The UK´s favourite hard climbing couple, John and Anne Arran had a rare treat last Sunday. Whilst visiting the mixed climbing Mecca Cogne, Italy last weekend, they were inspired by an obvious free-standing ice pillar which was ´easily the best line in the valley´ . As they walked nearer, it dawned on them that this was no ordinary route, but was in fact Stevie Haston´s ´The X Files´. Well, sort of. The X Files, graded M10, was, until very recently the hardest mixed climb in the world, involved a significant section of dry-tooling up an overhanging wall to reach a free-hanging icicle. But as John and Anne discovered, the icicle now reaches the ground, making the hard dry section temporarily redundant, and bringing the grade down to a more reasonable Winter Ice grade 6. The line was melting quite severely, and is unlikely to last long – so get it while you can… Update: Chris Cartwright informs us that Robin Clothier and Nick Harper also climbed this a few days earlier to the reported ascent and confirmed Godefroy Perroux´s grade at WI5+.
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