Three North Face sponsored climbers opened a new route on one of Europe’s most iconic mountains earlier this month. The team, which, consists of Italian Hervé Barmasse and Spaniards Iker and Eneko Pou, free climbed the southern Italian face of Mount Blanc, naming their new route La Classica Moderna as an homage to Walter Bonatti, who pioneered many routes in the Alps in the 50’s and 60’s.
Carrying only essential gear, the three men attempted a true alpine style ascent. Their approach to the mountain was hampered by knee-deep snow, but once on the face they were able to make steady progress, despite cold weather. The team worked the new route for three days, finally completing it on August 1st, after a 3300 meter (10,826 ft) vertical gain. Upon reaching the summit, the men descended on the French side of the mountain, eventually arriving in the classic mountain-town of Chamonix.
At 4808 meters (15,774 ft) in height, Mount Blanc is the tallest peak in Western Europe. The peak has been a popular climbing destination for more than 200 year, and has long been a proving grounds for alpine climbers. In fact, the mountain was first summited in 1786, which many climbing historians point to as the genesis of modern mountaineering, and it remains a formidable challenge to this day.
This newest route on Mount Blanc was completed as part of the Exploring The Alps expedition, which looks to be a trilogy of great climbs in the region. Back in April, Barmasse opened a new solo route on the Matterhorn (4478 meters/14,691 ft), and next the team will set its sights on Mount Rosa, the highest peak in Switzerland at 4634 meters (15,203 feet).
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