From what I’ve been hearing, conditions in the Alps this spring have been absolutely stellar for ski mountaineering to say the least, with rad lines being ticked off by some great skiers and snowboarders. Some have been first descents, while others have been repeats of lines that haven’t been skied in decades. On June 4th, Italians Francesco Civra Dane and Luca Rolli were successful in completing the second descent of the Aguille Blance de Pueterey on Mount Blance, via the Grivel-Chabod route and with one 40m rappel over a serac about a third of the way down. For more on this descent by Dane and Rolli, please visit PlanetMountain.com. Check out this video of their day on the route.
Dane and Rolli’s descent route follows the green line, but I believe went skier’s right (not left) of the first serac near the top. The only other ski descent of this point was by Stefano De Benedetti and followed the blue line. Courtesy Teton Gravity Research, click photo for larger image.
The first descent of the Aquille Blance de Peuterey was complete by the legendary Stefano De Benedetti in 1980, followed a peppered line a bit more to the skier’s right and avoided the serac completely. Stefano’s descent was chronicled in the popular move “Steep”, which was released in 2007. Interestingly enough, it appears as though Stefano was able to complete his descent without those goofy double pole plants that are often used by European skiers these days. None the less, Dane and Rolli’s descent is quite impressive and will no doubt be remembered and envied by many.
Stefano De Benedetti on the North Face of Mount Blance, from the movie Steep.
Seems like those Italians are not into wearing helmets. Not that it would likely make a difference losing an edge up there. Conditions are looking great indeed, wish we have had some decent weather in Austria too …
Italians have the same size related issues as the French, which is why they don’t wear helmets.
either way, proud line for sure.
Double pole plant rocks! Learn from the best! http://www.tvmountain.com/index.php?option=com_hwdvideoshare&task=viewvideo&Itemid=112&video_id=1308
Offspring….That brings back some memories….
ha…good one gringo. 🙂
ted…sure wish i knew what remy was saying. man, i hate being mono-lingual.
Man that camera has a zoom on it like the Hubble telescope. Awesome video though with some great ski mountaineering.
Superb descent, but he Steve, got to point out that the pink route has been skied in 1977 by Anselme Baud and Patrick Vallençant(and others afterwards) and the red one by de benedetti as well in 1980(before he skied the blue one in 1984..that has never been repeated from the summit) so not really a second descent of the aiguille blanche but for sure a big descent!
first repetition / second descent of the green line for the 2 skitalians!
thanks for that gilles…i had a feeling some of the “claims” were inaccurate. though a little traversey at the top…that red line looks sweet.
I was lucky to have the opportunity to sit down next to De Benedetti at a dinner in Courmayeur two years ago and I must have asked him at least 100 questions about his adventures. He was charming, humble and answered every one put to him. I was like a kid unleashed in a candy store. A night I’ll never forget !
Helmets and ski-mountaineering would be another great topic. Although I sometimes wear one, I don’t think I’d have worn a helmet on this line either. It’s not a size issue, it’s called freedom and confidence. I love seeing the old French guys on the highway with their bikes and no helmet, not that I’d do that either.
Helmet laws are fascist!
these days, i typically wear a helmet for ski mountaineering…better safe than sorry i guess. mainly because helmets like the bd tracer are so light (8.6oz) that i don’t mind carrying the extra weight.
I have to agree with Ptor ….again.. 😉 on both, that the topic would be a good one and his helemt etiquette..
Elegeant descent for sure. The look on their faces while skiing says it all.
My two cent worth on helmets. I wear a helmet in-bounds, but not when ski-touring, because I ski within my limits when I’m out exploring and rescue is far away (in-bounds, it’s sometimes fun to take it to the edge). I understand the sense in wearing a helmet for climbing (or skiing) through zones exposed to falling ice and rock, but otherwise, for descending serious lines, when falling isn’t survivable, then helmets have very limited value.
On the video. It appeared to be great skiing conditions, and an incredible line, but I was not impressed with their (hesitant, stiff) skiing technique. Perhaps it’s steeper than it looks?
stew…i would agree that for the most part, i wear a helmet to protect my head from things coming down on me from above.
This looks like the same peak that JJ and Xavier tried last summer. The snow quality between last year and this year’s photos are drastic.
I have been reading this site for a month or two and it is great. Thanks alot. That picture of Stefano De Benedetti is amazing. Do you know what all of the tracks to skiers left in the sun/shade line are from? Did he side step it before he skied it?
baldwin…sure looks to me like those tracks are from the photographer.
I have never seen such perfect jump turns
Looking at the slope when they’re climbing I find it somewhat strange that comments are made about the helmets and not about the rope…
But for sure an impressive descent. The Aiguille Blanche is at the very top of my whishlist. Luckily I should still have enough years to make it once.
So here you are….at a time CHX was less of a circus….
I think both P. Vallençant and A. Baud really mean so much to ski mountaineering
True about Jones and Delerue in the same area last year. It is featured in this Unplugged trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHC4CgSEbXg
And eventually you will see some anonymous guys skiing these remote lines…far far away from the hype, fat skis and discussions around helmets. When you get to these kind of areas, I guess, you think for yourself, overall. These guys are Swiss by the way!