Euro Summer in Review

Posted on: October 29, 2010

Oriol Baro leads a bold overhang on the first part of Divine Providence (5.12d, 900m), Mont Blanc, Italy. [Photo] Manu Cordova

This spring and summer, European climbers made a variety of ascents from Baffin Island to the Mediterranean in a range of styles from hard aid and trad to quick alpine.

On May 24, Brits Stuart McAleese, Mark Thomas and Mike "Twid" Turner reached the summit of a massive unclimbed prow in Baffin Island's Stewart Valley. They made their impressive ascent of Welshman's Peak by way of a new aid route, Arctic Monkeys (VI A4 V+, 1400m). Climbing capsule-style, the trio set up two portaledge camps. They completed the climb after a 20-day effort, climbing up to 12 hours per day.


Also in the Stewart Valley, Catalans Josep Maria Esquirol and David "Pelut" Palmada put up a new route on another unclimbed peak. The duo spent 40 days on the island, and 20 on the wall, battered by "inhumane" wind and snow, with temperatures dipping to -20 degrees Celsius. They called their route Sensaciones (6c+, C4, M6, 60 degrees, approximately 1800m).

On July 3, Italian climber Kurt Astner freed Pressknodl (7c, 400m), a 14-pitch sport and trad climb on Cima Ovest di Lavaredo, Dolomites. Astner and partner Christoph Hainz established the route from the ground-up over the course of four days in August 2009. Astner and Hainz have put up several routes together in the Dolomites, including Alpenliebe on Cima Ovest (IX) and Das Phantom der Zinne on Cima Grande (IX+, 550m).

Camaleontica (7a+, 290m) on Punta Cusidore, Supramonte, Sardinia. Luca Giupponi, Rolando Larcher and Maurizio Oviglia established the trad line on June 14 and 21. [Photo] Maurizio Oviglia

Italians Luca Giupponi, Rolando Larcher and Maurizio Oviglia fired a new trad line up Punta Cusidore in the Supramonte range of Sardinia. Camaleontica (7a+, 290m), ascends part way up the 700-meter spire's north face, was climbed over a two-day period on June 14 and 21.

Spaniards Oriol Baro and Manu Cordova onsighted Divine Providence (5.12d, 900m) on the Grand Pilier d'Angle, Mont Blanc (4813m) on July 5. They completed the ascent in sixteen hours, topping out at 4:30 a.m. after taking a long rest on the summit of Pilier d'Angle (4243m).

In July and August, Elio Bonfanti and Rinaldo Roetti climbed two new lines on the Italian slopes of Mont Blanc. Le manteau de l'Eveque (7a, 240m) and Les Pelerins et la Dame (6c A0, 200m) ascend the south-southwest shoulder of Aiguille de l'Eveque. "The climbing here is a subtle game of balance," Bonfanti told "It's more psychological than physical and some run- outs add a hint of spice to it all.

In August, Simon Gietl, Daniel Kopp, Roger Schaeli and Thomas Ulrich put up a new route on a 1300-meter, granite tower, Grundtvigskirche (1977m), located in the complex topography of Greenland's Scoresby Sound—the longest fjord system on Earth. Using a system of portaledge camps, the team of four established the 40-pitch climb in just over a week. They bolted most anchors and used only traditional protection in between belays. The route ascends the east face of the tower, with difficulties of up to 7a+.

On August 26, Martin Jaggi and Matthias Trottmann made the first free ascent of Piz dal Nas (8b, 500m) on Titlis Peak (3238m) in Switzerland. The route, which climbs the steep and exposed north face of the peak, was first established in 2008 by Trottman, along with Thomas Koenig and Daniel Schulze.

Also this summer Hansjorg Auer and Much Mayr put up a new free route that traverses the north face of Blamannen, Norway. Tingeling clocks in at 7c+, cross- crossing and possibly sharing terrain with Lost and Found (A3 Norwegian 6, 7 pitches) before joining Atlantis (Norwegian 8-/8, eight pitches). Though only 450 meters high, Blamannen has a "big wall" feel, offering around 10 aid routes up steep, dense granite.

Around the same time, Norwegian climber Sindre Sether made the first free ascent of the 1200-meter Arch Wall on north-facing Trollveggen in Norway's Romsdal Valley. Clocking in at 5.11a A4+ and requiring 21 days to establish, Arch Wall was arguably one of the hardest big-wall climbs in the world at the time of the first ascent in 1972.

Manu Cordova takes a breather on the summit of Grand Pilier d'Angle, Mont Blanc (4813m). Cordova and partner Oriol Baro climbed Mont Blanc's Divine Providence (5.12d, 900m) in a 16-hour push on July 5. [Photo] Manu Cordova

Sources: Manu Cordova,,,,,,,,,,
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