January on UKC was the new routes climbed at the Rive Gauche area, Argentiere glacier, near Chamonix.
The Brits involved, Pete Benson and Nick Bullock, have been back in action in the same area completing a string of new routes in a ground-up Scottish style.
Bullock described the hardest route - Captain Caveman (M7+, VIII,9):
"Captain Caveman took two visits. The first visit was going well. Two pitches completed I stood in a massive cave belaying Benson. He stein pulled out of the cave (can opener, upside down axe pulls), feet smeared level with his head. Stein pull into stein pull, a blob of turf, a bulging corner, crampon points screeched on smooth rock.
Stein pull, swap hands, stein pull and finally a foothold. Pete now had grave reservations. The crack above was steep, wide and verglassed. The biggest cam we had was a number 4 and this crack was going to eat number 4, 5 and 6 camelots, and after it had eaten the gear it would then devour (piggy) Benson for lunch. Run away!
...Benson and I returned two days later armed with a double set of cams and a 4, 5, and 6 camelot... ...Pete fought the crack using a variety of methods and a variety of gear and eventually after an hour and a half slithered around the final bulge."
Other routes climbed include Happy House (M5+, VII,7) and Bringing Home the Bacon (M6+, VII,8).
Many of these routes have now had second ascents at the hands of various climbers including Jon Griffith (UKC Gear Tester) and French climber Jeff Mercier. Griffith reported back they they were of a high quality and well worth climbing.
Pete Benson is supported by Adidas