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Europe, Alps, Monte Rosa

Monte Rosa, Alps. In the 1955 American Alpine Journal (pages 126 to 132) I have read the article by Guy M. Everett, “A Fight for Life on Monte Rosa.” As he says, he was bound for the “Cresta Rey” of the Dufourspitze. He had “read the scanty details given in the guide book and looked at the drawings.” Although not specified, I suppose it concerns my Guide Book. The “Cresta Rey” (route 198) is a simple rock rib, straight forward and without gendarme. Its description does not imply any details. You simply follow to the top of the Dufour. Mr. Everett’s story is quite clear to me: he tried the so-called “Cresta Piacenza” (route 195) which is far longer and much more difficult than the “Cresta Rey” because of its many gendarmes. These two ridges (at their foot) are about one kilometer apart from one another and it sounds rather curious that Mr. Everett could confuse them.

As you can see in the Addenda to my Guide, page 275, this route 195 was followed for the first time on July 20, 1907, by Mario Piacenza and the guides Jean-Joseph Carrel and J. B. Pellissier, but Piacenza never published anything about this fine climb. The only testimonial is contained in Carrel’s guide book where Piacenza writes that they took 23 hours from Bétemps to the top. Knowing the strength of this party you can imagine that this route is not easy. This testimonial was published in 1952 (in my Guide Book) after almost half a century. I suggested to call this bridge “Cresta Piacenza” in remembrance of the famous Italian climber and explorer. Piacenza is still alive and does well deserve this honour.

Marcel Kurz