Pete Whittaker and Matt Heliker have climbed a new 250-metre route on Mont Blanc’s Tour Ronde they called Zone 5. Their first ascent came the same week that France vowed to protect the peak from overcrowding.

French president Emmanuel Macron said the country will create a new reserve around Mont Blanc. He visited the Mer de Glace glacier and said to media in Chamonix, “What we see with this glacier melting is irrefutable proof of global warming.”

France will create a protected nature reserve around Mont Blanc in 2020. It will limit the number of people who can visit each year. Conditions for alpine ice climbing in Chamonix have been improving over the past few weeks and more new routes are likely to be climbed before spring.

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Sunday being the last clear weather day before 200kph winds hit the range, myself and @petewhittaker01 missioned it over to the NW shoulder of the Tour Ronde for a new objective I’ve had my eye on for a while after doing the first ascent of ‘Rotatornater’ on the same face back in 2016. . We fired up the lower wall, ( seen here ) mixed climbing following cracks and slabs to snow covered ledges which thankfully held in some loose blocks and rubble, that without snow holding it together would make this route a death trap in the summer. ⚠️ . We arrived at a beautiful looking pitch a crack through the head wall, which is what attracted me to the line through my binoculars in the first place. . This pitch was most definitely to be rock climbed as dry tooling it would have felt like a crime. Pete changed into rock shoes and in his element karate chopped his way up the stunning crack above into a minging chicken winging hanging chimney to the top. . Abseiling the route, we returned to our skis, and with limited time as the cloud grew around us, hammered it back to @skywaymontebianco to catch the last lift down…bosh 👍🏻 . @patagoniaeurope @patagonia_climb @scarpa_uk @blackdiamond @oakley @puritionuk @suunto @lyofood @climbskinspain @tca_themothership @hard.bar @protectourwintersuk @problemsolver_hangboards . #liveclimbrepeat #alpinism #newroute #crackisback #mixedclimbing #alps #rockclimbing #courmayeur #skywaymontebianco #rock #snow #ice #mountain #plantbased #harderforlonger

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Another great day in the Mont Blanc mountains on Sunday. . Myself and @matt_helliker went hard off the first lift to bag a new route, then get last lift down. We had a 7 hour window, to ski, skin, climb, ab, ski, skin. . The climb went efficiently with Matt taking the lower mixed half and myself taking the cracky rock upper half. . We got back down to the skis with 40 minutes until the last lift. The final skin up the hill was brutal, both totally red lining to make it in time. We pitched into the lift with everyone already there and the doors literally closing on us. The only way it could have been closer is if we'd missed the lift altogether… . Apparently the weather has been a shambles since, and the lift hasn't re-opened! . 'Zone 5' (250m) climbs the north-west shoulder of Tour Ronde, up the centre of the buttress. Get your squeeze on for the final hanging chimney 👍 . @patagonia_climb @wildcountry_official @sterlingrope @alpkit @hard.bar #climbing #mixedclimbing #tradclimbing #rockclimbing

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