineers from all over the world. In the evolution of the art of mountaineering, notable ascents in the Dolomites by figures such as Paul Preuss, Tita Piaz, Michele Bettega, Luigi Micheluzzi, Emilio Comici, Riccardo Cassin, Cesare Maestri, Armando Aste, Georges Livanos, Pierre Mazeaud, and Lino Lacedelli have marked the history of mountaineering.

It was thanks to travelers who arrived in the Dolomites in the second half of the 19th century to discover new peaks that San Martino di Castrozza was born as a tourist destination, with shepherds and hunters working as mountain guides. At that time, they were the only ones who could accompany visitors in the mountains, knowing them better than anyone else. The first mountain guide in the area was Michele Bettega, followed by Giuseppe Zecchini, Antonio Tavernaro, and Bortolo Zagonel. They were the first to be recognized as the "Eagles of San Martino," a sort of legend for travelers of the time. Michele Bettega, for example, climbed the Cimon della Pala more than 250 times. At that time, San Martino di Castrozza was also appreciated by illustrious visitors, such as Sigmund Freud and Arthur Schnitzler, who wrote "Fraulein Else," setting it right in San Martino, King Albert I of Belgium, and Dino Buzzati.

"Whoever does not know San Martino di Castrozza does not know the Dolomites," so said the famous writer and mountaineer Gunther Langes. He was probably the best climber in the Pale di San Martino in the years between the two world wars. Among the many important climbs he accomplished, the most famous are certainly "the Velo Ridge (the famous Schleierkante in German), which is the northwest ridge of Cima della Madonna, and the Gran Pilastro on the Pala di San Martino.
ApT San Martino di Castrozza Primiero e Vanoi, in collaboration with Trentino Marketing and under the patronage of the Dolomiti Unesco Foundation, is proud to host this year''s edition of the Piolets d''Or and to welcome mountaineers from all over the world. The event is also made possible thanks to the support of the Municipality of Primiero San Martino di Castrozza, the Primiero Community, FPB Cassa di Fassa Primiero e Belluno, the Alpine Guides Group "Aquile di San Martino e Primiero," and the tourist operators of San Martino di Castrozza, Primiero, and Vanoi.

Details of the event will be available shortly.



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