Le demon du Midì, new route on Punta Grassi, Mont Blanc
E. Bonfanti, E. Bonino, L. Maspes, R. Roetti and P. Stroppiana have completed 'Diretta allo scudo Le demon du Midì', a new route up the ESE Face of Punta Grassi (3095m) at Rochefort, Val Ferret - Mont Blanc.
A group of Italian mountaineers comprised of E. Bonfanti, E. Bonino, L. Maspes, R. Roetti and P. Stroppiana has recently made the first ascent of 'Diretta allo scudo Le demon du Midì' (250m) Rochefort, Val Ferret - Mont Blanc. The route was climbed in three stints and takes the central shield direct with difficulties up to 6c/AE max and 6b obligatory up a wall now called Punta Grassi in memory of one of Italy's strongest and most innovative mountaineers.
Elio Bonfanti recounts: "A description of a route first climbed by Giancarlo Grassi on 13 September 1990 read as follows: "The rocky triangle, clearly visible from the valley below, was climbed on the right along a series of slabs which proved hard to protect. The difficulties are estimated as being V and VI in the first half and III and IV in the upper section; length 300m." The route Grassi had described was the first line up the wall which became known as "Quota 3095m"
Grassi told me about these slabs and their difficulties but in spring 1991 Giancarlo died and the project slipped into oblivion. Our new route takes a direct line up the central shield and we presume that the route is difficult, but the 10mm bolts allow this to be aided at AE. The long walk-in and the isolated environment certainly won't help this route being repeated quickly, but we hope that it is for this reason that people will want to spend a day in one of the forgotten corners of Mont Blanc."
Diretta allo scudo Le demon du Midì
E. Bonfanti, E. Bonino, L. Maspes, R. Roetti, P. Stroppiana.
Altitude: circa 2700m
Beauty: 4 stars
Gear: 14 quickdraws, camming devices up to BD #3, 2 x 60m ropes
Notes: Longitude UTM: 340843, Latitude UTM: 5079138
P1: Magnificent jamming crack, 6a
P2: Climb the bulge right, exit with care to the belay 5b
P3: Fun series of three short corners followed by traverse on arete 6c
P4: The Wall (climbed with aid) 7a/AE
P5: Climb direct up the corner-chimney, then bear left up the ramp around a compact wall before returning right directly below the belay 5a. From here continue right up chossy rock to join up with Via Grassi and reach the summit.
From Courmayeur drive to the Val Ferret. At Planpincieux turn left onto the last small road before the large car park. Follow this for circa 300m to two houses. The road bears left between these; continue for circa 3km to the hamlet at Rochefort. Park here taking care not to create problems for the landowner. Altitude 1650m.
Walk up the obvious track which leads to the aqueduct. Continue behind this into the wood and then a plateau rightwards to a steep valley, heading directly towards Mont rouge di Rochefort (path). Reach the first outcrops and bear left towards the obvious wall. Traverse across the scree beneath the Rochefort glacier to reach the grass rib above the valley. A series of cairns mark the best route upwards, 2.30 from the car, 1200m height gain. Excellent place to bivvy at the foot of the glacier. Gear is normally not necessary for the glacier.
Abseil down the line of ascent except for the final pitch. If you continue up with Via Grassi then descend on foot. The descent down the face which looks onto the Dente del Gigante is complicated and leads to the base of the wall via the glacier.