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New Mixed Route on Tour Ronde Near Chamonix

Stuart Macdonald and Matt Helliker have climbed a new six-pitch M6+ up the northwest face of Tour Ronde near Chamonix. The mountain guides named their new route Rotatornator and climbed it on Dec. 7. The impressive face was first climbed in 1980 by Jean-Marc Boivin and Patrick Decorps up a rock route. Helliker asked Italian and French locals and everyone agreed there was no previous winter route up the wall.

Helliker and Macdonald took the Skyway lift up from Courmayuer, Italy, and skied to the base of the route. On his new blog, Helliker wrote, “Perfect weather gave way to some perfect mixed climbing, cracks, corners, and caves with just enough snow to hold together some loose ground, and with just enough ice to let us creep up smooth slabs, but with the rock lending itself to solid hooks and great protection.

“At the top of pitch five one below the top we where consumed by darkness. Pitch six I took a right hand corner leading to a roof, which I pasted on the right with zero feet. Bringing us to the side of the buttress and a logical finish of this line at a large spike, revealing beautiful views over to the south face of Mont Blanc in a moon lit sky.” Be sure to read the full story and check out a topo at MattHelliker.com.