04 August 2011
After having opened in April a new route on Picco Muzio - Matterhorn, Hervé Italian climber Barmasse together with Spanish Iker and Eneko Pou, on August 1st, 2011, completed the second of a trilogy of climbs within The North Face® expedition, Exploring The Alps.
Christening the route ‘La Classica Moderna’, The North Face® athletes Hervé Barmasse (ITA) and Iker & Eneko Pou (SPA) free-climbed the Freney side of the Mont Blanc south face, Valle d’Aosta, in full autonomy, without bolts.
Carrying only essential materials in case of unexpected bivouacs on the ascent, the team used basic traditional protection, such as four pitons. Due to weeks of bad weather, the team approached the Brouillard Pillar in knee-deep snow. Upon the first day of sunny weather, 11 pitches were opened on the rock pillar, up to grade 6c on the Brouillard left pillar.
The climb included one night’s stay at Rifugio Monzino (2590m) and one stop at Bivacco Eccles (3850m). One bivouac was established on the top of Mont Blanc on the Courmayeur side (4765m), where temperatures fell to near -10°C.
Accumulating a total vertical gain of 3,300m from the approach to the Creste del Brouillard at the top of Mont Blanc, the team took the descent on the French side of Mont Blanc arriving in Chamonix after a total vertical gain on rock of 380 metres.
In naming the route, Barmasse explained: ‘The ascent resembled the ethics and philosophy of Walter Bonatti who, in 1959, was the first person to climb on the monoliths of this side of Mont Blanc. I would define the style as modern-classic; a style that mirrors those of the pioneers, who, to get back home, had to reach the top of Mont Blanc. Hence the name La Classica Moderna.’
‘The bivouac was fantastic, and the scenery was just stunning. We are very tired, but super happy. It’s a great achievement for all of us,’ stated the elated Pou brothers. Iker and Eneko Pou are the first Spanish climbers to have opened a new route on the south face of the Mont Blanc.
Barmasse and the Pou Brothers’ Mont Blanc ascent is the second of a trilogy of climbs within The North Face® expedition, Exploring The Alps. The project comprises three new routes, up three of the highest mountains in the Alps, in three different ascent styles, with the aim to push the limits of mountaineering in the Alps where alpinism was born.