Marek Holecek and Zdenek Hak win the Piolets d'Or, the Oscar os mountains sports
The two Czech mountaineers and Mammut Pro Team Athletes Marek Holeček and his climbing partner Zdenek Hak received the highest accolade for exceptional mountain sports performance. They conquered the Gasherbrum I (8,080 m) via a challenging new route on the south-west face. They completed the 3,000-meter-long, extremely technical line in Alpine style on the fifth attempt, over a period of six days from July 25 to 30, 2017.
ON THE LAST NIGHT, THEY BIVOUACKED ONLY JUST 80 METERS BELOW THE SUMMIT
The legendary Polish Himalayan mountaineering duo Jerzy Kukuczka and Voytek Kurtyka laid the foundation for this new route when they unsuccessfully attempted to scale the central section of the south-west face over thirty years ago. Holeček took up the idea back in 2009 and decided, together with his climbing partner at the time, Zdeněk Hrubý, to begin the ascent in the left-hand ice corridor of the central part of the face. They also failed.
Further attempts followed in the years thereafter, all of which were unsuccessful. Even worse, in 2013 Hrubý was fatally injured when he fell into a crevasse with all their equipment. The 2015 attempt, together with Tomáš Petreček, failed at 7,400 meters, as did the 2016 attempt with Ondřej Mandula at 7,700 meters. Due to severe frostbite on his feet, Holeček had to take a six-month break afterwards. The major breakthrough finally came in 2017: with the utmost effort, Holeček and Hak reached the summit together. It took them six days to achieve this feat, four of which were spent in the critical height between 7,400 and 8,000 meters. On the last night, they bivouacked only just 80 meters below the summit.
Holecek and Hak named the new route on the south-west face of Gasherbrum I "Satisfaction" in memory of the fatally injured Hrubý.
Mountaineers: 43-year-old Marek Holeček and 37-year-old Zdeněk Hák
Name of the route: Satisfaction!
Difficulty: ED+ (M7,WI5+) Total inclination 70°
Altitude: 3,000 m
Date:July 25 to August 1, 2017
Length of ascent: 6 days to the summit, 8 days including descent
Summit time: July 30, around 1:00 p.m. (Pakistan, UTC +5)
Type of ascent: Alpine style
Three Nominated Mammut Athletes
Marek appeared on the Piolet d’Or list of nominees with a second ascent, his 2018 expedition to Antarctica, up Monte Pizduch ("Bloody Nose"). In addition to Marek, two other Mammut Pro Team Athletes – Stef Siegrist and Dani Arnold – were nominated for the coveted award. Dani was also chosen for two projects: the free solo climb up the "Beta Block Super Icefall" on the Breitwangfluh and the first ascent of the "Schweizernase" route on the north face of the Matterhorn. Stef received the nomination for the new "Har Har Mahadev" route on the Cerro Kishtwar, which he successfully completed in a three-man team with Thomas Huber and Julian Zanker in the Kashmir Himalayas.