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West Face of Famous Matterhorn Climbed in Winter

Marco Farina and Marco Majori made a rare repeat of the west face of the Matterhorn in mid-February up The Ottin/Daguin, which was first climbed in 1962 by Renato Daguin and Giovanni Ottin.

Planetmountain.com reported the news and said, “In 1978, this ‘west face direttissima’ was the scene of the dramatic first winter ascent at the hands of Rolando Albertini, Marco Barmasse, Innocenzo Menabreaz, Leo Pession, Augusto Tamone, Arturo Squinobal and Oreste Squinobal. After two days of ascent in good weather on 10 and 11 January, just below the summit the Valle d’Aosta guides were surprised by a violent storm. During the descent Albertini fell to his death and Marco Barmasse, hit by falling rocks, broke his leg; after a night on the ridge they descended to the Carrel hut where, blocked by bad weather, they were recovered by a helicopter four days later.

Farina and Mojori were hoping to climb the north face, but they deemed it too dry and moved to the west face. They reported brittle ice and rock before a snowfield where they bivied after 10 hours of climbing. The next day, they climbed overhanging rock through the yellow band where they had to resort to the only aid climbing of the route. They then climbed another 400 metres of rock in warm conditions before descending for one more bivy. They returned home on the third day.

Canadian Kevin Doyle in Europe

In 1983, Canadian Kevin Doyle had one of the best climbing years of any alpinist that year. In Canada, he made the first ascent of the north face of South Goodsir VI 5.9 A2 and Gimme Shelter VI WI6R with Dave Cheesmond and Tim Friesen respectfully.

He then travelled to Europe where he climbed Central Pillar of Freney VI and the Peuterey Ridge IV on Mont Blanc and the Croz Spur VI on Grandes Jorasses.

He then soloed the North Face V of the Matterhorn. The guides in the hut were making bets on how far he’d make it before he turned around, but Doyle climbed the route in a day. He then made the first Canadian ascent of the north face of the Eiger via the 1938 route a lost variation.

Kevin Doyle on the Eiger in 1983 / Kevin Doyle Collection