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Cazzanelli and Steindl in a big day out on the Peutérey Intégrale


François (Franz) Cazzanelli (IT) and Andreas (Andy) Steindl (CH) have put up an extremely fast ascent of the Peutérey Integral in the Mont Blanc massif in just 12 hours and 12 minutes. The round trip back to the starting point at the La Sorgente campsite in Val Veny, Italy took the two mountain guides just 15 hours and 55 minutes.

The “Intégrale” (TD/ED1) is the longest ridge in the Alps with over 4,500m of climbing to the summit of Mont Blanc. Traditionally teams take two or three days to climb the route, which starts on the Italian side. Setting out from the La Sorgente campsite in Val Veny at 3:30 am, Franz and Andy took just 12 hours and 12 minutes to reach the summit of Mont Blanc. After a swift descent down the normal Italian route past the Rifugio Gonella, they returned to their starting point after 15 hours, 55 minutes on the mountain.

In 2013, Ueli Steck climbed the Peutérey Integral to the summit from the same campsite in Val Veny, but after descending the normal route, he returned to Les Houches in Chamonix. He did this in 16 hours and 9 minutes. Using the same tactic as Ueli Steck, Franz and Andy stashed their backpacks at the base of Aiguille Noire in advance. This is what Franz says about the climb:

“A dream I’ve been thinking about for a long time has come true! For some years now I’ve been wanting to climb this huge ridge – starting from and returning to the valley in a single push. I felt that this year was right! Last winter, I told Andy about my project and he immediately accepted and we planned everything in detail together. On Thursday 18 July, we met in Val Veny. After preparing the gear, in the afternoon we carried our packs over to the base of the south ridge of the Aiguille Noire de Peutérey and descended back down into the valley. Next morning (Friday 19 July) we set off from the Campsite La Sorgente at 03:30. Everything went according to plan, and after 5 hours we reached the summit of the Noire, did the abseils and started up towards the Aiguille Blanche de Peutérey. After 9 hours, 30 minutes and no problems, we reached the Col de Peutérey and were ready to start up the Pillier d’Angle and the Peutérey Ridge. 11 hours and 50 minutes after setting off we reached the top of Mont Blanc di Courmayeur and after 12 hours and 12 minutes we summited Mont Blanc. We hugged each other. Stefano Stradelli and Jerome Perruquet summited too, after climbing the ridge in two days. It was a wonderful moment! We spent ten minutes together on the summit and then set off again. It wasn’t over, we still had to make it back down. For the descent, we chose the normal Italian route via the Rifugio Gonnella. On the way down, we began to feel the fatigue – our rucksacks just got heavier and heavier. We grit our teeth and after 15 hours and 55 minutes, made it back to the Campsite La Sorgente where we’d set off at 3:30 the previous morning (it took us 3 hours, 33 minutes to descend). The maths: 15 hours and 55 minutes to ascend and descend 4,276 vertical metres, covering 45.37 kilometres.

A big thank you to Matteo Pellin who looked after us at his campsite during the training days and during this project. Thanks Andy for helping a dream come true!”

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