Helliker & Bracey Climb FA of Supercouloir de Peuterey 'Integral'

by Jon Bracey Dec/2013
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+Team Psyche!, 33 kb
Team Psyche!
UKC News, Dec 2013
© Jon Bracey

Chamonix resident guides, Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey, have just made the first ascent of the Supercouloir de Peuterey Integral on the Mont Blanc range.

Like a lightening bolt arching through the dead of night sky, a pristine streak of white carves its way down the E-NE face of the Mont Noire de Peuterey. Driving towards the Mont Blanc tunnel from Courmayeur one cannot escape the lure of the majestic Aiguille Noire de Peuterey and Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey. What is this line of pure beauty?

After a bit of digging we still couldn’t find any clues… In these situations, the past has taught us to not ask too many questions for fear of arousing suspicion amongst the locals. History tells us that even our most trusted allies could turn out to be informants!

Sneaking in under the radars we left Val Veny shortly before 0600hrs. Poor intelligence almost jeopardized the mission when an unplanned river crossing led to soaking wet feet and some time-consuming bushwhacking. Luckily we struck upon Bouquetin tracks, which led us onto the lateral moraine ridge, giving quick and direct access to the face.

The line is hidden during the approach and there was much relief when we finally gained the base to see the most stupendous 300m of searing near vertical snow ice reaching up towards the sky. Thankfully ice axes sank into the ‘styrofoam’ with ease, as protection was sparse to say the least. We climbed past two old hand placed bolts, which had us wondering about their origin.

+Matt Helliker on the lower section of the couloir, 106 kb
Matt Helliker on the lower section of the couloir
UKC News, Dec 2013
© Jon Bracey
+Matt Helliker questing through the steep rock section, 153 kb
Matt Helliker questing through the steep rock section
UKC News, Dec 2013
© Jon Bracey

Above, easier angled terrain funneled us up towards the steep rocky towers guarding access to ridge. There were lots of possible route choice options, but none of them looked too appealing. Matt, having served his winter climbing apprenticeship in Scotland, opted for an open groove full of tussocks of turf and moss. These provided solid ice axe placements, but no protection. With the steep rock bastion breached, a snowy couloir led up to the ridgeline and the warmth of the afternoon sunshine. With no time to spare, I led a hasty abseil descent back down the line.

photo
The line of the Supercouloir de Peuterey
UKC News, Dec 2013
© Jon Bracey

Supercouloir de Peuterey, E-NE face of Mont Noire de Peueterey

First 350m, H. Marguerettaz (✝) and G. Sappa 23/3/1983

Integral to ridge, 650m J. Bracey and M. Helliker 16/12/2013

Grade: TD, ice and mixed to 90 degrees

Jon Bracey is sponsored by: Adidas Eyewear, Black Diamond, Osprey, Patagonia and Scarpa

Matt Helliker is sponsored by: Adidas Eyewear, Black Diamond, Edelweiss, Maximuscle, Osprey, Patagonia and Scarpa


Forums ( Read More... | 16 comments, 03 Jan 2014 )
What planet must someone be on to expect to be taken seriously coming on here with no identity and anonymously disputing what seems like a perfectly credible and honest claim to a new ascent despite offering zilch by...
john arran - 02 Jan 2014

Just noticed the date of your ascent, I am awed by the thought of doing a big Alpine TD in late December! A great effort, especially in that remote part of the massif. Did you ski to the base of the route?
Simon4 - 01 Jan 2014

According to the Courmayeur contacts we have it was the second ascent of the first section and first ascent of the integral. We abseiled back down the line of ascent because we left some equipment at the base, but you...
Jon Bracey - 01 Jan 2014

Looks like a fantastic route Jon, well done, do you think yours is the second overall ascent as well as the first complete to the ridge? How did you descend, it looks from the pictures as if it hits the ridge just...
Simon4 - 01 Jan 2014

Thought I better try and clear up a couple of points. Firstly I wrote the story but not the introductory paragraph. It should be 'Italian' climbers NOT french as a lakeland climber pointed out! Get it corrected UKC! ...
Jon Bracey - 01 Jan 2014

Supercouloir de Peuterey, E-NE face of Mont Noire de Peueterey First 350m, H. Marguerettaz (✝) and G. Sappa 23/3/1983 Integral to ridge, 650m J. Bracey and M. Helliker 16/12/2013Grade: TD, ice and mixed to...
spearing05 - 01 Jan 2014

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