1st British Ascent of Omega, Petites Jorasses

Nick Bullock and Stuart McAleese have made the first British ascent, possibly the first free ascent (to be confirmed) and third overall ascent of Patrick Gabarrou and Feran Patrick Latore's 1994 route, Omega on the Northwest face of The Petites Jorasses. This was the route that last winter, Bullock broke his ankle on whilst making an attempt with Jon Bracey. Nick returned this January with a new partner, McAleese and over 3 days the pair climbed the route free, which involved 13 pitches up to Scottish VIII 8. The scene of last year's 20 foot fall and subsequent helicopter rescue was pitch 10, a bulging chock stone split by a very narrow thinly iced cleft, which Bullock led at Scottish VII, putting the ghosts to rest. However, the next two pitches also proved taxing and involved a pitch on rotten rock and poorly protected ice over slabs (led by McAleese) and an A2/3 pitch, which was freed by Bullock at VIII 8. The pair were somewhat disappointed to find that the route had evidently been climbed just days before their ascent, but most likely not by a British team (due to the type of gear left). Bullock and McAleese were able to use the anchors left by this unknown team on their descent, where they were caught in a storm before an "interesting" ski descent back to Chamonix. Nick has written up a full description of the route, which is available to suitable candidates!

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