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Chamonix - Courmayeur base camp of the Piolets d'Or

The Piolets d'Or event draws its strength from the passionate commitment of the organisers, the members of the steering committee and the support of its partners. The Piolets d’Or in Chamonix (F) and Courmayeur (I) is a return to the roots, to face the challenges of tomorrow.  It is not only a festival of alpinism which finds its inspiration in the rich history of Mont-Blanc, but also a celebration of team spirit, valuing the beauty of commitment and the new lines drawn on a summits somewhere in the world.

Chamonix, from the conquest of Mont-Blanc to 21st century mountaineering

In the 16th century, cartographers designated Mont-Blanc by the place name "The Cursed Mountain".
In 1784, the Dôme du Goûter (4304 m) in Chamonix was the first 4000m peak to be climbed in the Alps.  But it was in 1786 that Mont-Blanc entered into the European history books when it was climbed by crystal hunter Jacques Balmat and Doctor Michel-Gabriel Paccard.
From scientific exploration of the massif and the first expedition outside Europe by a local Chamonix guide and his English clients, to Elbrouz in the Caucasus in 1860, alpinism was born, has transformed and thrives in Chamonix to this day.

Nowadays, Chamonix is a base camp and training ground with glaciers and over two hundred summits counting more than two thousand climbing routes of all levels.  The town sees the passage of climbers from all over the world, before they depart for the high stakes of the Himalayas, Patagonia, the Poles, or other unclimbed summits, rock faces and arêtes awaiting the climbers of the 21st century.

Eric Fournier – Mayor of Chamonix Mont-Blanc




The Aosta Valley: mountaineering - a sporting practice, a way of life

The Aosta Valley, and particularly the town of Courmayeur, is passionately involved in the organisation of the Piolets d’Or, to demonstrate the great contribution of this region to the birth and international growth of mountaineering.  The joint efforts of the Commune of Courmayeur and the regional council for culture, is to present alpinism in a new light: not only as a great sporting gesture, but also showing the cultural importance of an activity, which often demands exceptional human qualities of its practitioners.

Fabrizia DERRIARD - Mayor of Courmayeur



Niveales Publishing

Based in Grenoble (Isere, France), Niveales Publishing is a greenhouse for specialist magazines covering the mountains, the sea and travel: Montagnes Magazine, Vertical, Skieur Magazine, Snowsurf, Grimper, Trek, Wind Magazine, Grands reportages…
Niveales has financially supported and organised the Piolets d’Or from the outset in order to promote top-level alpinism the world over.
For the first time, Niveales is bringing together its two flagship editions, Montagnes Magazine and Vertical, for the event.


Montagnes Magazine (France)

The magazine dedicated to those who participate in and enjoy the mountains.
This monthly reference guide in its domain employs a team of experienced journalists who practice mountaineering in all its forms: alpinism, expeditions, ice-climbing, ski-touring, rock climbing, trekking, etc…   Each month the magazine covers the latest mountaineering news in the French massifs or elsewhere in the world, the grand exploits, investigations and reports on everything that matters in this exceptional domain.


The magazine for European alpinists.
Since 2006, Niveales Publishing also produces Vertical magazine in its new European format with editions in French, English, German and Italian.  It has become reference reading for mountaineering lovers all over Europe.

Groupe de Haute-Montagne (GHM)

Between tradition and modernity, the GHM is the voice of alpinism of today and yesteryear.  Founded in 1919 by Paul Job, Jacques de Lépiney and Paul Chevalier, the aim was to promote sporting and innovative alpinism, asserting autonomy in the face of classic mountaineering which prevailed at the time.

With 260 members from all over the world, the GHM is proud of uniting the biggest names in modern day alpinism.  Its aim: to promote contemporary alpinism anchored in the purest tradition from past alpine ascents, and to revive human values such as the spirit of adventure, commitment and solidarity.
The GHM believes that the mountains need respect, of the men who climb them as well as of the environment which surrounds them, and wishes to promote the type of mountaineering which reconciles ethics with performance.

The objectives of the GHM are numerous: firstly, to revitalise the institution and make it the point of reference; to reinforce ties with the major federations in order to work towards a sensible method of mountaineering; to affirm that success does not solely equate to reaching the summit, but should include the question of style as well as respect for the mountain.

The question of ethics and of style will be at the heart of the next edition of the Piolets d’Or, an event partly founded by the GHM, who initiated the re-launch in Chamonix in partnership with Courmayeur and the Aosta Valley Region.
This far-reaching world scale celebration of alpinism will be a fantastic platform from where to promote the values of the GHM.


The Organising Committee


Claude Gardien, Editor Vertical Magazine

Cecilia Malfa, Courmayeur Town Hall Representative

Claude Marin, Chamonix Town Hall Representative Chamonix

Carmen Mennella, Courmayeur Town Hall Representative

Franck Lecoutre, Chamonix Town Hall Representative Chamonix

Christian Trommsdorff, President of the Groupe de Haute Montagne (GHM), Chamonix

Piolet d'or édition 2012


Chamonix Mont-Blanc Commune de Courmayeur 
Région Rhône-Alpes
VerticalGroupe de Haute Montagne
Montagnes Magazine