Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Voie Petit

The Grand Cap is the central pillar, the Voie Petit takes a line right of centre

As you may have already read elsewhere, our trip to The Grand Capucin was a big success. Ben And Caff managed the third free ascent of the Voie Petit, the route Alex Huber suggested 'may be the hardest route in the Alps'. Caff deserves a mention for being on blistering form. On day one, after a long journey and with barely a warm-up, he kicked off by onsighting a nasty bold slab graded 5.12b by Huber (~E6). Ben and I both needed the only bolt just to get up on second. After that he didn't look back, onsighting or flashing every pitch but the crux, some whilst seconding Ben's redpoints.

Ben fuels up on Jelly babies at the base of the crux pitch. Dent du Geant and Jorasses behind

In total we spent four days on the route. By day two we'd reached the crux pitch, a technical thirty metre corner capped by a roof and graded 8a+, when bad weather sent us back to the valley. After two days exploring the cragging delights of the Aosta valley (Caff was particularly excited by a hard sport venue called Il Cubo),

Ben on an 8a at Il Cubo

and being ripped off (76euro for two nights camping...) we returned to the glacier on the promise of a good forecast. Luckily it didn't disappoint; day three saw us back at the highpoint and Caff made short work of the crux pitch, only just missing getting it first redpoint. Ben got the next pitch ticked off and then we abbed down leaving ropes fixed to the base of the sixth pitch. The boys had a big job to do the next day, another eight pitches including an 8a and several hard 7s. Figuring I wasn't going to add much to the team but a handbrake, I elected not to join them and instead scrambled up the neighbouring spire and watched the action unfold.

pitch 11; 8a at 3700m and another McHaffie flash...

These pics are just a taster, I've saved the best and the full story for the mags: Climb should be running a full article whilst John Arran will be covering it in Climber's Alps and Beyond column. I'm really happy with the pics I got so it should be worth the wait...


Ben said...

Great pics Adam. What a great trip

lore said...

ahhhhh, il cubo!!!
it's avoided like the plague by climbers in italy!!!
hard hard hard routes made by alberto gnerro!!!

excellent pics as usual!!! see you soon on grit hopefully.