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New Alpine Route Weaves Line Up Big North Face

The climb follows a glacier into a rocky wall with frozen sections on Central Breithorn

Conditions this week allowed for three alpinists to establish a new 550-metre mixed route up the north face of Central Breithorn (4,160 m).

Stefano Stradelli, Jerome Perruquet and Francois Cazzanelli have made the first ascent of Essere o non Essere at M7 85°  AIV next to the classic Diretta Gabarrou-Steiner. The climb involves several pitches of thin ice and near-vertical rock.

The Central Breithorn is a peak of the Breithorn Range on the border between Switzerland and Italy and is located east of the main summit of the Breithorn and west of the western Breithorn Twin. There are several rock and mixed lines in the range, but this ranks as one of the most difficult.

An alpine route such as this requires several factors to line up, such as the weather, the stoke of the team and the conditions of the face. Fall makes for a good time to attempt mixed routes on north faces because much of the loose rock is frozen together, there’s limited threat from cornices and glacier travel is easier than late winter when deep snow makes travel hard.

If alpine routes in the Canadian Rockies and Coast Range do form up this year, such as The Big Hose in the Bugaboos, they’ll be coming into shape within the next few weeks.