The organization of the Piolet d'Or 2022 has awarded the 14th lifetime achievement award in mountaineering to 61-year-old Slovenian Silvo Karo. He joins an impressive list that includes Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Robert Paragot, Kurt Diemberger, John Roskelley, Chris Bonington, Wojciech Kurtyka, Jeff Lowe, Andrej Štremfelj, Krzysztof Wielicki, Catherine Destivelle and Yasushi Yamanoi.
Now he releases this video recalling some images from his career.
In the 1980s, Slovenians took mountaineering by storm. Their committed and fast climbs, performed in impeccable style, made famous their technique and ability to undertake (and finish) very lightly their activities.
They claimed that, in part, it was due to the morphology of their small country: the Julian Alps occupy it almost entirely, so virtually anyone has vertical walls of sometimes dubious rock to practice every day. Not to mention the harsh winter conditions that submerge the country in a blanket of snow and ice, creating an unbeatable mixed environment on the walls.
Silvo Karo grew up on a farm in Brdo, and started climbing at the age of 17. He soon teamed up with Fracek Knez and Janez Jeglic, opening numerous routes both at home and abroad. Their climbs earned them the nickname The Three Musketeers. Just to name a few, in the summer of 1983, on their first visit to Patagonia, they opened 19 routes in 2 days, many of them climbing without rope.
Perhaps the highest points of Silvo's career are the west face of Bhagirathi III, in the Indian Himalaya, and the first ascent of the south face of Cerro Torre (although Karo considers his opening of the south face of Torre Egger as his best first climb in Patagonia).
But it's a tough choice. Silvo Karo, in his lifetime, has climbed more than 2,000 routes of high difficulty, with more than 300 openings of no lesser note.
Fitz Roy, east face, new route, Devil’s Dihedral (6a A2 90°)
Aguja Val Bois, east face, new route. D.E. (5 100°)
Yalung Kang, north face, new route, reached 8,100m
Grandes Jorasses, north face, third ascent of Rolling Stones (6b A3 80°)
Cerro Torre, east face, new route, Hell’s Direct (7a A4 M6 95°)
Broad Peak, normal route Torre Egger, southeast face, new route, Psycho Vertical (6c A3 90°)
El Mocho, north face, new route, Grey Yellow Arrow (7a A0)
Lhotse Shar, southeast ridge, reached 7,300m 1987-88
Cerro Torre, south face, new route (6b A4 75°)
Bhagirathi III, west face, new route (6b A4 85°)
Everest, west ridge to 7,500m
El Capitan, Wyoming Sheep Ranch (5.10 A5)
Nalumasortoq, new route, Mussel Power (7a A3)
El Capitan, Salathé Wall in 10h 25min
Half Dome, Direct Northwest Face, 11h 20mins (speed record at that time)
El Capitan, West Face (5.11c) in eight hours car to car
Fitz Roy, west face, Ensueno, second overall and first free ascent (6b+ obl 45°)
Fitz Roy, Slovak Route, alpine style with new variation from Glaciar Torre (6c 40°)
La Esfinge, new route, Cruz del Sur (7b)
Grand Pilier d’Angle, Divine Providence to Mont Blanc summit
Cerro Murallon, first ascent of main summit
Cerro Torre, southeast ridge, new route, Slovenian Sit Start (in a single push of 28 hours; 7a A2 70°)
Aguja Poincenot, Sperone degli Italiani, second ascent (and first of this route to the summit, 6c A3).
Trango Tower, Eternal Flame, first one-day ascent (7a A2 M5)
Tofana de Rozes, south face, Goodbye 1999 (7b on sight, repeat)
Aiguille Noire de Peuterey, Punta Brendal southeast face, Nero su Bianco (7b on sight, repeat)
Meru Central, attempt on the then unclimbed Shark’s Fin in alpine style.
During all this time he made many new routes, first free ascents, and speed climbs in his native Julian and Kamnik Alps, including mountain routes such as Zaumak Nerva (7c) that were the most difficult in the country at the time. At his peak he was red-pointing 8a.