With some inspiration and a gap in the bad weather we decided to head back up the hill again today, we did some research and found a fairly new route that had been put up on the North face of the Petit Verte, the route looked pretty amazing and the approach was fairly simple so after some planning we headed up and made an attempt on the line.

After an amazing evening drinking wine, eating fine food and mingling with some of the finest alpinist in the world we were inspired to try get back up high and get another route climbed before the end of the trip. We had spent the evening at the poilet D’or awards watching the nominations for this year’s adventurers; I also managed to bump into a friend of mine Sandy Allan who had been nominated along with rick Allan for the recent ascent of the Mazeno ridge on Nanga parbet, an astonishing accomplishment in the alpinism and mountaineering world. We knew we were limited on time and the weather was also looking to worsen in the afternoon so we had to think about the risks we were going to take if we decided to go up again, we did some research and discovered a fairly new route that had only been climbed a few years back, the route was called Pepite and it was a 300m M4 on the north face of the Petit Verte, the approach was simple and once topped out the walk back to safety was simply and short. After some talking and not much thinking we started to pack and get ready for an early start in the morning. We woke early and headed up, we seemed to be the only climbers on the hill, dwarfed and surrounded by the eager skiers heading up for the rush of fun, the weather seemed to be good with good temperatures and bright blue skies, the walk in to the bottom of the route was straight forward and it wasn’t long before we arrived at the approach slope. We geared up and made our way up crossing the bergschrund and arriving at the first stance, Julian wanted me to lead the first pitch as that meant I would be left to lead pitch three which was the crux pitch, I didn’t argue and got straight to it, the climbing was no harder than Scottish 4, it was a 60m ice mixed gulley and the gear was great so it didn’t take too long before I arrived at the first belay, Julian followed on up and joined me. The weather was amazing and all I could think was how happy I was that we decided to head on up today. The second pitch didn’t look too bad from where we were standing so Julian decided to take the lead, the pitch was a nice mixed pitch with some pretty thin ice, he pushed on up before moving out of sight and seemed to be taking some time, after some time I finally got the shout of safe, I stripped the belay and pushed on up, the climbing was awesome, eventually I could see what the hold up was with Julian, he had come to the crux that we were expecting on pitch three, he had gone past the belay and done both pitch 2 and 3 in one push, it looked tough and I was keen to get amongst it, it was tough corner with non-existent ice, the pitch was graded at M4 with ice, it was definitely allot harder than that, I eventually pulled through and managed the delicate roof section to arrive at the belay with Julian, I congratulated him on his lead and he still seem pretty psyched from doing it. The next few pitches were pretty straight forward, the climbing was pretty amazing and the neve was awesome, the axes were sinking in and we were able to move so quickly. We stopped for a short while to have a drink and some food when and all of a sudden a massive avalanche triggered down the North face of the aiguille Verte, we were very concerned as we had recently seen three skiers directly below the area. We waited for the debris to clear and had a good look, there didn’t seem to be any trouble or sign of victims so we pushed on up. I led the last pitch, the climbing wasn’t the best and the rock and snow was very loose, every placement needed allot of care and attention but after some time I eventually topped out at the top of the route, the weather was amazing and feeling was awesome, I set up a good belay and shouted down to Julian to follow on up. He eventually arrived at the top and greeted me with a happy smile, we shook hands and congratulated each other , we then geared up ready for the descent down the west slope back to the Grande montets station, we arrived back at the lift with time to spare, grabbed a bite to eat then head on down, at the half way station there was a massive event going on, a big party to celebrate 50 yrs. of the Grande montet, it was a shame we had to get back down or we could of stayed for a while to celebrate…


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