In Nick Rosen’s 2009 film Point of No Return, Jonny Copp and Micah Dash spend some time in Chamonix where they go for an attempt on the west face of Petit Dru above Chamonix. The wall was once home to the Bonatti Pillar, a route first climbed by Walter Bonatti solo in 1955, but it collapsed in 2003 and 2005.
Copp and Dash were hoping to climb a new route up the 800-metre rock scar, but bailed after having to outrun an avalanche at the base. The footage from Point of No Return of the two in Chamonix is must-see for any alpinist. Another rockfall in 2011 all but erased the once famous Bonatti route. Copp, Dash and Wade Johnson died in an avalanche in 2009 on an expedition to the Gongga Shan massif in China’s Western Sichuan Province.
In 2007, Martial Dumas and Jean-Yves Fredricksen established Voie des Papas over nine days on the right edge of the rockfall up the Southwest Pillar of Petit Dru. In 2012, it was repeated by Jérôme Sullivan and Pedro Angel Galan. Last week, Korra Pesce and Will Sim made the likely third ascent. They spent five night on the mountain.
Sim, who made the second ascent of The House/Anderson on Mount Alberta with Nick Bullock, said after, “We spent four days and three nights on the wall, with five bivis round trip from Chamonix. The route was characterised by freezing mornings, sunny afternoons, some scary rock which required mind numbing care to navigate and haul our bag over without damaging our precious ropes, but thankfully some good bivies! A nail-biting last two pitches to join the top of the classic north face route kept us spell-bound to the end. Abseiling the whole rockscar with a slightly coreshot single, one belay plate (thankfully only from halfway!) and a tag line was not something id like to do again! Thanks to Korra for doing such a good job leading the descent. I’ve wanted to do this route for a while. Psyched.”