After 4 days and 40 hours of climbing, the two Italian mountain guides François Cazzanelli and Francesco Ratti completed the first winter enchainment of the Furggen chain, Matterhorn, Grandes Murailles chain and Petites Murailles chain. A 'Himalayan ridge above home.'
Photo by Daniele Molineris / Storyteller-Labs
After a failed attempt in 2017 and another in 2018, François Cazzanelli and Francesco Ratti have now completed their humungous winter project: the enchainment of all the peaks on the never-ending the ridge that joins some of the main massifs in Valtournenche: the Furggen chain, the Matterhorn, Grandes Murailles and Petites Murailles. The two Italian mountain guides set off on Monday 20 January from the Theodulo hut (3,317m) at Colle del Theodulo and dropped back down into valley, via the Château des Dames gully, on Thursday 23 January at 13.00.
"It is certainly a dream come true for both of us" Ratti told planetmountain.com
"these are the backyard mountains for both of us. In 1985 François' father competed the first winter traverse of the Grandes Murailles and Petites Murailles with Marco Barmasse. While the Ratti bivouac on Grandes Murailles was built by my father. Our roots are in these mountains, and ever since we’ve known each other we’ve wanted to complete this ridge traverse in winter. The thing is though that over the years we began to realise that a winter enchainment isn’t a foregone conclusion, on the contrary. To get all the way to the end, you need to be good."
Onday 1 Cazzanelli and Ratti linked the Furggen chain vie its four main peaks, Corno del Theodulo (3,469m), Cima del Breuil (3,462m), Furggen (3,492m) and Cima della Forca (3,349m), followed by the Matterhorn (4,478m) via the Piacenza route and a night spent in the Carrel hut (3,830 m).
On day 2 the mountaineers from Cervinia ascended from the Carrel hut to the Perelli bivouac (3,831m), linking a first part of Grandes Murailles on a day marked by high winds. Cazzanelli and Ratti then ascended: Punta Maria Cristina (3,708m), Punta Maquignaz (3,841m), Punta Carrel (3,841m) and Punta Bianca (3,918m) before resting at the Perelli bivouac.
Matterhorn/Grandes Murailles winter enchainment. Photo: Daniele Molineris/Storyteller-Labs
On day 3 the duo continued along Grandes Murailles, tagging the following peaks: Punta Lioy (3,816m), I due Jumaux (3,872m), Becca di Guin (3,805m) and Punta Budden (3,603m). They enjoyed perfect conditions throughout the day before settling in at the Paolouccio bivouac.
On the last day, Cazzanelli and Ratti crossed Petites Murailles from the Paoluccio bivouac to Colle des Dames (3,488m), then continued via Tour du Creton (3,579m), Mont Blanc du Creton (3,406m) and Chateau des Dames (3,488m). They descended down Vallone di Vofrède at Château des Dames and returned to Cervinia on foot.
"This Himalayan style ridge is visible from the Breuil basin, where it fascinates and amazes the thousands of people who visit Cervinia every year" explained Cazzanelli "It’s comprised of 20 peaks: the highest is the Matterhorn at 4478 meters in height, while the lowest is is Mont Blanc du Créton at 3406m. Because of its proportion, altitude and exposed sections, this ridge is certainly one of the most spectacular and beautiful in the Alps. Just think, the Grandes Murailles to Petites Murailles traverse is an approximately 16 km uninterrupted ridge line."
Link: Grivel www.francoiscazzanelli.it, FB François Cazzanelli, FB Francesco Ratti, francescoratti.blogspot.com, Salewa, Millet Mountain, Garmin,