Rêve Caché, new route on Mont Blanc
On 29/09/08 Enrico Bonino and Paolo Stroppiana made the first ascent of Rêve Caché (700m, 5+ MR 4c) up the east face of Pointe d'Androsace, located in the Combe Maudite, Mont Blanc.
On 29 September 2008 Enrico Bonino and Paolo Stroppiana carried out the first ascent of "Rêve Caché" (5+ MR 4c), a 700 m mixed line up Pointe d'Androsace in Mont Blanc's magnificent Combe Maudite basin. The two Italians scoped the line after climbing the nearby Baxter Jones a few days earlier and, after having verified there was no existing line, climbed the "logical, varied, technical, long and demanding route" and topped out on the Mont Maudit shoulder.
Pointe d'Androsace, Mont Blanc
First ascent: Enrico Bonino, Paolo Stroppiana, 29/09/2008
Grade: 5+ MR 4c
Gear: Normal ice gear, 2 60m ropes, a set of camming devices up to #1 camalot, micro friends useful, a set of nuts, some pegs, slings and kevlar threads, 4 ice screws (2 normal and 2 short).
A logical, varied, technical, long and demanding route. This difficulties can vary considerably depending on the conditions and with its 700m in length it can be regarded as a mini grand course. The first section is a winding couloir with some 70-75-80° steps, before breaking off right to the first difficulties which lead logically to the right-hand goulotte. This is difficult from the outset and continues for 3 pitches up delicate, technical mixed terrain. The route then negotiates a circa 20m high band of rock before continue up a narrow 55°gully to the belay. One more pitch up the slope leads to a reddish rock bastion, and this is climbed direct up the line of weakness to reach a mixed spur. Traverse left and climb, with difficulty, up a pitch shared with "A l'Est, rien de nouveau". After this final pitch up the Kuffner Ridge to reach the shoulder of Mont Maudit.
P1: cross the slope and begschrund, no ideal station so belay on snow;
P2: slope, belay against the spur on the left (camming devices in cracks);
P3-P7: 55° couloir with short 70-75-80° stepped terrain, simul-climbed;
P8: belay where the gully begins to break off right. From here a 45m pitch with two 85-90° walls, conditions depending, lead to the 8th belay (small camming devices right or spikes left);
P9: delicate and difficult mixed pitch, protected by camming devices and nuts. Belay on large boulder to the right 45m;
P10: delicate and difficult mixed pitch, protected by camming devices; at times it may be necessary to climb without axes, 45m, 10th belay on pegs right.
P11: ice and mixed pitch with vertical sections, protected by ice screws and camming devices. At the overhang continue up the obvious line left via classic mixed terrain to the 11th belay on pegs to the right, 60m;
P12: pitch up 20m rock band (depending on conditions this may be difficult mixed terrain) followed by 55° snow to a block with sling to the right, 70m (recommended belay slightly lower with camming devices);
P13: pitch up classic snow and mixed terrain, 60m, belay with camming devices, nuts and white sling beneath red wall at the end of the slope;
P14: rock, 4c , 45m: watch out for loose blocks, follow the line of weakness, belay on spikes;
P15: snow and mixed crest, climb up this knife-edge, then head left to reach the gully, belay here with camming devices.;
P16: traverse across the gully and ascend the steep and delicate terrain to reach the creast and the belay to the left, use spike on the other side of the rigde on the right;
P17: mixed terrain to exit onto the Kuffner ridge and the Maudit shoulder.
Reach Courmayeur (Italy), continue to la Palud and take the cable car to Rifugio Torino.
From Rifugio Torino head to Col Flambeau, descend onto the glacier beneath the North face of Tour Ronde, then continue in to Combe Maudite to reach the start of the route on the wide face of Pointe d'Androsace. The start is located a few meters to the left of the Baxter Jones. Calculate cira 2.00 hours for the approach.
From the Maudit shoulder downclimb and abseil (2-3 abseils equipped with slings) down the steep slopes). After the bergschrund there are two options: the first is to reach the Tacul shoulder and descend down the Normal route to Rif. Cosmiques and l'Aiguille du Midi (and continue on down to Chamonix). Alternatively, descend right (facing the valley) to the first snowy amphitheatre, which leads to a narrow col from where bolt abseils descend "Filo d'Arianna". The end of the abseil is close to the start of Rêve Caché.