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Italian Mont Blanc Route Update
Posted on: October 11, 2008
Enrico Bonino and Paolo Stroppiana opened Reve Cache(5+ MR 4c) on September 29 after spotting the line on a previous climb. [Photo] Enrico / Stroppiana collection
As previously reported on Alpinist.com, Italian climbers Enrico Bonino and Paolo Stroppiana opened a new route on Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc Massif. Just days before Bonino and Paolo Stroppiana's ascent of Reve Cache (5+ MR 4c), Bonino had been climbing two routes on Mont Maudit (4465m) when he noticed two nearby ice lines running down a steep rock spur 250 meters high. When Bonino later confirmed that no route had been previously climbed on that portion of Mont Maudit, he and Stroppiana quickly made the decision to pursue the new line.
Dividing their ascent into two halves, with Stroppiana leading the approach to the rock face and Bonino leading though the technical portions on the higher rock spur, the climbers began by crossing a crevasse that gives access to the face. Ascending two pitches of snow led the climbers to the base of a rock wall, with their anticipated line to the left, along a narrow, two-meter-wide gully. Ascending six pitches to the top of the couloir, the climbers reached the base of the rock spur where Bonino had previously spotted the two ice lines running down the feature.
Bonino then took lead, climbing a first pitch through mixed conditions and in some places encountering sections of ice no more than fifteen inches wide. The next pitch, "maybe the crux of the climb" said Bonino, required the climber to lead through sections of poorer ice without his ice tools, whereby they reached the bottom of the third pitch and chose to ascend a narrow ledge that would position them on the other side of the spur.
While climbing through the next pitch, a twenty-meter rock wall, Stroppiana was injured when a large stone fell on to his leg. The climbers persisted, Stroppiana following with difficulty throughout the remainder of the ascent, in an effort to complete the route in the diminishing sunlight. Reaching the shoulder of Mont Maudit, the climbers descended through the night, completing their return at 3 am. Though it "is not exceptional as a fact itself" Bonino said of the climb, "[it is] exceptionally rewarding to have found a small corner in 2008 in the Mont Blanc range to open a 700m totally independent climb".
While opening Reve Cache, Stroppiana sustained an injury to his leg when a large stone fell on to it. [Photo] Enrico / Stroppiana