Aguja Saint-Exupery - Southwest face
10. Le Petit Prince
700m 6b+ 43 85°
Jérôme Arpin, Philippe Batoux, Gaël Bouquet des Chaux, Emmanuel Pélissier and Benôit Robert (France), 1/1995.
Description. The route climbs up the center of the south face to reach the col between the Punta Cristina and the summit, from where it follows the ruta Austriaca to the summit.
History. Climbed with fixed ropes over several weeks from 15/12/1994 to 10/1/1995. The team worked on the face a pair at the time, fixing ropes until in a position for all to head to the summit. Since 1994 marked the 50th anniversary of Antoine Saint Exupéry’s disappearance, they decided to name the route in honor of his well-known literary masterpiece. “Manu climbed the hardest pitch. He started at 7 am and was not done with it until 5 pm, taking some exciting falls in the meantime to keep us entertained. ‘Look up there, a condor!’ - No, no, its Manu!” (Vertical magazine 78 p. 47). Solo ascent. The second ascent and first solo was done by Lionel Daudet (France) barely a week after the first ascent was completed. It took him eight days, with some fixed ropes and 3 bivies on the wall climbing capsule style with a porta-ledge. For him the ascent started a long ways before the base of the route because traversing alone the heavily crevassed glacier proved to be a serious problem.
10.1 Driel-Finne variation. Etienne Fine and Philippe Driel (France) completed the third ascent of this route between the 12th and 25th 1/2000. They fixed ropes on the lower half and then spent nine days on the face in their porta-ledge. From the top of the 14th pitch, instead of climbing left to the col between the two summits to join the Austriaca they climbed a four-pitch direct variation to the summit (200m A3+ 6a), following a very obvious dihedral. According to Fine this variation is a much more classy finish to what is otherwise a superb route (“c’est nul de aller a la brêche”).
Approach. Laguna Sucia.
First ascent: AAJ 1995 p. 216, p. 218; High Magazine 152 p. 15; GHM yearly jounral 1994-95 p.13, p. 54; Le Alpi (CAS) 1996/4 p. 22- 24; Alpi Rando magazine 185 p. 15; Extrem magazine 71 p. 76; Vertical magazine 78 p. 46-47; La Montagne et Alpinisme magazine 1995/2 p. 64.
Daudet: GHM yearly journal 1994/95 p. 13; High magazine 152 p. 15-16; AAJ 1995 p. 217-219; Extrem magazine 72 p. 75; La Montagne et Alpinisme magazine 1995/2 p. 63.
Photos (click to enlarge)
Saint-Exupery east face
Saint-Exupery south face