The Piolet d'Or committee has announced it will give Kurt Diemberger the Lifetime Achievement Award this April for his distinguished history as an alpinist. Past recipients of The Lifetime Achievement Award, also known as The Walter Bonatti Award, have included Reinhold Messner (2010), Doug Scott (2011), and Robert Paragot (2012).
Diemberger was born in Villach, Austria in 1932. As a young mountaineer, he logged successful ascents of the Eiger, the Matterhorn, and the Grandes Jorasses between 1956 and 1958.
In 1957, he took part in an expedition that made a first ascent of Broad Peak (8,051m). One of his teammates was Herman Buhl, who had made a first ascent of Nanga Parbat (8,125m) in 1953. Buhl and Diemberger later attempted Chogolisa (7,665m) together. The two were not able to reach the summit, and Buhl disappeared when a cornice broke beneath him. His remains were never found.
Diemberger went on to make a first ascent of Dhaulagiri (8,167m), his second first ascent of an 8,000-meter peak. In 1979, he climbed Gasherbrum II (8,035m) and K2 (8,611m). On the descent from K2, he and Julie Tullis, his partner, were pinned down in a storm. Tullis died from edema and Diemberger later required amputations for severe frostbite.
Diemberger has continued to spend his life exploring the mountains, as well as worked as a professional filmmaker, writer, and speaker.