After Walter Bonatti (2009), Reinhold Messner (2010), Doug Scott (2011) and Robert Paragot (2012), the fifth Piolets d’Or lifetime achievement award has been bestowed on Austrian mountaineer Kurt Diemberger.

téléchargementKurt Diemberger, born on March 16, 1932 in Austria) is an accomplished Austrian mountainer, an author of several books and a high altitude film maker, he attended the university in Vienna, where he obtained two degrees (MBA 1955, M.Ed 1962).

Kurt Diemberger received this year, the 5th Piolets dOr Lifetime Achievement Award for his very impressive career.

Kurt is also Honorary President of Mountain Wilderness International.

Diemberger belongs to an extremely elite club. Only three men have made the first ascent of two 8,000m peaks: Hermann Buhl, Diemberger and Gyalzen Norbu Sherpa.(Broadpeak In 1957, Dhaulagiri in 1960).

His climb of Broad Peak was a landmark ascent: the first time an 8,000m peak had been climbed in lightweight style, without the use of high-altitude porters and oxygen.

Diemberger was the last person to see Hermann Buhl alive before he fell through a cornice on Chogolisa. This attempt to climb Chogolisa was illegal and subsequently Diemberger was banned from entering Pakistan for an extended period of time.

In his youth Diemberger spent his summers in the Alps, starting in the Western Alps when the ice was in good condition and ending in the Dolomites.

By 1958 he had climbed the three great north faces of the Alps – Eiger, Matterhorn, and Grandes Jorasses – a highly notable achievement for the era.

During the 1960s he became and mountain guide but continued to climb hard and explore the Greater Ranges.

He made a number of trips to the now little-frequented Hindu Kush, driving from Austria in a VW bus. First ascents included Nobasium Zom (7,070m) and the magnificent Tirich West IV (7,338m), both in 1967 and both in the Pakistan section of the range.

In 1974 he made the first ascent of Shartse II (7,457m) to the east of Lhotse Shar.

In 1978 he climbed Makalu and Everest with Pierre Mazeaud, and the following year Gasherbrum II. Later he was joined by Julie Tullis on several trips, including a repeat ascent for Diemberger of Broad Peak. Their expeditions, on which they acted as a two-person film crew, culminated in 1986 with their well-known ascent of K2. Diemberger was one of only two survivors in the 1986 K2 Disaster.

He extended his interest to remote and unknown mountain areas, such as China, the deserts and the Poles.

Kurt and Stefania benuzzi at a recent MWI Meeting
Kurt and Stefania Benuzzi at a recent MWI Meeting

Sources: Wikipedia, Piolets d’or