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Alpine style: as opposed to expedition style, which assumes pre-planned camps sites, fixed ropes, porters and even oxygen bottles.  Alpine style involves: progressing whilst in a rope party; minimal equipment and supplies which have to be carried; no outside assistance; no placing of fixed ropes; ascending in one go, as was done in the Alps.  Alpine style is the only method acknowledged by true alpinists on the highest peaks on the globe.

Big Wall: is any steep and difficult rock face of at least 700-800 meters in height requiring several days of climbing and which includes sophisticated techniques of ascent.

Capsule style: a style sometimes used on Big Walls.  It consists of placing a camp on an artificial ledge (portaledge) on the rock face from where climbing continues each day by placing fixed ropes which are raised each day to the point of departure.  Once the rope runs out or the team finds a suitable or strategic point to stop, the camp is installed.  Capsule style involves always moving fixed ropes: the team has no contact with the ground, contrary to expedition style.

Difficulty:  There exist almost as many systems of noting the difficulty as there are countries… We distinguish “difficulty” as evaluating the whole of a climb (altitude, length, complexity) and the technical difficulty, which evaluates the intrinsic difficulties of each passage.  The difficulty also depends on the terrain (rock, ice, mixed, artificial or free climbing).  The difficulty attributed to certain complex routes almost resembles a puzzle!

The level of difficulty announced is that given by the alpinist who has climbed the route.


Piolet d'or édition 2012


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