|by Erik Svab|
|The Mont Blanc massif is one of the most popular mountaineering destinations in Europe. Queues are not uncommon on some of Mont Blanc's classic climbs, such as those on the Grand Capucin or the Aiguille du Midi which have made mountaineering history.
But some parts of the massif are visited by few climbers and, therefore, still appear untouched.
One of these is the southern valley of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey. Hardly anyone visits this hidden corner situated above Italy's Courmayeur and the Val Veny. Reached by a via ferrata, its only refuge, the Borelli, is a hut with a couple of beds run by a few families and the local Italian Alpine Club. This small valley leads nowhere, or rather, leads "only" to the enormous granite faces that tower above it.
"Nero su Bianco", black on white, is a new route put up by two Italians, Maurizio Oviglia and Erik Svab, on Aiguille Noire de Peuterey's south east face, the Punta Brendel 3.499 m.
Climbed on 23-25 August 2000, the route takes a line up the center of the wall, to the right of via Manera - Meneghin. 940m in length, its 19 pitches up to 7b (6b+ obligatory) are completely bolt free and take natural pro. The only pegs, apart from one on the route, are those on the belays used for the abseil descent.
The route is long and demanding (six pitches up to 60m between 6b+ and 7b) but highly satisfying since it free climbs the natural crack lines up this enormous granite face.
Gear: a set of nuts, two sets of friends up to No. 3, a set of pegs (KB, LA, angle) and two 60m ropes. The abseil descent is equipped with pegs (13 x 60m)
At present there are very few routes on the southern faces of the Aiguille Noire. The massive potential is there waiting to be exploited, in perfect solitude on Mont Blanc's incredible granite walls.
The Aiguille Noire de Peuterey with the Punta Brendel and the new route 'Nero su Bianco'
click to see topo
Climbing 'Nero su Bianco'. These two photographs were taken during the first ascent in August 2000.
photos by Erik Svab and Maurizio Oviglia