Voie Petit, Grand Capucin

After my free ascent of „Bellavista“ in the Dolomites, there was still some time for one more alpine project on my wishlist, before the comps would start. For quite some time now, I haven’t been to the great glaciers and mountains aroud Chamonix, so my goal was „Voie Petit“, a 450 meter long route, that ends at the summit of the 3838 meter high Grand Capucin.

When you hear the name of the route you might think it’s a small route, but actually the name comes from Arnaud Petit, who, together with Stéphanie Bodet, made the first ascent about 13 years ago. Alex Huber from Germany freed the route in 2005. Since then not many people were able to free the route.

This time my partner was Daniel Steuerer. End of June we were heading to France and on the first of July we were already at the 3842m high Aiguille du Midi. From there we were traversing the Valleé Blanche and the Glacier du Geant towards the Grand Capucin. Without any difficulties we climbed the first four pitches. The fifth pitch is the hardest. It starts with a long corner and at its end is a small roof – the crux. Alex graded it with 8b, when he freed the route. I gave it a try, didn’t find the right holds in the roof and fell at the very last hard move on my onsight attempt. After my try we decided to rap down to the glacier, because my partner Daniel had some problems with the altitude.

The next morning at 6am I was already hanging at the first belay. I climbed the first pitch, a 6a, with my mountain boots, but it soon got warmer and I put on my climbing shoes. 7b, 6b, 6b and then I found myself hanging beneath the 8b. This time everything went well and 20 minutes later I found myself hanging in the next pitch, a 7c+. This one was followed by a 7b+, and afterwards came two easy ones. Climbing in them Irealised, why my toes were hurting so badly... I was wearing my tiny comp-shoes, which enabled me to stand perfectly on the small crystals, but after all the climbing, I asked myself how much longer I could take the pain. Just like the pitches before I climbed the following without falling – my feet simply wouldn’t have allowed a second try!

In the early afternoon Daniel and I were standing at the summit of the Grand Capucin and when we rapped down, we met Arnaud and Stéphanie, who were also trying to free their route. The next morning we hiked down to Chamonix and drove back to Tirol.

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