Chamonix Testpiece Gets Free Ascent

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A British pair has made the third ascent, and possible first free ascent, of the decade-old testpiece Omega on France’s Petit Jorasses. Nick Bullock attempted the route last winter but broke his ankle in a fall on the 10th pitch. In early January this year, he returned with Stuart McAleese and repeated the 13-pitch mixed route in a four-day roundtrip from Chamonix, with two full days of climbing. The two men found numerous pitches of hard ice and mixed climbing over chockstones, including the previously aided 12th pitch, a long, tenuous sequence of liebacking with tools and smearing with crampons, with poor protection. Said Bullock: “Omega is one of the most technically rewarding climbs in one of the most outstandingly beautiful and hostile mountain areas in the world. It’s a credit to the first ascensionists,” Patrick Gabarrou and Feran Patrick Latore.