There are Chamonix Aiguilles (needles) and Chamonix Aiguilles. This is one of the latter, as sharp and pointy as a 700 m rock spire can be. The thought of the pioneers lassoing the summit and hand over handing up a hemp rope still makes my palms sweaty. The exposure levels on the summit kept me straddling the blade of rock – one leg either side. We climbed the modern magnificent political crack route named Republique Bananiere that the maestro Piola rated in his top ten Mont Blanc Massif granite routes. ED 6C and 700 m of magic including a 50 m dihedral.

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