Matterhorn : new route up the south face for Francois Cazzanelli, Jerome Perruquet, Marco Farina and Stefano Stradelli

©Franz Cazzanelli

New ascent on the Matterhorn’s south face: Una Follia per Adriana is the name of the new route, the large dihedral on the little-known Matterhorn face, which is nevertheless clearly visible from the Breuil and Zermatt ski areas. Without going to the summit, Francois Cazzanelli, Jerome Perruquet, Marco Farina and Stefano Stradelli succeeded in opening this obvious 800-metre line between Picco Muzio (4187m) and Pilastro dei Fiori (4000m).

On Tuesday February 6, Italian climbers François Cazzanelli, Jérôme Perruquet, Marco Farina and Stefano Stradelli climbed a new route on the south face of the Matterhorn (4,478 m). Their new route is called “Una Follia per Adriana” – The big dihedral of the south face.
The new route is located on the Matterhorn’s wild and little-visited south face, between Picco Muzio (4,187 m) and Pilastro dei Fiori (4,000 m). Comprising 300 m of snow couloir climbing and 500 m of mixed/rock climbing, the itinerary comprises 11 pitches, with an announced grading of M7/6b. The team made a first attempt at the new line during the previous week (January 31), but had to turn back: the large dihedral would prove much more compact and difficult than expected. On their second attempt, the team of four set off from Seggiovia at 4:30 a.m. and climbed out of the large dihedral at 4:30 p.m. the same day.

Matterhorn South Face’s big dihedral. ©Coll. Cazzanelli

Franz Cazzanelli explains. “On our first attempt, we didn’t have a clear enough strategy or a good understanding of the route. We weren’t expecting such a severe, vertical and sometimes overhanging wall. We also realized quite quickly that climbing this route required special weather and mountain conditions. Nevertheless, we managed to climb the first 6 pitches of the route that day.”

The climbers returned on Tuesday February 6, with better conditions, and a plan that would work. “Conditions on the route were a little dry, but still good! Jérôme quickly redid the first 4 pitches, I did the next two and by 11:00 we were already at our high point of the first attempt. On that first attempt, we weren’t there until 4pm. At that point, I put on my slippers and opened the next two pitches. The first was very impressive, with lots of gas. The second was easier, but the starting slab put me to the test. Then it was Marco’s turn to open a pitch with very bad rock! The last section is easier and we finally emerge into the sun under the huge boulder overlooking the dihedral.”

Francois Cazzanelli leading this pitch. ©Damiano Levati

Matterhorn’s south face is little known

Who is this Ariana to whom the route is dedicated? “We want to dedicate this new route and its name to the late Adriana Pession. Adriana worked all her life as secretary of the Matterhorn Mountain Guides Society and was like a second mother to all us local mountain guides. We are proud to be able to create this route in her name,” explains Franz Cazzanelli.

©Damiano Levati

The four alpinists. ©Cazzanelli