Jeff Mercier and Corrado Pesce have free climbed Chris Bonington and Lito Tegada-Flores’ 1965 route on the West Face of Aiguille du Plan, Mont Blanc.
Urs Kallen, the Swiss-born Calgary climber who pioneered dozens of new routes in the Rockies in the 60s and 70s said, this route was climbed by ‘real climbers’ back in the day, a route ahead of its time. As Tegada-Flores wrote in the 1966 American Alpine Journal, “At noon, after climbing some 1,350-feet of rock, we ran into the upper pillar or buttress, which presented only one (ugh!) weakness: a great, north-facing dihedral, plastered with ice and stretching some 650 feet up and out of sight. Chris took over the lead, and what followed was the most amazing demonstration of mixed climbing I have ever seen.”
Mercier, who lives in Chamonix as a mountain guide, is a cutting-edge climbers in rock, alpine and ice/mixed climbing. From onsighting 5.13+ to climbing M14, A4 and grade VI alpine routes, he said the Bonnington/Tegada-Flores route was on the top of his list. “The big dihedral presents great difficulties. It is not sunny and the first climbers found it completely iced-up. The guidebook also mentions A3. The warm-up starts in the bath, stiff M4,” Mercier said, “a beautiful chute about 80 m, through an easy and we Z’Y voila! The race was won against the sun, the mountain was nice giving us optimal conditions.“
Source: Jeff Mercier’s Blog, Planet Mountain, Urs Kallen