Unstoppable Cazzanelli Sends Another New Route

Francois Cazzanelli is having a furious winter in the Alps. He is climbing so much, so quickly, and so well that his new routes are starting to blur into each other.

On February 3, he did Dreaming of the Unimaginable with Emrik Favre and Stefano Stradelli on Mont Blanc du Creton, in the Aosta Valley. Then earlier this week, he and the same two partners pioneered another new line, this time on the Aiguille Noir de Peuterey, one of the famous spires in the Mont Blanc massif.

Left to right, Cazzanelli, Stradelli, and Favre on ‘Dreaming of the Unimaginable.’ Photo: Francois Cazzenelli


There aren’t many details yet, but the route’s difficulty speaks for itself: M8, 7a/7a+, and AI 5. Cazzanelli describes the climb as a “great adventure,” but hints that conditions were far from ideal. It included a wet bivouac with the spindrift soaking their sleeping bags.

Hauling gear up a mixed section of the Couloir Isaïe. Photo: Francois Cazzanelli/Facebook


The 600m, 12-pitch route leads to the top of Punta Brendel via a couloir on the peak’s west face. The team named the feature after Favre’s son: Couloir Isaïe.

“It wasn’t easy, but thanks to our willpower and great teamwork, we did something really special that we will remember for a lifetime,” Cazzanelli wrote.

Route topo. Photo: Francois Cazzanelli/Facebook

Winter the new spring?

Last summer, thawing through a particularly scorching European summer triggered huge rock slides. It left the glaciers bare with wide open crevasses and forced authorities to close refuges around such popular areas as Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. In an interview some time ago, Adam Bielecki suggested that rising temperatures and climate change would make winter the new spring. Although he was speaking of the Greater Ranges, his words could also apply to the European Alps.

The Aiguile Noir de Peterey's climbing team - and photographer? -- in the darkness, either before or after the climb.

The Aiguile Noir de Peterey’s three climbers, plus an unidentified fourth person. Photo: Francois Cazzanelli

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.