Mercier forges new line on Aiguille du Midi

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The amazing 60m pitch on the upper wall – steep ice and an ice tunnel at the end

French climber Jeff Mercier has put up a new route on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix. During the first attempt on 16th May, the team of Mercier, Lucien Boucansaud and Geremy Rakowski bivied at the Plan de l’Aiguille and began climbing at 4.30am on the 17th. Mercier said, “The climb was harder than expected, and the team didn’t have enough time to climb the upper wall because all of us have to go to work the day after. So, we climb the west couloir, at its end, cross on the left to find the exit ridge of Carli Chassagne.”

Squeezing through the ice tunnel at the end of the pitch

Mercier and David Autheman returned on the 23rd May to complete the route, spending the night at the Cosmiques hut. After waking at 3am, the duo down-climbed the Glacier Rond, crossed on its right side to find the couloir west once again, and climbed the upper section.

The route, which Mercier says would take him around 15h to climb in a single day, is mostly mixed, with one and half pitches of rock climbing at the end (4+/5).

Mercier says: “Stupid question, but is this an obvious line? The first idea was to climb the steeper upper wall, but when I found this awsome pitch (60m of steep mixed) on the lower part, it become obvious to link the two parts. it will be more obvious if it has been possible to reach the top of the “Piton nord de l’aiguille du midi” but because of the telepherique we have to cross on the left!”

On the upper part of the route – steep ice climbing with axes, then hands and the finish is a “nice M7”

Mercier has named the route ‘Red Devils’, which refers to the recent Manchester bombing. “I was watching TV when pack my bag for the 2nd attempt, Mercier says. “’Red Devils’ is the name of the players of the Manchester United football team and it’s the name that we could give to thoses guys who kills childrens…”

Jeff Mercier is sponsored by Rab – for more info go to www.rab.equipment

Topo of the route, which Mercier named ‘Red Devils’ in remembrance of victims of the recent Manchester bombing

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