Grandes Jorasses – Croz Spur with Slovenian start

During the crazy Autumn of 2014 we were below the north face of the Grandes Jorasses second time in a week. I and Juha Sillanpää had climbed the Colton-McIntyre, the north face of Dent Blanche and attempted the Supercouloir. It was my first bigger objective trip to the Alps if one can say so.

We suffered a chilly and wet night under the bergschrund, our upper bodies inside a snowhole and legs outside, collecting snow.

It was windy when we started the Slovenian start of the Croz Spur. We made good progress but big amount of spindrift forced us down from the 2nd icefield. Conditions were good and drift of snow would only reduce higher, but very serious experience in the Supercouloir few weeks earlier affected us a lot. There we were trapped by a massive spindrift avalanche for several hours. Juha was only mid-way up the second pitch but just after hours we were able to rappel off. Powerfull and scary, but we learned our lesson.

Face of the dreams and epics.

Back to spring 2019 then. Before I flew to the Alps in March I had two big routes in my mind which should be doable in dry conditions and short’ish weather windows; the Lesueur route and Croz Spur.

After the Dru we found out that a team from New Zealand had already climbed the Croz Spur, but with the Slovenian start and reported quite good conditions. As there were no big windows for multiday routes in April, Croz Spur seemed like a best bet.

I talked a lot about tactics with Etienne and in the end we took one single rope, bivouac equipment were left to the valley except our stove and snowshoes came along.

We walked to the Leschaux refuge on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Already snowshoes came handy in a deep slush.

The evening went by eating a lot and watching sunset colours lit the Jorasses on fire. This refuge must be one of the best what comes to views. Though Couvercle might be a winner in that competition.

Sunset game going strong.

We woke up at 02:15 and left the hut at 03:00 bellies full of muesli and tea. Glacier was frozen but carried our weight only with snowshoes. Snow got deeper closer the face and we were really happy with these strange gadgets on our legs. Only one visible crevasse we had to cross which made going rather quick.

Bergschrund was passed at 06:00 quite easily. We climbed two pitches to get to the face proper and simul climbing terrain. Second pitch was a bit thin and required a belay for sure.

Schrund and first pitch. We did the obvious ice strip to acces the face.
Race is on!

We did two long simul blocks to the base of the steeper section above the 2nd icefield. With microtraxion and superb ice conditions this was safe. Again a bit thin but one timers all the way.

Etienne starting his simul block.

Time was 09:00 when I started the first mixed pitch. Way to the M5 corner was more difficult than corner itself due to lack of ice. With thin protection I commited to the smallest of loose ice drips in a long time. With calves shaking I reached the snowy ledge below the second mixed pitch which is usually iced up.

Etienne tried from the middle but refused to commit for the ice without pro. He then traversed to the dihedral on the right and sent it as a M6 with quite good pitons and cams. Still more enjoyable for the second.

Second mixed pitch in the middle. Only big pitches this time.

I took the lead for the next big simul block all the way to the col on the spur proper. Really fun to be able to do the easier terrain in huge blocks! Clock was now 13:20 because mixed pitches in the middle took so long.

More simul climbing to the col.

We knew that next part would be the crux as there was still a lot of snow covering slabs. Etienne did one good pitch which was followed by one of the most horrible pitches of my life. Low angled slab with fresh snow. You never could know if you hit the rock or ice below. I cleaned a lot and slowly forced myself upwards on frozen mud-like rock. Took ages but we reached a platform below the last two or three pitches.

Horrible slabs!
Upper sections of Walker and Colton-Mac visible.

New Zealanders climbed the left-hand M5 finish which Etienne went to try but came back as there was too much snow to climb a rocky slab safely. Right-hand finish had some visible ice high up but maybe not enough for a safe climb. We had only one option left. The original 6a rock climbing show on loose but quite dry looking blocks.

First of the exit pitches. M5 goes to the left and 6a to the right of the tower.

Etienne led first two pitches. First had incredibly loose rock but second one was almost a good pitch with growing exposure. Belay was bolted?! which gave me some courage to enter to the final 6a pitch below the summit ridge. First meters to a piton were easy but then a chimney begun and good holds and protection ended. I was hanging from a hand jam (behind a moving flake) 1000 meters above the glacier and Colton-McIntyre icefields. Exposure was totally crazy and dizzying. Never been in a so exposed place on a alpine climb.

Chimney looked horrible and dangerous but I should make a plan quickly. I saw some juggy holds on the right but terrain was overhanging there. I committed. Meter by meter I found more holds and some pro until it all seemed to end again. I put a 0.75 cam behind a hollow spire and went back and forth, refused to commit to a traverse back to the chimney.

In the end I did, only to find myself under some snowmushrooms. It took ages to clean them including the cornice on the ridge. I pulled from the cams whenever I could. Drag was heinous but I made it to the ridge. When Etienne arrived it was past 19:00. I really don’t know where we used all those hours after quick start.

Upper part of the route. M5 option is the obvious low angle corner in the middle and original 6a finish is the wild ramp system above it.

We underestimated the final wall for sure and lost a lot of time because our minds were already in ‘soon to be over’ mode. Again a lesson learned. It affects your climbing pace and skills!

On the Italian side cloud cover seemed to be at the level of the Reposoir. We did few rappels and some down climbing to get to the glacier which had a crust on the top and deep slush underneath.

Misty mountains.
Feeling isolated.
Knowing how the descent will turn out.

Whiteout was annoying and we managed to go too right. When the darkness fell I was sure we were not on the Reposoir but where in earth we were? GPS showed the place but still it didn’t match. When the clouds moved for a second and everything turned yellow due to moonlight we saw the Reposoir on our left-hand side. Damn!

Luckily we didn’t have to climb too much up again to reach the spur. From there on we down climbed and found the rappels easily but next task would be hard. With worryingly low visibility our only chance to avoid cold bivy was to follow Etienne’s phone’s GPS map app. Checking our location in every 100 meters while zigzagging around crevasses Etienne made awsome job leading us through the mist. Seeing the lights of Planpincieux never felt so good.

Last few hundred meters to the Boccalatte were fast with improved visibility and snow conditions. We reached the hut just before midnight, two or three hours later than our planned latest time but in good spirits anyway.

Jorasses tested us for real despite easy looking route on paper. New Zealanders had less snow which made the final wall a bit quicker for them I quess. I was pleased that we made to the hut despite the fact that top part of the route didn’t went excactly as planned or the descent as smoothly. I think uncertainties and difficult situations are good learning experiences for us whom climb a lot inside the safety net of the Alps. If we want to climb safely in the greater ranges and deal with the unknown. If I think our Mt. Hunter climb for example. We had a rough plan but had to climb through the night, bivy in a unplanned snowcave and deal with the harrowing descent. Actual plan shaped up during the climb. Don’t understand me wrong as better planned the better preformed but there is always unknown factors you have to deal with if you want to come back safe and succesfully summit on the way.

Etienne thought that maybe our ascent on Croz is not a success as we really had to battle a bit more than we had wanted and didn’t manage to plan or see the outcome beforehand. Good thoughts because we were forced to climb harder terrain in the end than planned. What if out rack was too small for it or direct exit also proved to be full of snow?

In the end I think it’s only good for the future but good to go through the climb and actions step by step after the climb to learn.

Serac below the Col des Jorasses.

Jorasses still kicked our butts on Friday and offered one last whiteout experience. This time our joked ‘mountaineering instinct’ kicked back and we made it to the Planpincieux bus station under two hours despite bad visibility. Even catched the first bus of the day to Chamonix! That went better than planned. ?

Aiguille du Plan – Bonnington/Tejada-Flores

Weather was looking good again last weekend and we were bouncing options what to climb in one and half days we had. West face of the Aiguille du Plan was in the leading category but should we repeat quite often climbed W face direct which looks super fun or should we get ready for hard dry tooling on the rarely done Bonnington’s line? With only two known ascents we took the latter.

West face of the Aiguille du Plan. I’ll draw a line once I get home.

Bonnington/Tejada-Flores got it’s FA in 1963. Huge and obvious corner high on the west face waited probably 51 years for it’s second ascent when local dry tooling experts, Jeff Mercier and Korra Pesce freed the line as a M7 in 2014. They approached the corner via Goulotte Valentine because original route follows a rocky spur and has been under some rock fall action in recent years. And I think Goulotte Valentine makes the line more logical, fun and suitable modern outing.

We took a 07:40 lift up to Plan de Aiguille on Sunday morning and hiked up to base of the goulotte where we roped up.

Hard snow on approach.

We found three really entertaining pitches full of fresh waterfall ice right off the ground. Short sections of proper climbing but they climbed well. First pitch was M4, second 90° ice and third again M4. Ice was a bit deattached at places but made going more fun. Rest of the gully was speedy, simul terrain to the base of the Bonnington corner. I think Goulotte Valentine would be a nice route to do on it’s own in these generally dry conditions. There seems to be 20m steep dry tooling or rock climbing part to exit the couloir but after that speedy terrain to the summit of Aiguille du Plan. Go do it!

Juho climbing 90° ice pitch. So much fun!
Third pitch lower down.
Nice gully. Valentines rock crux visible above. Who’s keen!

Our corner should include six pitches of climbing at M4, M5, M5, M6, M7 and M4. Etienne did the first M4 which was approach like and then continued with two harder ones. I was supposed to do middle pitches but our stand places forced Etienne to climb both of the M5’s. Climbing was blocky but there was some loose blocks to avoid also. Due to fact that route is so rarely done I guess.

Etienne on the first dry tooling pitch.
Second pitch. Corner looming above.
Third pitch with some loose blocks. Don’t touch them!

I jumped for the fourth pitch and was a bit scared as I watched Jeff’s video from the route night before. Wide cracks, so be it! Luckily once I got to “the scary part” I was eagerly looking for better protection and found out that there are some holds and cracks outside of the wide monster. So I pulled myself out of the dark hole to the sunny face. Few airy moves brought me to a suitable place to make a belay. How nice!

Etienne following. Pitch number four.

Etienne followed and got ready for the crux pitch. Cracks above looked more like a rock climbing terrain but now we had to deal with winter climbing gear. Super nice finger crack and long reach back to the corner looked fun but then Etienne’s pace slowed. An offwidth part looked hard enough and required several back and worth moves to commit to it. Followed by a roof and good rest though. Then it went wild. A chimney. I mean full on chimney with no protection or holds for a few meters. Lonely chockstone too far away to be used yet. Somehow he reached two thin, hanging seems on the right side of the chimney. Unfortunately his ice axe ripped due to breaking rock and sent him flying. An old piton held. No wasting time Etienne finished the pitch without another fall and hauled our pack up.

It was my turn to second the pitch but after the finger crack I had nothing to give. Wide parts were just too bizzarre. It definately was the hardest pitch I’ve seen on the mountains. I couldn’t believe how Etienne managed to climb it up with only one fall. It also made me respect Bonnington’s team effort and dry tooling skills of Jeff and Korra. Maybe with rock climbing shoes there would have been a change for me too but hard to say.

Etienne said it felt harder or at least as hard as some M8’s in Rive Gauche but who knows.

Start of the bizzarre crux pitch. Looks easier than it is. So hard!

I finished the corner with another M4 which felt hard after getting spanked by the fact I couldn’t climb the crux pitch free even as a second.

It took us so long to fight up the crux that sun was already setting. Location and the moment made me feel the magic of alpinism again which was lost for a little time. Maybe due to so much cragging past year when all the focus is in a one 20m route you want send so badly. You lost being part of the nature easily.

One of the alpinist magazine moments.

We decided to skip visiting the true summit of Aiguille du Plan and hurried for the Midi-Plan traverse in a escaping light. Maybe it takes away our possible third ascent of the line but this time I don’t care that much. Main idea was to climb the headwall corner. Anyway I’ll back for the W face direct and remaining few meters to the true summit one day.

Midi-Plan or actually Plan-Midi traverse took several hours despite having a track ready from top of the Rognon to the top station of Midi. We crashed to the toilets just before a midnight. Carrying a sleeping pad each and one sleeping bag came handy finally.

Nice route. I didn’t like the crux pitch at all but otherwise climbing was enjoyable and good. Better than following Mallory-Porter train for sure. Big thumbs up for Etienne too! What a fight!

Toilet with aview.

Les Drus – Voie Lesueur

I’ve wanted to climb Les Drus north face for many years now, but since 2014 conditions have not been that icy. I always thought that there must be loads of hero neve covering corners before I’m willing to go there. Well, years have been dry. Evolution of tackling big north faces in dry tooling style is more and more common. Also I slowly adapted my mind to it. Of course at the same time my own climbing ability has grown. That means more confidence and reserve to climb harder routes.

Les Drus with Nant Blanc face of the Aiguille Verte on the left.

This spring I came to Chamonix to learn how to ski but as a climber there’s no way one can hide burning flames and stoke to be around Europe’s coolest mountains.

Eventually the weather window arrived. I teamed up with native Etienne whom shared the same idea of climbing a big alpine route. An objective wasn’t that hard to pick. Conditions limited out plenty of options. So Voie Lesueur on the Dru it would be.

Voie Lesueur (850m, M7)

The route got climbed in the summer of 1952 by the Lesueur brothers as a ED3/ABO. It got few repeats here and then but in the begining of the time of social media Ueli Steck and Jon Griffith did a winter ascent with variations that shooted the line into the light for the public. According to PlanetMountain Ueli graded it M8+ but more ascents brought the grade closer to easy M7. So much less letters on the grade now. ?

Quite a few teams actually climb the original line. Start of the route is more logical via Allain-Leininger as the whole line follows weaknesses rather than line straight up to the summit. In the end many of the teams finish to the breche of the Drus, to the summit of the Petit Dru or climb few pitches to the summit of the Grand Dru via Drus traverse route. We wanted to climb the original line in the upper part as it again follows a natural line to the summit of Grand Dru. It’s too easy option to leave the game in the north couloir.

Voie Lesueur with Allain-Leininger start. Picture by Wikipedia.

As Compagnie du Mont Blanc is struggling to keep lifts in function we had to think how to approach Les Drus. We ended up taking a Herse chairlift, skinning to the Bochard top station, skiing (downclimbing) the Poubelle couloir and skinning up the summer bivy of the Drus. Day was hotter than hell and boiling powder bowls of Pas du Chevre gave us trouble. Snow did get stuck under our skis.

Evening was beautiful and windless and we slept quite well under open skies. Alarm went off at 03:45 and we were on our way around 05.00.

All the pictures are of Etienne as only I had camera. Skin in!
Number one sunset bivy place in the valley.

Short walk to the schrund and I was off for the first pitch of Allain-Leininger which we would follow for the first couple hundred meters.

First time ever I did drop my ice axe and finished the pitch with only one. Luckily Etienne was able to recover the other one after I lowered him down from mid-pitch. Of course at the same time another team cruised to the same height. Only other team on the whole face and we all are going for the same route. Some pressure kicked in as it would be hard to pass after the snowfields as you don’t know which team is climbing faster. In the end we got up first and German team continued following us. Hopefully we didn’t slow you down 😉

Proper climbing begins after snowfields. Etienne took a first lead block and followed ramps and corners leading to the main groove which forms the middle part of the line. Already at this point climbing was tricky at times.

First pitch after Allain-Leininger start.
Handjams were very used here. White rockfall scar on the right.
Tricky ramp pitch on the N face.

Etienne sent the steep first M7 crux in a one long 60m pitch and I followed with a pack (of course we hauled the leader pack).

First crux. Good hooks and short steep and powerfull section.

My lead block started and I did one huge pitch to the base of the second crux. I really needed some motivation talk as I was already feeling tired from seconding with a pack. Again I did another big pitch through the M7 chimney which wasn’t that bad but M5 section above took more effort than I wanted. Slippery and smooth rock.

Top of the second M7 crux pitch. Visible section is M5 and felt harder than the chimney below.

From here on we did three traverse pitches, including world’s hardest M4 to gain the most unlogical part of the route. Etienne laybacked one thin and one larger crack and suddenly we were below the upper 6b crux and above our planned bivy ledge. We had freed everything so far and now the plan should be set: are we fixing the 6b boulder problem now for the morning or are we leaving it to be aided next morning? I was happy with all the days effort so far but Etienne wanted to try it. A shame he didn’t took his axe ready after jamming part as it costed a free ascent but anyway now we had a rope there and we could bivy.

Petite Col and only one pitch and rappel to the bivy place.
Upper crux is 6b boulder problem.

Ledge fit two people but just. It felt like I was sliding towards Chamonix all night and Etienne dropped hot water to his sleeping bag not to make a night too comfortable.

Happy to spend a night on the wall. Not so happy an hour later.

Morning came like always and we jugged up the ropes in a dark. Two more pitches led to the lean north couloir which we followed for 30 meters and exited to the rising traverse on the proper north face of the Grand Dru. First of these traverse pitches was horrible with bad protection and rock. I tried not to knock off any rocks as they would fall straight to the couloir where Etienne was belaying. Reminded me from “Traverse of the Gods”.

Etienne in the north couloir. See our tracks on the right.
Traverse of the gravel!

Then it was only two long simul sections to the summit of the Grand Dru. Clock was 11:00 when I stood top of the summit gendarme. Air was spring like!

Without wasting time we rapped the north couloir and passed the german team on the way. We reached our skis at 14:00 and skied to the Poubelle which wasn’t the easiest way off with skis and climbing gear on your back. Slush for hours!

Summit of the Grand Dru.
Vallee Blanche and probably hundreds of skiers doing it.
Rapping off. Mainly from rock anchors.

Eventually we reached Argentiere and safety of the valley. How nice spring adventure we had! Voie Lesueur was far better and a bit easier than I thought but anyway a magnificent way to climb the north face of the Drus. Route is certainly doable in a day with light pack and early start but with a bivy there’s more adventure.

It was my first route on Les Drus but not the last. There’s few other lines I’d like to try some day.

Fossilfossen in Fossildalen, Svalbard.

October was supposed to be a working month in Finland but after all I flew to Longyearbyen to see my girlfriend who is studying to become a Arctic Nature Guide. Of course I took my ice climbing gear with me as winter was sneaking in early this year in the north. Temperatures sawed above and below freezing which promised good conditions for ice climbing. However the main thing was to live with Ella and help with a household.

In late September ANG students did their classic hike to Barentsburg and back. On that hike Ella spotted an icefall in Fossildalen which looked quite technical and steep in the pictures. Respectable finding as she had not climbed any ice earlier. At least it took me a while to see if something is worth of going.

You can see the icefall in the steep part of the valley.

It took some time to figure out the best way to approach the icefall. Fossildalen is situated in between of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg which means at least on day hike from either direction. Speed boat option was out of question due to late timing and there wasn´t snow for snowmobiles which would be the easiest way to reach the icefall. Luckily Max suggested a walk from Barentsburg.

October beauty!

We took a tourist cruise to that old Soviet time mining town, drove to the end of the road with “taxi” and hiked three hours to the Traveller´s cabin near Kapp Laila. We just maneged to reach the hut before darkness. Following morning we walked to the mouth of Fossildalen, left all camping gear under some stones and followed riverbed up to the icefall. Canyon was narrow and rockfall danger was there all the time. Nothing big came down but fist size stones were big enough to keep helmets on.

Icefall looked easier than a month ago. It was still running with water! I climbed first 30 meters to a good ledge and belayed Ella up. This was her first time on waterfall ice which made me quite proud. Of course some swearing because I forgot to give technical advice before climbing. Upsss!

Ella seconding.

We both did the remaining five or so meters and rapped off from a V-thread. This was probably the first ascent of “Fossilfossen”, WI4, 35 meters. Ice quality was superb. I hope it becomes a classic early season trip for local climbers or a must do winter trip with snowmobiles. It´s worth it.

That evening we hiked to the Rusanov cabin on the other side of Colesbukta. Not as cozy as Kapp Laila hut but still a good place to stay to avoid bringing a tent.

Third and last day took us over the platteus to Bjørndalen in a full on blizzard. Quite an adventure!

Fossilfossen marked with X.
Fossilfossen, WI4, 35m. FA? Juho Knuuttila and Ella Hellberg, 10/2018.


Early season ice trip:

Day 1: Boat to Barentsburg. Pay for the locals to drive you to the end of the road (to a place called skihouse). Walk three hours and 12km to the Traveller´s cabin.

Day 2: Walk 1,5h to the mouth of Fossildalen. Follow the riverbed for one hour. Climb “Fossilfossen” and hike back to the shore and continue to the Rusanov cabin. Whole day took 9 hours for us.

Day 3: Walk to Bjørndalen in 7 hours. Call someone to pick you up.

Fossildalen clearly visible.
Ella enjoying life.
Walking was mainly very easy.
Sediment canyon and lot of rockfall.
Juho leading.



Northern Norway and Thanatos

In July 2018 I and Antti Liukkonen drove up to Northern Norway to the arctic island of Kvaløya. Main plans was to climb “Thanatos”, the big 7a hand crack at Baugen and after that enjoy more classics area has to offer. We did three routes at Baugen´s beautiful 250m south face: “Flygende Hollender”, “Silhuetten” and “Thanatos”. On-sighting the main goal was a small dream come true and gave some confidence for the future.

From Kvaløya we went to Lofoten for a few days to tick some more classics like Presten. Weather was enjoyable but I got pneumonia and was forced to rest last days of the trip. Antti managed to do some more climbing though.

Nice two weeks up in the north! I won`t write anything bigger, so here´s some pictures to get idea what we did.



Road side parking at Kvaløya. Hike begins here.
Sweaty hike to the hut. Five days worth of food and gear.
Perfectly situated hut as Baugen´s south face is only 10 minutes walk away.
Antti approaching. Hut is visible in the background.
Warm up route was “Flygende Hollender”. Quite hard 6b! Antti climbing the first easy pitch.
We basicly climbed in a cloud all day.
Nice climbing pitch after pitch.
Antti climbing fifth pitch.
Luckily top of the Baugen was free of clouds.
Baugen rocks!
Rappelling off was quite simple with bolted stations.
Antti relaxing the evening before Thanatos. Of course to keep psyche high and stoke alive we read The Push.
And so went for Thanatos. Juho climbing fourth pitch which was wet. Picture by Suvi R.
Antti red pointing the crux pitch as he followed it last year. I managed to on-sight it few moments earlier. But just.
Big terrain on Thanatos. The best crack pitch I´ve done so far. Picture by Suvi R.
Liisa and Suvi nearing the hut after a day of sending.
Our last route on Baugen was Silhueten, 6b. Few nice parts, but nothing compared to Thanatos and Flygene Hollender.


Antti on superbly fun Vårkåt, N7. Three pitches of nice climbing.
Antti top of the Vårkåt.
The main event of the Lofoten part. The Presten.
We did the Direct Vestpillaren with original avslutning, N7. Crux corner was nice even in the baltic winds.
In the end I got pneumonia which stopped my climbing plans rest of the trip. Antti teamed up with Max Miner to tick few more classics before long drive back home.


Patagonia 2017 – Exocet and Cerro Piergiorgio

Pointy granite towers, powerfull storms, loads of walking and alpine trickery! I and Sami Modenius spent five weeks in funky El Chalten at the begining of Austral summer. Period between mid November and Christmas set out to be only possible time to go this year as in January other mandatory things keep me in Finland.

Early season means less people and more ice and mixed objectives which felt great after so much rock climbing in summer. Though, we were hoping to do both! Trip was my first and Sami´s second to the area.

We arrived to El Chalten on 17th of November. After one restday we headed to the base of Supercanaleta in 6,5 hours from Rio Electrico’s bridge. Approach conditions were superb and route looked to be in also. Unfortunately winds were stronger than expected. Night in a small bivy tent on Glaciar Fitz Roy Norte was one of the windiest I have experienced with flying stones making holes to tent fabric and fear of poles snapping. The following day we ran back to valley. Aguja Guillaumet would have been doable that day, but were too late to hike up to Paso Guillaumet.

Few days later we hiked to Niponino with rather heavy loads. Roar of the wind head of the Torre valley made even hiking look a bad idea. It wasn´t that awful but not pleasant either. That night 10cm of wet snow fell to Niponino making night´s approach to Col Standhardt harder. We climbed 1,5 pitches of Exocet before bailing. Sami was feeling cold and not super stoked about getting spindrifted in the chimney due to strong western wind. So I down climbed to the block and we rapped off.

Sami down climbing off from Col Standhardt.


Exocet, Aguja Standhardt

Line of the Exocet.

Aguja Standhardt`s world famous ice chimney is the easiest route to the summit of the easiest of the Torres. Bridwell did the first ascent in 1988 with his companions. Later on climb has gained popularity as  one the best alpine ice climbs in the world.

We managed to climb it in 1st of December in a brilliant weather window, which was almost too good to climb Exocet but after two bails we wanted to summit something before attempting bigger lines. Naive to think that window as good as that was would happen again during our trip. Now I know.

We hiked to Niponino day earlier and used afternoon bouldering and sorting gear. At midnight we climbed up to Col Standhardt in 3h and 40 min from Niponino. Sami led first slabby mixed pitches and easy snow traverses to the base of the first ice pitch.

Hike to Niponino.
Our camp at Niponino.
Slaby mixed on Exocet.
Easy snow traverses.

My lead block started here. First pitch was WI4 this year with already quite steep formations. During this pitch and first chimney pitch we had to wait very slow team from Argentina as they were climbing above us. It took three hours before they rapped off. By this time chimney started run with water. Day was cold and slightly cloudy luckily. I think pitches went this time like WI4+, WI5+, WI5 and WI4 with a stiff grading. All in all it was steeper than I expected and as a first ice climb of the season – a bit pumpy.

Team Argentina in the chimney.
Sami coming up the crux ice pitch.
Slab leading to the summit slopes.

At col sun dried our wet clothes quickly. Easy slab and snow field led to base of the summit mushroom which Sami climbed easily to the top. Views were superb!

Rapping down and hike back to Niponino went easily and by the time it was getting dark again we reached our camp. Probably the most fun day of alpine climbing ever! We would have been hours faster without waiting but in that case, day would have been too perfect.

Summit mushroom!
On the summit of Aguja Standhardt.
WOW! Cerro Torre, Torre Egger and Punta Herron.


Cara Este, Cerro Piergiorgio, second ascent


Cara Este, Cerro Piergiorgio

One day weather window happened on 12th of December. Hike in the day before was rainy and full of bad luck as wind destroyed Sami´s sunglasses forcing him to hike back to El Chalten. I teamed up with Canadian Quentin Roberts at Niponino as we thought climbing together would be better than soloing on our own.

At 5am we started walking to the base of Cerro Piergiorgio. Dry glacier and Boquette de Piergiorgio´s icefall went fast as actually whole approach. Snow was rock hard and we cruised past of the many seracs that hang above the approach.

Speedy approach to the base of the wall.

We simul soloed to the base of the first proper pitch which I climbed as 50m M5. Chamonix style mixed! Quentin freed the next aid pitch by climbing a chimney on the left(35m, M6 R/X). We left three pitons which is unfortunate as the line is already full of ugly pins. Probably due to my inexperince to hack them off. But actually now free variation is more enjoyable as you can clip the pins. Quentin also led the third and last of the chimney freed by Sim and Griffith in 2010 as M7. Now it was max M6 but conditions make diffirence.

Simul soloing snow slopes.
Quentin climbing second proper pitch. Aid line goes on the right.
Third mixed pitch Sim-Griffith climbed as M7. Now a way easier.

We simul climbed an ice ramp and did one mixed pitch to the ridge. Short rappel led to the summit chimney which I climbed with some cursing. We would have been able to avoid the rappel by climbing ice smears straight under the summit!!

Simul climbing tha hanging ice ramp.

Colin Haley and Rolando Garibotti did first ascent of the peak in 2014. This was only second ascent of the peak which is crazy! One of the main peaks of the massif. We rapped off from a #1 cam due to lack of ice and other features. Rest of the descent back to Niponino went without problems. Return trip took a bit more than 17 hours. Not bad.

On the summit of Cerro Piergiorgio.
Expensive rappel off the summit.

Line is a good option when winds come from N or NW! Enjoyable mixed!


post is named after Mont Blanc granite topo series cool way to describe sectors with a hastag. #agranitemust is used describing the climbing on the Pilier Rouge de Blaitiere

This summer in Chamonix I teamed up with a German climber Till. He has a long background in rock climbing and I’m coming more from a alpine climbing side, so we thought that would make a good team. Our eyes were set to the three of the biggest summer routes in the Mont Blanc massif. For the days off we had planned three shorther, but stellar granite routes here and there. Weather proved to be the most unsettled I’ve seen during the four weeks we had. Constant high winds, thunderstorms etc. It was so unpredictable and strange that we never had a two days of good weather in a row. Of course mountains are also super dry at the moment, which definitely makes you to stay away from majority of the routes on the list.

Big alpine stuff being out of the question we went for the routes lower down. Three “must do” routes for a climber searching the diamonds of granite crack climbing: “Fidel Fiasco”, “Sale Athée” and “État de Choc”.

Here is story from the routes with little info in between!

Fidel Fiasco, 350m, 6c+

Mr. Piola and his wild 80’s slab gradings haunt many of the climbers in the massif. I probably help to keep up this legend with writing this, despite thinking a bit difirently. For example asking about the Fidel Fiasco from teams who have done it, everyone seems to wonder how hard it is for the grade, including some of the leading climbers in the world.

In my opinion the route is not hard for the grade or run-out at all if you know how to climb. People coming from the world of overhanging, qym style jug pulling where you need just power and nothing else, might feel technical friction climbing hard. Come out from the caves! Till, a friend of Spain pain caves were able do the route withouth problems. PS. A route called “Echec et Marx” proved that Piola slabs can be hard…

Fidel Fiasco on the Grey Pillar.

Well, to the route then. It follows a genius line of cracks and slabs on the grey pillar of the Blaitiere. Approach is a bit more than an hour from a Plan d’Aiguille and at least this year you don’t need other than sneakers for the feet. Walking pole might come handy though.

After passing the mandatory scree ledges at the start I started leading the first proper (6b) pitch. Friction was good and it wasn’t too cold which might be the case there often. West face can feel super cold at times. Pick a warm day!

Without describing every pitch I just say that climbing is superb until the last three pitches. Then it got more unpleasant in my mind with a hanging belay and a bit dirty/wet crack.

We topped the route with harder finger crack variation and abbed down to catch a clock five lift back down to valley. Especially Till felt excited that everything went on-sight. 😉

PS. Buy a new Mont Blanc granite Volmume 2 for the best topo. It covers the whole Chamonix side of the Aiguilles.

P2 climbs a slippery crack.
P4 (6c+) is a three star diamond.
Till on P5 (6b+).
Till cat-walking on the 6c slab.
Summit of the Grey Pillar.
Wild views on this route. Aiguille du Plan´s N face with fast melting glaciers.


État de Choc, 7a

Petit Clocher du Portalet is said to be one of the finest walls in the massif with it’s off widths, overhanging finger cracks and Yosemite style climbing. The face itself is just a bit more than 200m high, but climbing is good! We wanted to go to have an shock treatment on the wild État de Choc. Windy conditions on the high peaks offered us a perfect window to visit this Swiss paradise.

Etat de Choc follows the dihedral.

Early morning drive to Champex, first lift of the morning (La Breya) and scenic 2 hour walk to the base of the face started the day. Crossing two couloirs before the face has a stone fall danger, so be quick. There has been a big rock fall this summer, so boulders can be still unstable.

Steep face loomed above when we did two ledgy approach pitches. Third one kicked the day in fire then: lazer cut granite with knee drops. Slippery feet on that pitch due to slick granite.

We left our pack under the pitch 4 and headed to the deep and steep dihedral which led to the base of the famous off width. Till got the lead and off he went. Battling up the wide crack wasn’t actually that tricky until the very last moves.

I led pitch 6 of perfect jams and build an hanging belay under the obvious roof. There would have been a bolt belay behind the corner on the right, but didn’t know that. Till traversed the roof after taking a smashing whipper on the first deadpoint try. Moves were definitely tricky and I think we kind of did diffirent variation.

I went for the last hard pitch and found nice moves in the end. Crack climbing turned to a full on sport fest. Very nice!

Short grade 4 finished the route. I was once again happy that the whole route went on-sight/flash. We abbed the Ave Ceasar and returned back to the bivy place.

Adventurous route on jammed blocks and flakes. Steep and physical climbing. Before you go, learn to jam!

Till balancing on a techy P3 (6b+).
Team Belgium on the P4 (6c).
Tim gunning the monster crack on P5 (7a).
Juho jamming on P6 (6c).
P7 (7a): Till just before the whipper. We traversed the roof to the right.
Juho on the last hard pitch.
Our bivy place with Petit Clocher in the back.




Sale Athée, 7a+ (8a)

I first heard about Sale Athée when Tatu Autio mentioned it in 2016. I thought it’s just a one route with anothers and didn’t think about it too much. Why to walk up to Charpoua side of the Mer de Glace for ten pitches of climbing when you can do the same much closer? Though, I googled the route in winter and found stunning images of perfect cracks. I really shoul do that!

Stoke got higher as everyone else seemed to be interested about the route this summer also. Image captions telling how amazing the route is.

Sale Athee!

We took the first train up to Montenvers and walked 3 hours to the base of the route at mid-July. New approach path to the Charpoua is still more like a grass slope than a path, so last night’s rains made the walk a slippery one.

Also, the last 30min scramble to the base adds some adventure factor. Cross the snowy couloir and climb few meters on unprotected slabs (with good holds) to the fixed rope. After that just follow cairns and the easiest looking way up.

Cold western wind blowed as racked for the first two approach pitches of 6a’ish climbing. Clouds were coming and going. At least the friction would be good. Till set of first and I continued to a big scree ledge after that.

As I had most of the rack still, I started up the third pitch too. Scetchy pro behind flakes didn’t power up my confidence when doing thin slab moves few meters above the gear. I got lucky due to fact that Till got the fourth pitch, which begins with a big chimney flake. Not nice at all. But at this point we were warmed up and climbing got only better pitch by pitch.

Fifth rope lenght was slightly wet and I had to do a desperate deadpoint to a crimp to climb it clean. Somehow it worked. I arrived to a nice belay ledge under the money pitch of the route: 40m hand crack. I had tried to sneak this pitch to myself but after I led two pitches back to back lower down my tactic didn’t work.

Till started up and soon fought against the pump. Some sentences during the lead: “Put your hands and feet into the crack!” “But it hurts!” “This is crack climbing…”. The pitch definitely felt 7a+ for Till with some rest on gear, but as I had done only crack climbing in Finland I cruised it casually up. No more than 6b+.

Next pitches followed up spectacular finger cracks near the gendarmes left, sharp’ish edge. Situation was outstanding. I slipped on a pitch 8 while seconding making dreams of a on-sight ascent flying away quickly. Got my head together for the pitch 9 (7a) and even managed to do it despite of a rope drag. Sideway jam traverse ends to a delicate moves just before the stand.

Last pitch is supposed to be 7b/A0 or 8a. Thin slab climbing ending to a stopper move. We have heard about the chimney variation which would make more sense as all the pitches below are following cracks rather than face climbing parts. We never figured out the way of the variation and ended to a place which was like house of cards ready rumble down. Anyway reached the summit after some cursing. Make sure you follow the line of the bolts rather than venturing around.

Abbing the line went quickly and long walk back to the Chamonix through a moody and dark Mer de Glace finished the day. Probably the best rock route I’ve done!

Two 6a approach pitches led to the ledge.
Till seconding slabs and flakes on P3 (6b+).
P4 (6c) is a huge flake followed by a crack.
Till following P5 (6c+).
The money pitch – 40m hand crack. Probably 6b+ not 7a+.
Very varied pitch 7 (6c) with a finger crack, undercut traverse etc.
Mind blowing pith 8 (6c). This is the one where I slipped. Just after the bolt.
Till follows on P9 (7a). Hand jam traverse and crimping.
Top of the Gendarme.

Alaska 2017: Mt. Hunter´s Grison-Tedeschi and Denali

I´ve just returned to Finland after spending 40 days in the Central Alaska Range with Juha Sillanpää. We got really lucky with the weather during our first weeks in the range and we managed to do the 6th ascent of the Grison-Tedeschi (aka French route) on the North Buttress of the Mt. Hunter (4442m). Our luck turned on Denali though. I summited “the great one” in 7h 50 min round-trip from the Basin Camp (4300m) via the West Buttress on the 4th of June, but bronchitis stopped Juha. His high point on the West Buttress was 5800m. Plans for the Slovak Direct, which was our main objective, failed that´s why. Weather didn´t co-operate either. I´d say we had 50 percent success which is pretty good for the first trip in the area. Anyway, I´m going back for the Slovak for sure!

Juha at Kahiltna BC and Mt. Hunter´s N buttress looming in the background.



Mt. Hunter, Grison-Tedeschi

Mt. Hunter´s N buttress stands silently near the Kahiltna BC in middle of the Alaska Range. Face looks brilliant mixed-and ice climbing wise and it´s no wonder that it still attracts several teams per year. It has many famous routes on it like Bibler-Klewin, Wall of Shadows and Deprivation, but for many, Grison-Tedeschi is the most logical and committing line. Yves Tedeschi and Benois Grison did the FA in 1984 and it remained unrepeated 23 years until Andy Houseman and Jon Bracey did the second ascent in 2007. Two Slovaks did the third ascent and Colin Haley and Bjorn Eivind-Årtun did the forth in 2009. Kurt Ross and J.D. Merritt did the fifth in 2015. We wanted to try the Grison-Tedeschi because there were too many teams on the Bibler-Klewin. We had come to Alaska to get a bigger adventure and experience than in the Alps and following others tracks wasn´t in plans.

Lower part of the Grison-Tedeschi.
Upper part of the Grison-Tedeschi.


Very few teams whom try a route on the N buttress manage to stand on the true summit. Usually teams rappel down from the Cornice bivy, which marks the end of the technical terrain. But Mt. Hunter is not located in the Alps where such a thing as claiming a route climbed without a summit excits. I continue to say again that in alpinism route isn´t finished until you reach the summit. For many it´s hard to understand. Of course there is no “rules”, but come on!

Talkeetna Air Taxi`s talented bush pilot dropped us to the Kahiltna Base Camp (2200m) on 4th of May. We used the next day building “Camp Finland” and on the 6th we climbed the Mini Moonflower to the ridge as first acclimatization climb. Ice was bullet hard and climbing quite boring I have to say. Just 600 meters of basic axe swinging. Views from the upper ridge were great though, but cold wind made us rappel the route without visiting the “summit”.

TAT knows how to do it! @Juha Sillanpää
Juho leading the crux of the Mini Moonflower. @Juha Sillanpää
Juho ski touring at Kahiltna glacier. @Juha Sillanpää

Few snowy days later we did our first attempt on the Grison-Tedeschi, but our going was too slow to go further than 300 meters from the schrund. On the 12th we stood under the face again. Big spindrift avalanche came down the couloir as we racked. Morning sun releases snow from the upper snowfields straight down the route, but we were sure that we are able to climb the couloir before day warms it up too much.  Schrund was easier this time and I led it much quicker. First 300 meters went fast simul-climbing to the start of the couloir proper.

Juho in the couloir. @Juha Sillanpää


Conditions in the couloir were okey. Ice wasn´t too fat but it allowed us to move in steady pace. Usually we did 80 meter pitches, but last two steeper ones we pitched properly. Nice to get pumped on ice after two months break from ice climbing. Backpacks weren´t super light either because we carried light sleeping bags and pads. Occasionally spindrift slushes came down covering our clothes with snow.

Brew stop top of the corniced snow arete, which is the best place to keep a break on the route, went quickly. Spirits were high still due to solid pace. Next ice runnel gave some idea what to expect. Climbing was slow and annoying due to hard ice. Juha led the steep ice pitch through the Black Band and did run out of screws top of it. I finished the pitch climbing glassy thin ice which ended to a next traverse.

Juho leading a steeper pitch in the couloir. @Juha Sillanpää
Juha following around corniced snow arete.

Icefields felt eternal and we reached the headwall at 10pm. Clouds swarmed around us in colors of yellow and orange. Alaskan night was on it´s way. Headwall is a maze of compact rock, thin ice smears and snow mushrooms. The hardest climbing of the route is right there, in the end. I led three tricky mixed pitches through the night. First one was amazing and steep, second one horrible with powder snow top of rock and third one with more rotten ice and steeper climbing. Route finding wasn´t easy but you just have to trust your feelings.

Juha gunning through the Black Band.
Juha enjoys bullet hard ice.
Last picture I took. No photos from the Headwall.


In the morning Juha led two pitches full of mixed boulder problems and then we were out of the maze. After more than 24 hours of climbing we were in need of food and water. We did find a sheltered spot between two blocks where to brew. Wind picked up and it started snowing heavily. Rest of the day Juha dig a snow cave and I stood on a ledge trying to keep my eyes open which wasn´t an easy task.

Next morning we begun climbing at 10am. Without bivy gear and snow cave we wouldn´t have a change to go up, but now, after 24 hours of resting we felt okey again. Day was calm and warm. Just a perfect summit day. We followed Colin´s tracks to the summit. At late afternoon we were top of the Mt. Hunter enjoying views in every direction as far as eye can see. We had two options: to rappel the N buttress via the Bibler-Klewin or descent the West ridge. We went for the later.

Snow cave ready to use!
No tent means snow cave action.

First 1000 meters went without problems. Conditions were good enough for fast walking and we admired the beauty of the range. Alpenglow made the evening one of the most beautiful ever. At the begining of the Ramen couloir things started go in wrong direction. I launched an slab avalanche while seeking for ice for the rappels. Luckily Juha belayed from the ridge, but it was too close this time. Night was just horrible because we couldn´t find ice from the lower couloir. Ages of down-soloing brought us to the NE basin.

It wasn´t over yet.  Next task was to find a shortcut to avoid the lower icefall. Rappeling a vertical and very wet couloir brought us to the glacier which was full of crevasses, scree and boulders. It looked almost undoable at first. Terrain was messy and quite nasty to navigate. Finally we did find a suitable way through. Once on the safe zone of the Kahiltna glacier Juha said: “Don’t say you like this shit”. I answered with a grin.

Juho heading to the summit. @Juha Sillanpää
Juho nearing the summit slopes. @Juha Sillanpää
Juha climbing to the last summit ridge.
On the summit of the Mt. Hunter.
Juho enjoys the alpenglow on the West ridge..
Entering to the Ramen couloir.
Juha on the Kahiltna glacier ready to walk back to BC.


Denali, West Buttress

We spend 5 days in Base Camp resting and packing for the Denali. On the 21st of May we set off towards the highest mountain of the continent. Sleds and backpacks were full of food and gear for 5 weeks on the higher ground. After the first hour of pulling we had used every bad word we could figure out. We are climbers, not polar skiers! It took three whiteout days on skis to reach the Motorcycle Hill Camp at 3300 meters. We single carried everything up to there. Weather was just bad and snow generally deep. Of course weather got even worse and we remained stuck at the camp for three days. Then we did our first carry to Basin Camp, spend another day at Motorcycle Hill Camp as 40 cm of new snow fell and then on the 29th we just pushed through the storm to the Basin Camp (4300m) with rest of our gear. Nine days from BC!!

Denali seen from the Mt. Hunter.
Theme of the first week on Denali.
Stuck at 11.000 feet!
Stormy weather at Basin Camp.
Climbers arriving to Basin Camp.
Daily life at Basin Camp.

Since we had already summited Mt. Hunter and spend almost a month at lower elevations we kept only one rest day before heading up the West Buttress to finish acclimatization. On the 31st of May we walked up to High Camp (5200m) with camping gear in 4 hours. Evening was stunning and warm. We had a small climbing tent for the night which proved to be quite tight with all the down gear. After midnight Juha got enough and decided to sleep outside. I stayed in a tent. It was around -25 degrees at night.

Juho on the West Buttress. @Juha Sillanpää
Juha at High Camp.
Views from the High Camp.

After 10am we geared up and headed towards the summit. Our pace was slow but it all want okey enough to the Denali Pass. After that Juha really battled to move forward. At 5800 meters he felt too weak to continue. I was feeling well, but in that moment only sensible thing was to get Juha down safely. I know that first time at altitude can be awful and you don´t know what to expect.

At Basin Camp we had a discussion that we should try to do single push via the West Buttress to be sure we are ready for the Slovak. I wasn´t too keen to waste energy for another go on normal route but went with Juha anyway. On the 3rd of June we attempted again, but at 5000 meters it was clear that everything wasn´t fine. So down we went again. Weather window was closing and I knew that if we can´t finish acclimatization now, it would be over for the Slovak. For a route that hard you need to be healthy, have 110 percent of focus and motivation to make it. It was time to reconsider the plans. In the end Juha got bronchitis and started eating antibiotics.

Second attempt on the 3rd.

Anyway I wanted to do something, so on the 4th of June I packed warm clothes, some energy bars and gels and 1l of water to my pack and begun walking up the West Buttress once again. Starting time was 6:50am. In 5 hours and 15 minutes I reached the summit of Denali. Day was perfect and I didn´t need any of the down clothes. After mandatory pictures descent waited. At 2:40pm I reached the Basin Camp. Round-trip time was 7h 50min. I could have been faster still, but now I just kept the normal pace. Actually the more I do these trips to higher mountains I notice that I really love breathing thinner air and can preform quite well in the altitude. Rarely even in the Alps your pace is 380m/per hour, but now I was above 4300 meters all the time and had spent less than a week above 4000 meters before the summit day.

Football field near the summit.
Juho on the summit of Denali!

After the summit I was getting slightly anxious as possibility to get to the Slovak was minimal. There were 4 other teams planning to have a go on the Slovak too. All I could do was to ask them if I could join, but again, if you have never climbed with them before, the Slovak hardly is the route where to try a new partnership. In the end all of them said no and I understand that well. Idea of  soloing the Cassin ridge was there too, but conditions weren´t good enough for that. Too much snow fell to make soloing a good option. I can´t do it in a day if there´s 50 cm of new snow.

I´m super motivated on these trips and my focus is totally on climbing, so it´s hard to accept the reality that you can´t even try a objective. That´s the name of the game but it happens way too often. Mt. Hunter was nice, but the dream is to climb the Slovak. Nothing else can fulfill that. If you have to stay one week longer and skip your flights I´ll gladly do that. That´s the motivation you need to succeed on these things. Maybe you need a bit of luck too. This year only Luca Moroni and David Bacci had the stoke and will power to pull it down. My greatest respect to them!

Maybe in the end I learn that 4 week work camp on Denali happened in purpose. At least we were able to spend time in the mountains that we love so much. Alaska Range is a spectacular place!







Jottnar and Vent du Dragon


I wrote this last October, but got it out just now.

Mixed climbing around Chamonix this Autumn seems to be slightly desperate. Very dry conditions everywhere I’d say. Although, here and there, one can find lines in okey nick. It’s getting colder and even if we get more snow, it won’t stick to higher faces that well.

We went to see Jorasses on Tuesday and it looked quite horrible. Black ice, powder on slabs, too thin.. But it’s always possible to climb something. Short routes on the N face of the Midi are good options when bigger faces look too daunting.

Ambiance! @Till No.


Shit route

This was one of lines I wasn’t looking forward to climb, but somehow I found myself standing below it with Tim Oliver just after the big four day storm. Deep snow was theme of the day.

The line climbs obvious couloir below the toilets of the Midi and it’s not difficult to figure out where the name comes from. Only three easy pitches lead to the terrace of the Midi. Probably the best part of the route is the free hanging rappel off the bridge.

Tim won rock, paper, sicors and got the first pitch which was basicly just deep snow, but it took ages to climb. I led the second one with some fresh ice in the back of the gully. Third pitch was steeper, but not too hard. Special shower of something liquid coming from the toilet made me climb faster though.

Shit route is doable without ice. Tim climbing.


Few days later I teamed up with German Till No. This time we aimed for the Jottnar. Two Brits did the FA in 2013 and graded it Scottish VII, 8. Since, it has become “must do” route for the climbers looking for something more challenging on the Midi’s N face.

First two pitches are basicly the approach, but offer nice mixed moves here and there. Third pitch is the crux and definitely looked more interesting. Till was climbing with tools first time after 1,5 years, so I got the lead. I quickly climbed to the the blank rock face splited by a single crack. Proper dry tooling ahead. Without thinking too much I headed upwards. Most of the time I was able to climb with bare hands, but also few agressive torgues were required too. Feet were crystals which made going pumpy. After one delicate move to the left it should have been over, but I was suprised by the difficulty of the remaining part. Bad hooks under 40cm of new snow. The pitch is graded M6+ or M7 in some more gentle forums. I’d say it’s M6+, but no more.

Till arrived to the stand pumped as well. Without wasting time I took the lead for the fourth pitch too. Stunning corner with ice in the back wasn’t hard. Mostly very enjoyable (M5+) climbing with good pro. Ice was quite old though.

An excellent route and super fun to climb with Till!

Till on the easiest pitch.
Juho going for the crux. It went free.
Juho on the last pitch.


Vent du Dragon

Finnish photographer Aleksi Mehtonen arrived for the few weeks of alpine action in late September. After bailing from a Chardonnet we managed to climb Vent du Dragon, first alpine mixed route for Aleksi. Such a great day in the depths of the Midi.

Again two snowy approach pitches were followed by the real thing (two M5 pitches). Conditions were challenging, but we managed to enjoy the route!

The approach.
Aleksi leading.
Juho found some ice. @Aleksi Mehtonen.

Freney link-up // Ratti-Vitali and Gervasutti

Mont Blanc seen from the the summit of the Noire. Gugliermina in the front.

Big plan for the summer months in the Alps was to attempt the Super Integrale de Peuterey. Massive link-up of three big alpine rock climbing routes on the south side of the Mont Blanc. Excursion was first climbed by Casarotto in winter 1982 during 15 crueling days: Ratti-Vitali on the W face Aiguille Noire de Peuterey, SW face of Pointe Gugliermina via Boccalatte-Gervasutti and legendary Freney central pillar on the Blanc`s S face. It has not been repeated too many times in summer, or at least we couldn`t find information about it. Though, I think there´s several black horses in the area whom have done it, but don´t want to tell about it.

Again, Tim Oliver was faster to write, so you can find his detailed blog here! I try to keep it very short.

Day one: Bus from Chamonix to the Val Veny and approach to the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey via Col de la Innominata. We bivied 20 meters above the glacier on a legde on the W face.

Day two: Ratti-Vitali (650m, 6a, A0) up (7,5h) and down (3h).

Day three: Boccalatte-Gervasutti (600m, 6b, A0) to the summit of Pointe Gugliermina. Ridge climb to the Col de Peuterey, where we arrived after dark.

Day four: Descent back to the Val Veny via Ecles bivy huts.

We bailed due to unstable forecast and some other factors. Without doubt our best effort during the summer anyway. Though, if I ever return, it will happen with super light weight tactics. It´s doable in two super long days.

Tim heads towards Col de la Innominata.
Juho and the bivi for two nights. @Tim Oliver
Tim seconding the 6a pitch of Ratti-Vitali.
Aid corner high on the Ratti-Vitali.
Juho on the Freney glacier. @Tim Oliver.
Tim seconding the crux pitch of the Gervasutti-Boccalatte.
Old-school 5c with a heavy pack is hard. Tim going strong!
Nearing the summit of Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey. @Tim Oliver.
Tim front of the wild S face of the Monte Bianco!