Frenchmen Aymeric Clouet, Pierre Labbre and Jérôme Para have made the third known ascent of a Peuterey Super-integral on Mont Blanc.
The famous Peuterey Integral, the longest route to the summit of Mont Blanc with more than 4,500m of ascent over all types of terrain, begins with the South Ridge of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey, descends to the Dames Anglaises, and traverses the Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey before finishing up the classic Peuterey Ridge.
In the winter of 1982 the legendary Italian mountaineer, Renato Casarotto, upped the stakes by setting out solo for what he dubbed the Super-integral.
This was a combination of three harder routes on the flanks of the ridge: the West Face of the Aiguille Noire via the Ratti-Vitali (a first solo winter ascent); the South West Face of the Gugliermina via the Boccalatte-Gervasutti Route (another first solo winter ascent) and, to finish, the Central Pillar of Frêney (second winter solo).
Casarotto was totally unsupported and carried no radio on this odyssey, at a time when winter attempts on the south side of Mt Blanc were a real rarity. He spent 15 days during February totally alone, often in poor weather, before emerging at the summit, by which time many people had almost given up hope for his survival.
Stéphane Benoist, Patrice Glairon-Rappaz and Patrick Pessi made the second super-integral in February 2003. After climbing the Ratti-Vitali and the Boccalatte-Gervasutti, they arrived at Col Peuterey in bad weather and decided to cross to the Eccles Bivouac Huts for a more comfortable night.
Here, they found Patrick Bérhault and Philippe Magnin in the midst of their now famous multi-day link of all the notable ice and rock routes on the Brouillard and Frêney faces. These two recommended Fréneysie Pascale, the steep and discontinuous couloir between the Right Hand and Central Pillars of Frêney.
Benoist, Glairon-Rappaz and Pessi climbed the difficult Freneysie Pascale (VI/6) and reached the summit of Mont Blanc 10 days after leaving the valley.
Clouet, Labbre and Para took only six days to go from Courmayeur to Les Houches, benefiting from an excellent spell of weather.
After the Ratti-Vitali and the Boccalatte-Gervasutti, the trio finished their ascent with what is believed to be a new route; the very steep corner system between the Hidden and Central Frêney pillars.
In the past this corner was equipped with anchors for a rappel descent - albeit objectively-threatened - from above the difficulties on the Central Pillar of Frêney. However, it overhangs in parts and appears to have deterred any serious winter attempts until now.
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