New Route on Mont Blanc

By Dougald MacDonald ,

With various partners, John Harlin III completed a lifelong dream to climb a new route on Mont Blanc’s storied south face in Italy. Harlin, editor of the American Alpine Journal, had attempted the south face last August with Mark Jenkins but was driven down by storms after Jenkins led a crux 5.11 roof (made more exciting by the 10-foot-long icicle he had to knock from the lip). Returning this September with Julie-Ann Clyma and Roger Payne, Harlin and team completed the new line in a four-day roundtrip from the car. Their route, called Dawn to Decadence, is essentially a super-direct version of the classic Innominata Ridge, hewing close to the rock ridge where the Innominata and Innominata Direct deviate left and right.

Harlin had long dreamed of climbing a new route in this area because his father had done new lines on the Frêney and Brouillard faces, to either side of the Innominata, in the 1960s, before being killed on the north face of the Eiger in March 1966.

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