Jornet rescued from the Frendo Spur

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rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 9, 2013 - 12:54am PT
From http://www.ledauphine.com/haute-savoie/2013/09/09/chamonix-kilian-jornet-secouru-en-pleine-nuit-et-en-basket-dans-la-face-nord-de-l-aiguille-du-midi

I've tried to translate the article into reasonable English, with a little help and a lot of hindrance from Google Translate. I've taken a few liberties with literal meanings and tried for equivalent English phrasing. It is clear that journalistic objectivity is not a feature of Le Dauphine's reporting. Neither are facts for that matter, as the comment about Profit making the first solo ascent of the Bonatti Pillar makes clear. Anyway here we go:



On Saturday evening, PGHM had to use a caravane terrestre to rescue two "alpinists", a man and a woman, from the the Frendo Spur of the North face of the Aiguille du Midi. Called in the late afternoon, the rescuers were unable to use the helicopter service from DZ Chamonix this week, due to bad weather predicted for nearly a week.

But what PGHM Chamonix did not reveal (as is the rule in gendarmerie) is the identity of one of the rescued: the icon of trail and ski mountaineering, Kilian Jornet. [The woman is Emelie Forsberg --RG]

Like the woman who accompanied him (and as has been his habit), he was very lightly equipped. The only question posed by the the world of mountaineering is: what was this guy doing in tights and sneakers on a north face?

There are more and more trail runners in running shoes in the Couloir de Goûter and on the Mont Blanc route

And it's not because they have not been warned by many, with Jean-Louis Verdier (guide and adjunct in charge of mountain safety in Chamonix) at the top of the list, saying, after Jornet's Mount Blanc speed record, that "Mountaineering is done with adequate equipment and with whatever is needed in your pack to deal with bad weather. I'm enraged when I see he continues to climb at altitude in running shoes, despite our warnings."

Already guides are witnessing, with dismay, more and more trail runners in running shoes in the Couloir de Goûter and on the Mont Blanc route. How dearly will these runners pay for their naive belief that they can do as well as their Catalan idol...

Note that although Kilian Jornet has not mentioned the incident on his twitter account, merely saying hello to his followers this morning as usual, he did post a message of thanks to PGHM Chamonix yesterday evening on his Facebook page.

Before Jornet, there was Profit

Jornet, the conqueror of most of the ultra-trails, has set numerous records, but where is the security in that? Far, far away. In his defense, one might note that Christophe Profit, in his time, made the first solo ascent of the Bonatti Pillar of the Dru in rock-climbing shoes, thin pants, a tank-top, and a pack, "putting in his four hours of work."

The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Sep 9, 2013 - 01:25am PT
What if SAR teams used only tights and sneakers?
Degaine

climber
Sep 9, 2013 - 02:32am PT
Profit was the first to free-solo the route. I can understand that even a newspaper based in the Alps would not necessarily provide that detail.

FYI - à caravane terrestre means that the PGHM rescued Kilian and partner on foot and not by helicopter. Given they were only 50m or so from the top, it was much easier to descend on foot from the top station of the Aiguille du Midi tram. The top of the Frendo Spur is about 10 minutes on foot from there.
Matt's

climber
Sep 9, 2013 - 02:36am PT
looking on facebook, killian and his partner thank their rescuers... also from the pictures it looks like they were doing the frendo spur in rock climbing shoes...
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Sep 9, 2013 - 08:38am PT
Reach for the stars, if you fail, you still might touch the moon.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Sep 9, 2013 - 09:48am PT
Sounds like he was very lightly equipped, perhaps even dangerously so. But it's not as if he is some sort of Noob, or only a trail runner. He's got a lot of alpine experience, so I'd assume it was a pretty well-calculated risk.
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sep 9, 2013 - 09:54am PT
What business is it of yours, Frendo Spur?
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 9, 2013 - 10:32am PT
so I'd assume it was a pretty well-calculated risk.

Risk for who? Him or the folks that have to rescue him in bad weather?
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Sep 9, 2013 - 10:38am PT
What business is it of yours, Frendo Spur?

I think he's more concerend with the trend he's seeing, not just Jornet.
steve shea

climber
Sep 9, 2013 - 10:59am PT
Maybe they were light approach/climbing shoes and not just sneakers. I'm sure that as these speed hikes become more en vogue, especially as they get publicized, the gens du pays will be all over it. Then the PGHM will have their hands so full that they cannot possibly attend to all in trouble. There will be lightweight running teams all over the Massif in addition to alpinists who have already bought their rescue insurance from the Club Alpin Francais. Who gets hauled off first? As I remember the storms in the Mt Blanc were not selective. Get your popcorn.
The light and fast thing has been taken to extremes long ago. It just wasn't popular because most recognized you could get snuffed in an alpine storm very quickly. Success breeds contempt or at the least more risk taking. Larry Bruce and I rescued two Austrian 'alpinists' off the Eiger Nordwand way back in the dark ages in 78. They made it to the traverse of the gods in track suits, no stove, one ice axe each, one pr of crampons between them, one rope and the food was gone. All this in the face of a huge storm being forecast by the Meteo at Geneva Airport and it was November. Turns out that they were very experienced rock climbers but had little alpine time and wanted to do it in a day.What a mistake. The storm arrived as we summited the next day then the fun really began. but that is another story.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Sep 9, 2013 - 11:33am PT
Going for it and stretching it thin has always been a beloved tradition in some circles, while others prefer to take the things necessary to take care of themselves if things go bad quickly.

This dude was playing sport climbing on a North face.

I don't care what his name is, screw him, and thank god for rescuers.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Sep 9, 2013 - 11:55am PT
Kids these days!

Like the man said, it's a fine line between 'badass' and 'dumbass'. Mostly depending on whether you pull it off or not.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
He's not just a "sport climber" or a runner. Shouldn't take much work on Google to find him doing this same thing just over the hill on the other side of Mt. Blanc. Or on the Matterhorn. He's pretty comfortable and experienced moving very fast in alpine environments.This might have been another step, but it's hardly unprecedented for him.
I'm not sure I see this as much different than Honnold or Croft, or any number of other Alpine or Himalayan climbers. Or Harding and Rowell on the south face of Half Dome (who did have to get rescued). If you push boundaries, you increase the chance that things go wrong.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
There should be no legislation on how people approach the mountains. On the other hand, there should be no guarantee of rescue.
People like Jornet go equipped as they do with the full knowledge that rescue is just a helicopter away. They are using a critical resource to add safety, and therefore help expedite, their speed ascents and traverses. So be it.....but if their rescue was necessitated because they weren't properly equipped they should be made to PAY for it. That would give likeminded souls pause.
Deekaid

climber
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
yep! Mr Donini
Deekaid

climber
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
and sometimes they will have to pay the ultimate price
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
My comment about SAR was a reflection of Donini's sentiment.

What if the SAR to which they are entitled was equipped similarly :-)... Perhaps in ultralight vehicles (bicycles?), with ultralight gear... Maybe just 40 GU packets.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:42pm PT
if their rescue was necessitated because they weren't properly equipped they should be made to PAY for it.


sorry, but this is a terrible idea.

who gets to decide what constitutes "proper equipment"? most of the clusters i see at the crags and in the mountains involving actual "climbers" are by gumbies loaded down with stacks of shiny gear.

"proper equipment" is going to be determined/regulated by the relevant legal authority (remember the rangers at rainer jumping up and down on ice axes?), and thus subject to the predictable idiocy. and the existence of that kind of regulation would just reinforce the bad american n00b habit of thinking that the answer to every problem is a piece of gear.

in places like the valley and cham, folks push boundaries precisely because they know that there's a possibility for rescue. i don't see much way of changing that short of allowing everyone to die (which may sound cool until it generates the likely outcome, namely complete closure of access).
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 9, 2013 - 01:14pm PT
The snow/ice rib just below the top is a very prominent part of the route, and while not long, it does steepen near its top, at the base of a short widish crack...

... they probably didn't have a ladder of kicked steps that they could follow, or...

... maybe they feared the wide!
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 9, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
i don't see much way of changing that short of allowing everyone to die (which may sound cool until it generates the likely outcome, namely complete closure of access).
This is indeed a possible outcome. When the "taxpayers" have had enough of rescuing people who ignore common sense.
Bad weather had been forecast for the coming week yet they proceeded un prepared.
Sure, they almost made it to the top. But they didn't.
Going out prepared for forecasted bad weather is one thing. Going out clearly unprepared is another.

Such disregard for the cost of a likely outcome puts the sport as a whole at risk of regulation. Regulation which the "taxpayers" would rationally argue is necessary and fair.

Put another way: Kilian Jornet and partner should have known better. They were irresponsible.
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