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Martina Cufar during the third ascent of Arête Cosmiques, Mont Blanc
Photo by archivio Martina Cufar
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New sports climb on Grande Gendarme, Arête des Cosmiques, Mont Blanc


On 16 July 2013 Nicolas Potard and Victor Estrangin made the first and second ascent of Arête Cosmiques 8a, a new route on the Grande Gendarme, Arête des Cosmiques, Mont Blanc.

In mid-July French climbers Nicolas Potard and Victor Estrangin made the first ascent of Arête Cosmiques, the striking arête on the Grande Gendarme monolith on Arête des Cosmiques, Mont Blanc. The new route - almost identical in name but completely different in style - climbs the pristine granite arête to the right of Digital crack, the granite 8a/+ first climbed by Thierry Renault and Alain Ghersen and famous for being one of the hardest routes at altitude in Europe since it is located at circa 3800m.

The new route is bolt-protected, weighs in at circa 8a and was also repeated on 21 July by Martina Cufar, Lead World Champion 2001, Potard's wife and mother of their little boy Tommy. The ace Slovenian climber stated "I took me quite some attempts to finally do it! I was breathless, empty but happy on the top! It really felt much harder to me than Digital crack on it's left. At 3800m 8a feels like 8b! A few days later I climbed an 8b in the valley and found this a lot easier, far less of a fight than 8a up on Mont Blanc!

There may well be more new routing in store: Potard has his sights set on another line to the left of Digital Crack, as well as a variation to Les Intouchables on Trident du Tacul. Weather conditions and baby sitter permitting...





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