Tony Penning and Ali Taylor have just returned from a climbing and mountaineering trip in Italy. The intention was to find new routes in Val Veny and Val Ferret, which with the help of perfect weather they were able to do. Here’s Ali’s account of how they got on.
The first new route, Zig Zag on the lower East face of Mount Noir de Peuterey involved a 3 hour approach, 12 pitches of climbing, some of it very loose and vegetated, 8 abseils and a 3 hour descent. A good 16 hours exercise, which was a good warm-up for the main event.
The Ageing Gunslinger took us into the South face of the Eveque, a difficult, strenuous and serious eight and a half hour approach – 3,500 vertical feet, 5,500’ of climbing, scrambling and pulling on handfuls of grass. We bivouacked next to a 300’ ice patch which we had to cross the following morning,
Tony was wearing instep crampons whilst I was using kicking steps and a peg and nut key to make steady progress across the ice. The route was adventurous rather than good quality and eventually joined a route Tony had opened in August 2004 which led to the Tronchey Ridge. Six abseils and 200’ of scrambling got us back to the bivvy site and a welcome rest.
The descent was worse than the ascent. A maze of bottomless gullies and sheer grass slopes to the valley below. Fortunately we had built a series of small cairns to mark our way and managed to find the abseils from Tony’s previous foray. We were back down to the camper van in six and a half hours both feeling thirsty and tired with sore feet, the main priority was to take the rucksack off!
Our final adventure took us back to the East face of Mount Noir, where a modest climb of 6 pitches gave the best climbing of the trip with pitches of E3 and E4; Sorgente Pepper. And in conclusion 3 pounds lighter I achieved not only my 10th and 11th new climb in the Alps but my 12th too.