Last week, a team of three Italian alpinists—Matteo Della Bordella, François Cazzanelli, and Francesco Ratti—opened a new alpine rock route up the Red Pillar of Brouillard on Mont Blanc’s southern flank. The first ascent of the 290-meter route took the trio two days, in which they aided through difficult sections. They returned the following week with a fourth climber, Isaïe Maquignaz, and freed the route.
“Opening a new route on the Red Pillar of Brouillard, such an iconic pillar full of history, made of perfect red granite and located in one of the most dramatic places of the massif was a dream,” wrote Matteo Della Bordella on Instagram of the initial ascent. “It was a big satisfaction turning this dream into reality following the style I like most and with two psyched and strong partners!”
The Red Pillar of Brouillard is a steep and striking red granite spire on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. The Red Pillar saw its first ascent in 1959 by legendary alpinist Walter Bonatti and his partner Andrea Oggioni. The new line is eight pitches long, the crux pitch going free at 8a (5.13b).
“Francesco Ratti and I followed Matteo Della Bordella in this splendid project to open a new route on one of the most beautiful spires of the southern slope of Mont Blanc!” Fançois Cazzanelli wrote on Instagram. “Two days of super climbing came out with a bivouac on the wall all shared with top friends!”
The team was resolute in their objective to free climb the route, and returned to the Red Pillar a few days after the first ascent to do just that. As they climbed, Bordella had a one word mantra he kept repeating to himself: Incroyable. In French this translates to “Incredible,” which is what they titled the new route.
“Now that the route is ready to be repeated I wish everyone who tries to live a great experience like we had,” Bordella wrote. “Teamwork, fun, and an incredible high quality rock climb, located in one of the most fascinating corners of Mont Blanc massif!”