New Mixed Line on Aiguille Noire de Peuterey by Helliker and Bracey

Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey have established a new mixed line, "Past Da Pesto" (M7, 450m) on the NE face of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey in the Mont Blanc Massif.

Matt on the final pitch pulling steep moves on some funky unconsolidated snow ice.   © Jon Bracey
Matt on the final pitch pulling steep moves on some funky unconsolidated snow ice.
© Jon Bracey

Leaving Courmayeur's Val Veny in the early hours of April 14th, the pair approached the NE face of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey to an ephemeral goulotte hidden out of sight from many angles, the line rising above the snout of the Brenva glacier.

photo
Spot the Line? approaching the NE face of the Mont Noire de Peuterey.
© Jon Bracey

They approached the line on foot after a good overnight freeze - a relief having had to make a retreat from another project in the range only a few days before due to avalanche concerns on the approach.

Jon pulling steep moves round the overlap on the crux pitch.  © Matt Helliker
Jon pulling steep moves round the overlap on the crux pitch.
© Matt Helliker

At the base of the route they spotted a bolt, now known as having been placed by Andrea Plat in 2014 on an earlier attempt of the line. The two moved together on good snow ice, up narrow runnels, passing a few more placed bolts, for what would equate to three pitches of climbing until the bolts stopped.

The pair continued to move together for a further two rope lengths, crossing a snow field linking another system of runnels and thin ice. As they gained height they encountered thinner, melted-out water ice up until below a large overlap.

Matt making delicate moves, whilst eyeballing the hanging snow mushroom in the groove above.  © Jon Bracey
Matt making delicate moves, whilst eyeballing the hanging snow mushroom in the groove above.
© Jon Bracey

"From here, the climbing started to get spicy!" Matt told UKC.

They pitched for a further four full rope lengths, up hard and at times bold mixed and ice terrain, through steep overlaps, off-widths, corners, slabs, and snow mushrooms, linking thin ice patches together while having to work hard to find adequate protection until the goulotte's end.

Jon approaching the offwidth pitch on thin ice.  © Matt Helliker
Jon approaching the offwidth pitch on thin ice.
© Matt Helliker

They descended the line of ascent, adding no further bolts to the ones already placed by Andrea on his earlier attempt.

Matt told UKC:

"This really is a high quality mixed line, and one to match some of the harder lines on the East Face of Mt Blanc du Tacul. Being just visible from the skyway lift, and knowing now that it's possible, could become a hard, possibly bold in places for some, classic with its accessibility."


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Jon Bracey
Chamonix

Jon Bracey is one of Britain’s foremost alpinists having climbed many hard mixed routes in the Alps and established several new routes in Alaska, Greenland and the Himalayas. Along with his passion for expedition...

Jon's Athlete Page 17 posts

Matt’s life has been shaped by mountains and coastlines, from the sea cliffs of Great Britain to Scotland's winter mountains, the European Alps to the Greater Ranges of the Himalayas, South America and Alaska....

Matt's Athlete Page 16 posts



1 May

Surprised they suggest its an accessible route, or has the glacier retreated so much its a lot easier to get to the face nowadays.

I am as impressed for actually getting there as climbing a route. Well done.

Any photos of the face and line?

1 May

V easy access- 1 hour walk along the top of the moraine and then 1 hour on snow to the foot of the climb. Almost non glacial approach (just last 15 minutes touches the glacier).

I'll try and take a photo of the face tomorrow

2 May

What altitude did you top out at?