Two Swiss climbers landed a small plane less than 400 metres from the summit of Mont Blanc with intentions on climbing the peak before being intercepted by police. They landed at 4,450 metres in a non-landing zone on the famous peak.
The Chamonix mayor, Eric Fournier, said “It constitutes an intolerable attack on the high mountain environment and on all existing protective measures,” and said it was “unprecedented.”
Police saw the plane on the east face, Lieutenant Colonel Stephane Bozon, who heads the gendarmerie’s mountain rescue service in Chamonix, told the media. The climbers were allowed to take off. Bozon said they were reflecting on what offence had been committed.
Climbers heading up Mont Blanc without having booked a room booked in one of the huts could face two years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
Officials said “huge visitor numbers” on the peak had led to concerns over “sanitary risks” like water availability and waste disposal problems, and safety. The ban came into effect on June 1 and will remain in place throughout the busy summer according to a decree signed by France’s Haute-Savoie prefecture.
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe west of the Caucasus peaks of Russia and Georgia at 4,808 metres. There are a number of moderate routes to the summit, but there are also a number of serious alpine lines like the Gervasuti Pillar on Mont Blanc du Tacul.
Seb Bouin has made the second ascent of Adam Ondra’s Move 5.15b/c in the Flatanger cave in Norway. Bouin has now climbed 13 routes at 5.15a or harder, making him one of the best sport climbers.
Bouin belayed Ondra on the first ascent in 2013 and started working the steep climb in 2016. “I have to be a bit crazy to believe success is possible after such a long time in the route but finally it’s done,” said Bouin. “Move is one of the hardest route in the world, but that was not my first motivation. I chose this route because it’s a mega line, it’s hard and beautiful, and I was inspired.”
Bouin also commented on the grade and said, “About the grade. It’s the hardest route I’ve climbed, but I have no experience in 5.15c grades. So It could be easy 5.15c (Adam was thinking 5.15c but said 5.15b/c because this route or super hard 5.15b. I think the 5.15b/c grade could be the good one. Now it’s time to…. check another project. The one to the right looks like a good one. It’s called Silence.” Watch Bouin project Move below.
Most people learn to climb on vertical walls. Beginners are given lots of great advice about keeping your centre of gravity over your hips, your hips close to the wall, standing on your feet and pushing with your legs more than pulling your arms. However, a lot of this advice doesn’t apply when climbing on steeper terrain and you might feel like a beginner all over again when you get on that roof problem or try that new route on the overhanging wall. Below are ten techniques to help you tackle the steep stuff.
1. Straight Arms
The most energy efficient way to climb on steep walls is to keep your arms straight in between cranking. Of course you need to engage and bend your arms to make moves but your back and shoulders are stronger than your arms so give them a reprieve when you can. With decent holds, hanging off a straight arm can be a chance to rest.
Janja Garnbret at the Kranj Lead WC. Photo courtesy of IFSC, 2018.
2. Knee Drop
Press on one foot and turn your knee inward and down. Twist your body away from the dropped knee and toward the other foot, which is pressing down/out in opposition. This is a static, controlled movement that lengthens your reach on the side of your knee drop, while also keeping your feet on the wall. Also known as a Drop Knee or an Egyptian.
Alex in Hueco’s Martini Cave. Photo by Migüel Jetté, 2012.
3. Knee Bar
A position in which opposite forces on your foot and your knee create a shin-length “bar” between two holds.
Place the foot first and then wedge your knee behind a hold and weight it. Rock with lots of naturally protruding features (e.g., tufas and huecos), like the rock at Maple Canyon, Rifle and Heuco Tanks in the U.S., provides many opportunities for good knee bars. If the length from knee to ankle – your “shin-dex” – is just the right length for the space, you can get a very decent rest with a knee bar or two (i.e., a double knee bar).
Dom Poulihot doing a knee bar on Fern Roof V8/9 in Hueco Tanks, TX. Photo by Migüel Jetté, 2012.
Pulling the top of your foot toward you, in a flexing motion, on the underside of a hold, around the corner of a wall, or any surface you can use to create tension and keep your foot from falling off the wall. This move takes some practice learning how to engage the shin muscles (tibialis anterior), but once you get proficient at toe-hooking, you’ll find more and more of them.
Sierra Blair-Coyle at the Hamilton Bouldering WC. Photo by Migüel Jetté, 2014.
Toe-ing down with one foot on top of a foothold while simultaneously toe-hooking with the other foot on the same hold. Another great technique for keeping your feet on the wall using compression between your two feet.
Guillaume Mondet, Hamilton Bouldering WC. Photo by Migüel Jetté, 2014.
Kranj Lead WC. Photo courtesy of IFSC, 2018.
Pulling with your heel on a foothold, rather than pushing with your toe.
The most common use of the heel hook on steep terrain is placing your heel on a hold or directly over the lip of a roof – “hooking” it on the edge, so to speak. You can use the heel hook to traverse sideways along the lip of a boulder or to help you get up and over the top of a steep boulder. One can also use heel hooks anywhere on the wall if the good part of the foothold is facing sideways and you can’t weight it from above but you can pull your foot toward you with your heel. Much like the toe-hook, you need to learn to engage your hamstring and calf muscles. When you get good at heel hooks, you can find all sorts of footholds that didn’t exist for you before.
Rustam Gelmanov, Hamilton Bouldering WC. Photo by Migüel Jetté, 2014.
Bonnie de Bruijn on The Mechanic V5 in Yosemite. Photo by Migüel Jetté, 2012.
The series of moves used to transition from being underneath a protruding part of the rock, to being on top of it.
The transition usually requires a combination of pulling on your heel, which is initially over your head on the “lip” of the roof/mantle, pulling with your arms with some momentum to get yourself high enough to press up with the palm of your hands in order to shift the weight from hanging underneath the roof to being on top of it. In the simplest case, the movement is like climbing out of a pool without a ladder.
Bonnie de Bruijn on Tim’s Sloper Problem V5 in Squamish. Photo by Migüel Jetté, 2009.
8. Figure 4
Lever your leg against your own arm to move upwards.
On steep terrain, in the absence of good footholds, place your leg over top of the opposite arm, which should be secured on a very good handhold (a “jug”). The underside of the knee should be resting on the inside of your elbow. Lever your lower body against your arm to move upwards. Not widely used, but has it’s place in the repertoire of climbing moves.
Shauna Coxsey, Hamilton, 2014. Photo by Migüel Jetté
Moving from one hand hold to another with your feet deliberately off the wall.
Most of the time you want your feet on the wall but sometimes campus moves are more efficient. It is useful when the footholds are so terrible it would take more energy to try and use them, or if there aren’t any footholds to use at all. It is quite an advanced technique requiring a lot of core and upper body strength.
Sean McColl campusing at the Kranj Lead WC. Photo courtesy of IFSC, 2018.
10. Bat Hang
Using two toe-hooks at the same time, at the lip of a roof or on a very big hold.
While it seems like a party trick, it can be a useful technique to keep from cutting loose while roof climbing. For example, go feet first to a hold and hang the double toe-hook and then reach to grab the hold with your hands. Release the feet and turn around. When the hold/edge is good enough, one can let go and hang “like a bat” off of your toes alone. This is more of a party trick…
King Cobra is a new variation to the Cobra Pillar on the east face of Mount Barrill, Ruth Gorge, Alaska. The New Zealand alpine team climbed an eight-pitch variation, the climbers included Dan Joll, Kim Ladiges, Alastair McDowell and John Price.
“Five and six inch wide crack rocketed straight up the proudest part of the prow,” said the trip report. “Kim was in heaven. He led out mega pitches of glorious heel-toes and butterfly jams, as good as anything in Tasmania. It was some of the highest quality climbing any of us had ever encountered in the mountains.”
King Cobra leaves Cobra Pillar at pitch four and regains it at pitch 10. The route has finger cracks, offwidths, chimneys and run-outs between 5.8 and 5.11. “The thought that this might become a real classic spurred us on in our mission. Having climbed in many of the popular granite climbing zones, we genuinely thought this route contained some of the best alpine rock climbing in the world. Where else do you find 15 sustained pitches of 5.10 to 5.11 crack climbing stacked on top of each other, in the mountains, where each one in its own right would be a crag classic?” Full story and topo here.
Brad Gobright has sent Golden Gate VI 5.13a in a 16.5 hour push for his third free route on El Cap this season in a day. Earlier this spring, Gobright sent Muir Wall via The Shaft and El Nino via Pineapple Express.
Gobright’s partner for Golden Gate and Muir Wall was Maison Deschamps, a 20-year-old climber quickly getting a lot of experience in Yosemite. Gobright attempted Golden Gate in 2016 without success.
The cruxes of Golden Gate include the 5.12c downclimb, a 5.13a pitch and the A5 Traverse at 5.12c/d. As the Yosemite season is just starting, there will surely be many more big send news coming from the valley.
A post shared by Jimmy Webb (@jwebxl) on Jun 14, 2019 at 8:12am PDT
Webb’s Hardest Boulders
Creature from the Black Lagoon V16
From Dirt Grows the Flowers V15
Defying Gravity V15
Le Pied à Coulisse V15
Livin’ Large V15
Practice of the Wild V15
Big Island V15
The Game V15
The Next V15
Outer Limits V15
Story of Two Worlds V15
The Understanding V15
Wheel of Life V15
Wheel of Wolvo V15
Peter Croft is one of Canada’s top all-time climbers with a number of important firsts over the past 30 years.
In the book Fifty Favorite Climbs: The Ultimate North American Tick List, Croft listed The Evolution Traverse VI 5.9, a link-up of Mount Mendel, Mount Darwin, Mount Haeckel, Mount Fiske, Mount Warlow and Mount Huxley as one of his favourite climbs in.
In 2000, legendary climber Royal Robbins said the following about Croft: “Peter has been my hero for many years, ever since he came blazing out of nowhere with his stunning free solo ascent of Astroman on Washington Column in Yosemite. Tom Frost and I had made the second ascent of this route, mostly with direct aid in the early sixties.”
Robbins continued: “That one could climb this route without resorting to direct aid was impressive. To do it without a rope was astonishing. But such was Peter’s level of mastery. That it was mastery, and not mere daring was proven by a string of free solos of similar stature, executed to perfection.”
In 2008, Croft and Conrad Anker made the first ascent of Solar Flare, a demanding 5.12 in the Sierras.
He wrote the following about the climb: “I started this route with Eli Stein, climbing a couple of pitches on a semi-rest day. I came back with Kevin Calder and again with Nils Davis, exploring higher. It really came together when Conrad Anker came out to play in late August. Jimmy Chin and Jimmy Surette also came as cameramen to make us feel important, or just self-conscious.
“Fresh from Everest, Conrad immediately showed that wallowing up snow hummocks is excellent training for fingery granite. After a couple of days of exploratory flailing Conrad and I climbed Solar Flare (V 5.12+) with storm clouds moving in, cameras rolling, and me climbing embarrassed in skin-tight long johns (the warmest pants I had).” Watch below.
10 Croft Climbing Highlights
First ascent of Solar Flare 5.12, Incredible Hulk, 2008
First ascent of Venturi Effect 5.12+, High Sierra, 2004
First ascent of the Evolution Traverse, the Sierras, 2000
First one-day link-up of the Nose and Salathé Wall on El Capitan, Yosemite, 1992
First free ascent of Moonlight Buttress 5.12d/13a, 1991
First free ascent of the Shadow 5.13, onsight of crux pitch, 1988
First free solo link-up of Astroman and the Rostrum, 1987
First one-day link-up of the Nose of El Capitan and Half Dome, Yosemite, 1986
First traverse of the Waddington Range, 1985
First free ascent of University Wall 5.12, Squamish, 1982
Polish mountaineer Krzysztof Wielicki has become the 11th climber to be awarded the Piolet d’Or lifetime achievement award. He is the second Polish climber to receive the award. Previous awardees include Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Robert Paragot, Kurt Diemberger, John Roskelley, Chris Bonington, Wojciech Kurtyka, Jeff Lowe and Andrej Štremfelj.
Wielicki was the fifth climber up all 14 8,000-metre peaks and the first to climb Everest, Lhotse and Kangchenjunga in winter. In 1990, he soloed the east face of Dhaulagiri. He made many first ascents, first winter ascents and other bold climbs.
He also became the first climber to climb up and down an 8,000-metre peak in a day with Broad Peak in 22 hours. In 1996, he soloed Nanga Parbat via the Kinshofer route, which he considers his most impressive ascent. He was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 2003 and in 2018, he received the Princess of Asturias Award in the category of Sports. In 2017, the International Astronomical Union approved the name of an asteroid as 123094 Wielicki. Wielicki will receive the award during the Piolet d’Or ceremony from Sept. 19 to 22 at the Ladek Mountain Festival in Poland.
Krzysztof Wielicki wins the prestigious Piolet d'Or Carrière for 2019. - YouTube
Wielicki on 8,000ers
1980: Mount Everest
1984: Broad Peak
1991: Annapurna Massif
1993: Cho Oyu
1995: Gasherbrum II
1995: Gasherbrum I
1996: Nanga Parbat