UKC

Bracey and Helliker: New Route on East Face of Mt Maudit

Highly active British alpinists Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey have climbed what is thought to be a new route on one of the three gendarmes on the East Face of Mt Maudit in the Mont Blanc Massif, naming it Zephyr (M5+, 6b, 400m). This climb comes just a few weeks after the pair made the first ascent of Mastabas M7 on the Pyramid du Tacul (UKC News Report).

photo
Line of ‘Zephyr’ M5+, 6b, 400m
© Matt Helliker

Leaving on the morning of the 13th March from the Aiguille du Midi, they approached on ski up into Cirque Maudit. The line had been on Matt's mind for quite some time. 

Skinning up into Cirque Maudit, 108 kb
Skinning up into Cirque Maudit
© Matt Helliker

Waiting for the route to be in a particular condition, the climbers had held off an attempt until the lower buttress had enough snow to be mixed climbed and until the upper pillar was dry enough to be rock climbed. Another concern was the state of the rock on the upper pillar, knowing that this area can have varying rock conditions.

Matt Helliker approaching the upper pillar, 162 kb
Matt Helliker approaching the upper pillar
© Jon Bracey

Matt told UKC: "The lower pillar was climbed up icy cracks and corners giving some great mixed climbing before crossing a snowfield and some unsettling snowed-up slabs to belay at the base of the upper pillar. The sun was still warming and the winds calm due to climbing on the lee side of the forecasted prevailing 65kph north winds, so gloves off rock climbing was possible."

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Matt Helliker loving every minute of Zephyr
© Jon Bracey

He added: "Things soon changed... as the sun dipped in behind the East Face, the strong, cold north wind found its way round onto the face, making the remaining excellent rock climbing pitches brutally cold. After much gloves on, gloves off, gloves on, re heats and total body shakes we topped out on the pillar."

All research seems to point to this as a first ascent, and if true Matt and Jon have named the route 'Zephyr' M5+, 6b, 400m.

Jon Bracey suffering it up as the sun's warmth is long gone!, 219 kb
Jon Bracey suffering it up as the sun's warmth is long gone!
© Matt Helliker

Matt Helliker on the lower buttress, 237 kb
Matt Helliker on the lower buttress
© Jon Bracey

Jon Bracey pulling on good warm rock!, 182 kb
Jon Bracey pulling on good warm rock!
© Matt Helliker

Jon Bracey tops out on the pillar, 4050m, 146 kb
Jon Bracey tops out on the pillar, 4050m
© Matt Helliker

Watch a video of Matt and Jon climbing Zephyr below:

Visit Matt's website: www.matthelliker.com

 

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

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



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