After graduating in December 2014 Brette travelled to Patagonia for the first time and in February 2015, aged 23, leapt to climbing stardom by making the first ever free solo of the 760-metre 5.11a route Chiaro de Luna on Saint Exupery in the Fitz Roy Massif. After climbing the route once with her partner, the late Canadian alpinist Marc-André Leclerc, Brette soloed the route’s 20 pitches in three hours becoming the first woman to solo any route on the Fitz Roy Massif and gaining international notoriety as a climber.
Later that year, back in the U.S., Brette claimed the third ever ascent and first female ascent of Edge of Pan (5.13b R) in Squamish, made the second female ascent of Grand Illusion (5.13b/c) at Sugarloaf, California, and made an all-free team ascent of the 33-pitch Muir Wall (5.13c) in Yosemite, which she spent over a month working with Leclerc and British climber Alan Carne.
As well as ticking off established routes Brette was also always seeking out new routes both in North America and abroad.
“I first started establishing new routes in Squamish in 2013 when I joined my partner Marc-André on the Tantalus Wall to help him on a project,” says Brette. “[…] After that experience my eyes were keen on finding new lines.”
In summer 2016 the couple and friend Joshua Lavigne travelled to the eastern fjords of Baffin Island and over thirty days established two new lines on Great Sail Peak: the mixed aid/trad line Northwest Turret (5.13a A2, 22 pitches) and the West Buttress of Great Sail Peak (5.12 C1). Later the same year, over eight days, Brette and Leclerc established Hidden Dragon (5.12b, 11 pitches) on the formidable Chinese Puzzle Wall in the Nesakwatch River Valley, British Columbia and the following year they established Aurorophobia (5.13+) in the Wiaparous River Valley, Alberta.
In February 2017 Brette joined climber Mayan Smith-Gobat in Patagonia to attempt Smith-Gobat’s project of making the first free ascent of the big wall route Riders of the Storm on the Central Paine Tower.
“Mayan and I planned on free climbing Torre Central but when we arrived the face was entirely snowed up for the first two weeks making it impossible to free climb,” says Brette. “We realised our objective was not going to be possible so we changed our goals and expectations to fit the situation. Through our persistence and flexibility I learned more about technical mixed and winter climbing than I could have ever imagined. Although this was not what I had originally wanted from this trip it is was what I was given and I am so thankful for taking that opportunity”.