Davide Capozzi and Denis Trento completed a rare descent of the Couloir Sud Est du Grand Capucin in the Mont Blanc massif, on snowboard and skis respectively. Capozzi reports.
Couloir Sud Est du Grand Capucin is a beautiful gully wedged between Grand Capucin and the Trident, skied in the 80’s by Jean Marc Boivin. In 2002 an integral descent was made by Pierre Tardivel with Nathan Wallace, Tim Dobbins and Bruno Compagnet.
In 2002 I skied the lower part of this gully: it was one of my first steep descents I did in Mont Blanc massif and although I’ve returned on various other occasions, I’ve only ever done the first 200 meters which I’ve always regarded as good training. Last week, thanks to my friend and mountain guide Federico Camangi who had mentioned that the couloir was in excellent conditions, I decided to go and check out the entire line. Why I’d never done so before is, quite simply, inexplicable.
My friend Denis Trento was free and immediately accepted the invitation. I’m always happy to go into the mountains with him: Denis is shy, modest and with an unbridled drive. A former ski mountaineering athlete, he’s a great example to look up to and I always admire how fast he can move in the mountains.
The ascent and descent of the Gran Cap gully were swift… it couldn’t have been any different with Denis. I just went snowboarding and left him to think about all the rest.
Although this line is clearly visible, I don’t think it has had many repeats since 2002, especially by snowboard. But this is of little importance when compared to the beauty of this place and the thrill of skiing within touching distance from Grand Capucin. Especially for someone like me who, in the summer season, doesn’t go wild about rock climbing on these Mont Blanc satellites. I’m absolutely certain that this gully is one of the most beautiful descents that can be skied in this particular corner of Mont Blanc.
by Davide Capozzi
Couloir Sud Est du Grand Capucin
Length: 450 m
Difficulty: 5.3 E3
Notes: 20 meter abseil.