Because of tendinitis in my wrist, I had to find some “not too much climbing projects”. If I can't climb on the face, why not try the ridge...And what is one of the longest ridges in this area…Yes, it's Peuterey, the integral seems to be a good project. Jon Griffith and I have done it some years ago, but this time, our challenge is to do it “non-stop”.
We leave Borelli hut around 4am. There’s no more than one hour to walk before the adventure begins. La Noire de Peuterey is a 1200 m massive face. This is the free climbing part, south side, good rock, no snow.
Arriving at the top, you have a lot of abseiling. Sometimes quite scary because of rock falls. We were lucky and all went fast. Climbing (!) through “Les dames Anglaises” is the worst rock I've ever done. You need to go slowly and very carefully. 3 hours later we were at Craveri, a small bivy but for us the most welcoming place we can find. 2 hours of break for eating and drinking. The night was falling when we moved again. Going to the top of “La Blanche” is easy when you can see something but even with the best lights, it's not so easy to find the right route in the dark. When the sun arrived, we'd just reached the top of the 4000 meters. The last part, the Grand Pilier d'Angle ridge is short in distance but it takes us 2 hours before touching the summit of France. YESSSSSSS, 30 hours later we had arrived... although not exactly because we had to add 4 hours more before the Aiguille du Midi Cable car.
For an alpinist, it's easy to find a new route to climb, but finding the right clothes is always a dilemma.
First criteria : light
Second criteria: strong
Last but not least especially when you are around 4000m : warm.
L'intégrale de Peuterey has 2 different sides. You begin with a long climb on a south ridge with warm temperatures and a few hours later, you move in dark and windy conditions in high altitude.
My choice for my legs for the first part was the SCIMITAR, a very resistant and stretchy pant. On top, I wear an AL PULL-ON. With its long zip, it's easy to open it fast when it's too hot inside.
On the shade part of the rappel, I add the SHADOW HOODIE which is wind resistant too. When the night falls I add a MECO 120 pant, and a KINETIC pant. The orange MOMENTUM JKT is perfect on top... and I love the colour.
For the (short) rest and the top of the Mont-Blanc, I was really happy to wear my XENON JKT.
Also, I took two pairs of gloves : The ‘Alpine’ for the technical section and the ‘Icefall’ to keep my hands warm during the rest. Under the helmet my MECO BEANIE was appreciated.
A few days after I did the Pilier Rouge du Brouillard, voie Bonatti. We left the car park at 00 hours and reached the top of Mont Blanc 14 h later. We planned to do it in a short day, so the MECO and the KINETIC stayed at home.
I have been chosen to test the new mountain summer climbing pant, the TORQUE. It is the right moment because I want to climb the Pilier Nord de Blaitiere and cross the aiguilles the Chamonix till the aiguille du Midi. One and a half days of perfect rock. Even if I'm not a fan of red colour, I really enjoy the technical qualities. Really, really strong and they fit. It is the summer pants “par excellence”.[gallery link="file"]
For more from Jeff check out his blog (in French) http://jeffmercier.blogspot.com/