New route on Les Aiguilles Rouges, massif du Mont-Blanc – Le Brevent SE faceTuesday 26 April, 2011
On 16 April 2011 Geordie and myself climbed our way up a new route “Lost in Translation” on Le Brevent (Les Aiguilles Rouges, massif du Mont-Blanc) above Chamonix. We left in the early afternoon with the intent of climbing ‘Frison Roche’ but a walk down the ski slope and the snow accumulation at the base of the wall which we circumvented by two abseils deposited us way more to the left at the very base of the wall.
We spotted a line and I climbed the first 35m pitch under the horrifying whistle of rockfall liberated from the wall by the early afternoon sun. Brick and coffee-table sized chunks wizzed by and I found solace under a small, illusory protecting, roof 35 or so meters up. Geordie carried on with the next three pitches – more a collection of curiously balanced rubble and interesting cracks. The last two pitches to the summit of Le Brevent became my task and reached the summit in perfect time to miss the last cable car by 15 minutes. We were down in Chamonix in 1 h and 15 minutes of which we were most pleased since walking a third of the way in guide tennies on black snow slopes is no fun.
We believe the route goes at TD, 6a (6 pitches: 35m-5, 60m-5, 55m-6a, 55m-5, 60m-5, 60m-5+/6a- = 325m route and 250m height gain).
We climbed the line in “five ten guide tennies” – it was too cold and way too snowy for rock climbing shoes. The rack we used was: 2 nuts (all we had), 6 Camalots (blue to yellow), 3 C3s (green to yellow), 8x 60cm dynema slings, 12 neutrino biners, 2 x 60m x 8mm ropes.
After the first pitch we did not find the option of descending the route by abseil a feasible one – too much loose and falling rock. At the time we did not notice any signs of other routes in vicinity nor any fixed anchors until the last pitch where we belayed from next to a bolted belay which we did not use. Later we found out that our route intersected then went for a while in parallel with “Premier de Corvee” ED, 7a of F. Pallandre.
We used no fixed gear and we left no gear on the wall. We entered through the lowest point of the SE face and came out through the highest point of Le Brevent.