Les Grandes Jorasses

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Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 13, 2012 - 02:59pm PT
"If Mont Blanc is the King of the Alps, then the Grandes Jorasses is the dark and shady counterpart. It's a north face that defines all north faces: a sweep of steep granite that stretches for over a kilometre in length and rises 1200 meter high that sucks in the alpinists gaze. It's not the sheer size of the thing but also the quality and huge variation in climbing that makes this peak such a target for seasoned alpinists" (Jonathan Griffith in Climb 22)

The first ascent of the highest peak of the mountain (Pointe Walker) was by Horace Walker with guides Melchior Anderegg, Johann Jaun and Julien Grange on 30 June 1868. The second-highest peak on the mountain (Pointe Whymper, 4,184 m; 13,727 ft) was first climbed by Edward Whymper, Christian Almer, Michel Croz and Franz Biner on June 24, 1865, using what has become the normal route of ascent and the one followed by Walker's party in 1868.

The summits on the mountain are the following:
 Pointe Croz (4,110 m; 13,484 ft) – named after Michel Croz, a guide from Chamonix
 Pointe Elena (4,045 m; 13,271 ft) – named after Princess Elena of Savoy
 Pointe Margherita (4,065 m; 13,337) – named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I of Italy
 Pointe Walker (4,208 m; 13,806 ft) – named after Horace Walker, who made the first ascent of the mountain
 Pointe Whymper (4,184 m; 13,727 ft) – named after Edward Whymper, who made the first ascent of this, the second-highest summit
 Pointe Young (3,996 m; 13,110 ft) – named after Geoffrey Winthrop Young


The North Face
Roy Tore Fallaas
Roy Tore Fallaas
Credit: Wikipedia

 Éperon Croz : Martin Meier et Rudolf Peters, 1935
 Éperon Walker : Riccardo Cassin, Luigi Esposito et ugo Tizzoni, du 4 au 6 août 1938
 Éperon Marguerite: Jean Couzy et René Desmaison, du 5 au 6 août 1958
 Voie Cavalleri-Mellano ou Éperon nord-ouest : Enrico Cavalieri et Andre Mellano, les 13 et 14 août 1958
 Bonatti-Vaucher : Walter Bonatti et Michel Vaucher, du 6 au 9 août 1964 (ED, VI, A3)
 Le Linceul : René Desmaison et Robert Flematti, du 17 au 25 janvier 1968
 Voie Polonaise directe : H. Furmanik, K. Zdztowieki et A. Heinrich, du 29 au 30 août 1968
 Voie Polonaise 70 : Jacek Poreba, Wojtek Wroz et Eugenius Chrobak, du 24 au 25 juillet 1970
 Couloir central ou couloir japonais : Toku Nakano, Hideo Miyazaki, Kazuhide Seito, Yashuo Kato et Yashuo Kande, du 19 au 29 mars 1972 (ED-, 70º, Vº, A1)
 Voie Gousseault : René Desmaison, Giorgio Bertone et Michel Claret, du 10 au 17 janvier 1973
 Directe de l'Amitié : Louis Audoubert, Michel Feuillarde, Marc Galy et Yannick Seigneur, du 19 au 27 janvier 1974
 Voie Polonaise 75 Wojciech Kurtyka, Jerzy Kukuczka et Lukaszewski, du 3 au 4 août 1975
 Petite McIntyre ou Goulotte McIntyre de gauche : Alex McIntyre, Tim Rhodes et William Todd, juin 1976
 Voie Yougoslave : Janez Gradisar et Igor Herzog, du 4 au 6 août 1976
 Goulottes Mc Intyre-Colton : Nick Colton et Alex MacIntyre du 6 au 7 août 1976 (EX, VI, A1, 90º)
 Scala di Seta : Smith et Sorenson, 1977
 Voie Slovène : Vanja Matijevec, Joze Zupan, Iado Vidimar et Frank Knez, du 17 au 18 juillet 1977
 Rolling Stones : Rutil, Prochaska, Slechta et Svejda, du 24 au 29 juillet 1979
 Knez-Skok : F. Knez et J. Skok, du 23 au 24 août 1980
 Magic Line Christophe Profit et Dominique Radigue, 1983 - départ de gauche du Linceul et sortie directe (ouverte par Hervé Sachetat et Dominique Séguier les 21 et 22 janvier 1983)
 Voie Espagnole : Pedro Pablo González et Paco Aguado, 1983
 Coulée douce : Philippe Delmas et Godefroy Perroux, le 7 septembre 1985 (D, 60°,400m)
 No Siesta, Stanislav Glejdura et Jan Porvaznik, du 21 au 23 juillet 1986 (ED+, 6a, A2, 90ª)
 Extreme Dream : Jean-Marc Boivin et Gérard Vionet-Fuasset, du 29 au 30 décembre 1987
 Directissime Gabarrou Hervé Bouvard et Patrick Gabarrou du 27 juin au 1er juillet 1986 (ABO inf, 7a, A2)
 Manitua : Slavko Sveticic, du 8 au 10 juillet 1991 (ED, 70º, 6c, A3+.) Onsight and solo.
 Cristal Palace : Ivano Ghirardini, du 16 au 17 août 1991
 L'Enfant et la Colombe, Marc Batard, du 29 décembre au 6 janvier 1992 (V+, A2)
 Le Chemin des Etoiles : Jean-Christophe Lafaille, du 23 au 25 avril 1992
 Gabarrou-Appertet : Christian Appertet et Patrick Gabarrou, du 19 au 21 juillet 1992
 Alexis Patrick Gabarrou et Benoît Robert du 23 au 25 juillet 1993
 Rêve éphémère d'alpiniste, Ivano Ghirardini, du 23 au 24 juin 1994
 Michto : Aubert et Jean-Christophe Lafaille, hiver 1997
 Eldorado : Valery Babanov, du 16 au 27 juillet 1999 (ED+ 80º, A3/A4, 6b)
 Décalage : Jean-Christophe Lafaille, 8 jours en avril 1999
 La Belle Hélène : Andy Parkin, 1999
 A Leï : Patrick Gabarrou, Philippe Batoux et Benoit Robert, 2003
 Voie Desecures-Robach : Desecures et Robach - 2003
 Ma-Ika : Sokolowski et Wlodarczak, 2004
 Le Nez : Mauro "Bubu" Bole et Mario Cortese, 10 jours de juillet à septembre 2005
 Heidi : Philippe Batoux, Christophe Dumarest et Patrick Gabarrou, 2005
 Hugues d'en haut : Patrick Gabarrou et Coranotte, le 22 septembre 2008

Source: Wikipedia
PeteC

climber
Oct 13, 2012 - 03:14pm PT
Grande Jorasse from our second descent ski line, March 2010...
Grande Jorasse from our second descent ski line, March 2010...
Credit: PeteC
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Oct 13, 2012 - 03:48pm PT
That is climbing porn. No two ways about it.
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Oct 13, 2012 - 03:51pm PT
One of my good friends and climbing partners, bitd, Dave Stutzman (RIP) told me this hair raising story about his ascent of the Cassin Route/Walker Spur (Esperon Walker/the red line in that pic) back in the early 70's!

Evidently they were somewhere around or past the halfway point and the weather started to deteriorate rapidly. Climber's below were bailing and choppers were snatching those above them, that had managed to summit, off the top. They pressed on, didn't have a choice, and then things got really wicked.

Around three quarters of the way they encounter a Spanish team (2) who had given up. They let them tie in and follow (rescued them). At that point I asked Dave "Did they know any english?" Dave's brow furrowed as he reflected back for a moment. Suddenly his face lights up, a smile breaks out and he says, "Yeah, they new one word at least, HELLLLLLLP!" lol

So it turns out to be this huge killer storm and everyone expected them to be statistics. They couldn't be pulled off the summit either, but managed to make the descent on their own. And the storm continued on for days afterwards. There was a lot more to it, starting with spindrift avie's and then getting pelted by heavier stuff, bone chilling and finger numbing cold, etc.! But the main jest of it...they survived by the skin of their teeth. Particularly the Spaniards, cuz apparently they would have definitely perished had they not continued on!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 13, 2012 - 04:56pm PT
Allons enfants de les montagnes, le jour de gloire est arrive!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 13, 2012 - 06:20pm PT
I have the Washburn photo over one of my mantelpieces.


Read Bonatti's account of '64.
Their ropes were cut by rockfall in 5 places and tied back together.
The leader had to fourth class while the second carried both packs!!!!!
steve shea

climber
Oct 13, 2012 - 07:39pm PT
I spent eight days at the Leschaux hut in autumn 78. The guardian had just vacated for the season leaving behind a treasure in tomme de savoie, eggs and cheap vin rouge. Had plans for the Walker but instead ate, hunted crystals and drank the vino. The weather was great. When the goods ran out went for the Colton/Macyntre. Descended to Entreves and Maison di Phillipo, on Chouinards suggestion, for more food. The Grand Boeuff on sunday eve was out of this world. The largest bowl of grappa I have ever seen concluded the meal. Second best, no third best tour I had in five years in the Massif Du Mt Blanc. First was on the Italian side of the Monte Bianco but another story. SS
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 13, 2012 - 07:49pm PT
An earlier Grandes Jorasses thread: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=745785

"Grandes Jorasses. Sperone Walker" by Alessandro Gogna. http://www.libreriadellanatura.com/grandes-jorasses-sperone-walker.html

Ron
5 places? Is that how the legend goes?
hellcyon

climber
Oct 13, 2012 - 10:05pm PT
Keepin the dream alive
Keepin the dream alive
Credit: hellcyon
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Oct 14, 2012 - 02:35am PT
Cassin - Esposito - Tizzoni
Cassin - Esposito - Tizzoni
Credit: splitter

Jubilant after compleating the Walker Spur ~ 8/7/38
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2012 - 04:30am PT
Climbing the Walker Spur

Climbing Le Linceul

Climbing the Colton MacIntyre
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2012 - 04:45am PT
The risk
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2012 - 04:50am PT
La traversée Rochefort Jorasses
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Oct 14, 2012 - 05:00am PT
GDavis - That is climbing porn. No two ways about it.

Man, you took the words right out of my mouth, and the thoughts right out of my head. Particularly after watching the above vids! I wish I would have moved to Cham and focused on alpinism. Had spent a lot more time in the high country & Canadian Rockies preparing to go to the Alps, rather then rockclimbing as a be all and end all.

I initially got interested in climbing by reading 'The White Spider' and 'Starlight & Storm'! Now I wish I would have focused on that (alpinism). So much cooler, imo!
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Oct 14, 2012 - 08:05am PT
Marlowe-

Thanks for your posts.
Video really gives a sense of what it is like up there.
It was also great to hear French again along with the climbing.
steve shea

climber
Oct 14, 2012 - 12:33pm PT
Yes, thanks for the vid's. Funny, I just reread Gervasutti's Climbs this week. He was in the mix for the Walker as well but missed it by a day and ended up doing the East Face. The Colton/MacIntyre is a great climb. harder than the Eiger IMHO, but not as long or commiting. I lived in the region a long time and have few regrets about not doing certain routes. But the Walker is one. I thought I'd save it, that I'd always have the chance. But time got away from me. Maybe it's not too late... Yeah man, the White Spider, Entre Terre et Ciel, Buhl, Bonaitti, Gervasutti, Terray those were the reads that got my attention. Yosemite and rock climbing was just a stepping stone. Groupe de Haute Montagne heli rescue pilots are among the best anywhere
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Steve

They've got "their own" book: L'epopee du secours dans le massif du Mont-Blanc.
In Extremis - Blaise Agresti
In Extremis - Blaise Agresti
Credit: In Extremis - Blaise Agresti
Dave Davis

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 14, 2012 - 04:21pm PT
Great videos-thanks!Did the Walker in an icy late Sept. with my friend Mike Hill many moons ago. Other than the unplanned bivy, the crowds were non existent and the weather was magnificent. One of my all-time favorite climbs.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 14, 2012 - 04:27pm PT
Where do they keep the giraffes, anyway?
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2012 - 04:50pm PT
Mighty Hiker
I'm not sure why you ask, but if you're thinking of Canadian giraffes, I think they're mostly kept in the refrigerator to cool them down.
Dave Davis

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 15, 2012 - 09:25pm PT
Nothing quite like a Canadian giraffe straight from the tap.
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Oct 15, 2012 - 09:56pm PT
Mighty Hiker - Where do they keep the giraffes, anyway?

Marlowe - Not sure what your saying, but...

Beer Giraffe - table top beer dispenser working by gravity.

Perhaps it's MH way of saying (using Canook shorthand), " That looks great and I'm game, only thing I wanna know before I arrive is, where do they keep...!"
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Oct 15, 2012 - 10:10pm PT
Or perhaps MH is on the wild & ever so popular Great Canookian Giraffe hunt, and was simply looking fer clues from yer neck of the woods that he could apply to his 'neck of the woods'...

Dunno fer sure. cuz, although i grew up in and around them, individualy & collectively often times their ways and thought processes remain somewhat of an enigma!

edit: regardless, they have managed to produce some fine alpinist over the years, though ... wish i would have been one of them!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Oct 15, 2012 - 10:12pm PT
Grand View
Grand View
Credit: Charlie D.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Oct 16, 2012 - 08:50am PT
From the Italian side....
Credit: Charlie D.
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
Oct 16, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
Lucky enough to snag the Walker in Aug. '88 with Jim Dockery. Are you on this site Jim? T'was the best alpine route I've every done! The pics posted above are climbing porn. GDavis has it right.

Doug
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Oct 16, 2012 - 01:05pm PT
I'm thinking he's making a subtle reference to a climb in Eldorado Canyon called Grand Giraffe, which supposedly was named as a play on words from Grandes Jorasses. It's not even close to being in the same league, kinda like comparing pee-wee football to the NFL.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2012 - 01:21pm PT
Grand Giraffe, Eldorado Canyon, The Americas
Grand Giraffe, Eldorado Canyon, The Americas
Credit: Mountain project
Grand Giraffe, Eldorado Canyon, The Americas
"This is a long route starting from the top of the upper ramp. The crux is a slightly overhanging offwidth crack, and the rest of the route is characterized by moderate but very vertical and exposed face climbing. The route is traditionally 5-7 pitches, although we did it in 3 with a 70 meter rope, with minimal drag."
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Oct 16, 2012 - 01:33pm PT
Yeah, (sorry off-topic) I was sucked into this one when I first started climbing in 1972, I think it was rated 5.8 in the original High Over Boulder. I definitely used a little "up rope" action as I seconded in that OW.
John Marts

Mountain climber
Edmonds, WA
Oct 24, 2012 - 02:54am PT
In 1968, the famous Scott Davis of the El Cap Heart Route and I were camping in the Biolet at Chamonix. Despite a bad weather year in the Alps, we climbed the Bonatti Pillar of the Petite Dru, and the East Face of the Aiguille de Fou (each first one day ascents) and then set our sights on the L'Eperon Walker Classic Cassin route.
With bad weather forecast, Scott took our limousine on a side trip to Milan. Naturally, a window of good weather blew in, and so I paired up with Paul "Tut" Brathwaite. We were held up on the Leschaux Glacier approach and got a later start than we planned.
We bivouaced high on the ridge just above the Red Tower and watched as a front approached at first light, bringing snow and high wind conditions.
Tut, who had enormous reach, was able to lead the friction slab. We climbed into sunshine just at the Pointe Whymper. Storms were coming in from the North and West and the wind soon picked up and we were enveloped in clouds. We descended in lightning, slab avalanches and then rain all the way to a fabulous British dinner of pasta and sardines just above Courmayeur. Back to Chamonix under Mt. Blanc to find that 5 Japanese climbers had perished in the storm on one of Mt. Blanc's buttresses just a couple of miles away.
Scott had ascended half way up the Walker starting from Chamonix with a replacement, only to retreat in the storm; rappeling through the storm and avalanches.
Kind of an epic for all four of us.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Oct 24, 2012 - 10:02am PT
I have vivid memories of the Walker Spur.

In 1975, some of my friends were in Chamonix. I was burning the candle at both ends, finishing up my degree during the day, and working the midnight shift at G.E.
I managed to get a 2 week vacation from G.E. and flew over to Chamonix specifically to climb the Walker.
I went up with Roger Martin, a N.H. climber who I knew well.
We were over half way up, when we got hit by a bad storm. The rock was covered in verglass and we had a harrowing retreat. It was pretty grim and we made it down by the skin of our teeth.

I took a few days off, and went to visit a girl friend, living near Annecy.

When I returned to Chamonix, John Bouchard talked me into going back up to try the Walker Spur.
Again, we got hit by a horrendous storm, while climbing the last 100 feet,
along with a very young, Voytek Kurtyka and his Polish partner.

Kurtyka and Bouchard both were shocked by the lightning, but Bouchard got the brunt of it, having burn holes thru his wool mittens and out his socks.
Many years after this epic, Voytek was interviewed by Greg Child, and the Polish legend, stated that this storm was perhaps his most frightening experience in the mountains.

Bouchard was at first pretty shaken up and in great pain but thankfully recovered quickly. We all bivied just below the summit.
steve shea

climber
Oct 24, 2012 - 10:18am PT
Good stories John and Steve! Nothing like a true alpine storm to get your attention plus add to your sense of accomplishment. SS
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 24, 2012 - 11:02am PT
John, about time you showed up here! :-)
You still have your RD's?
Hope you're doing well.

Reilly
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 24, 2012 - 11:29am PT
Whew! Yeah!
John Marts

Mountain climber
Edmonds, WA
Oct 24, 2012 - 02:53pm PT
Reilly my sterling friend!
Of course I still have the RD's and they still don't work so well.....
Good thing I have a full rack of Leepers, and Salathe pitons.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Oct 24, 2012 - 05:24pm PT
The lower flanks of LGJ from Courmayeur:
Courmayeur
Courmayeur
Credit: Charlie D.
John Marts

Mountain climber
Edmonds, WA
Oct 24, 2012 - 11:25pm PT
Great photo!

Always wondered what the descent would look like.
Mark Tache

Trad climber
Aspen, CO
Oct 25, 2012 - 03:57pm PT
Shea... never knew your complete history... hats off to your chapter in Chamonix!
Dave Davis

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 26, 2012 - 08:11pm PT
Mr. Marts
Fancy meeting you here. How's your supply of ring angles and Cassin verticals?
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2012 - 06:20am PT
Les Grandes Jorasses in winter (Vertical no. 37, sept/oct 2003)
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 28, 2012 - 11:08am PT
Marlow, tres bien!
Borut

Mountain climber
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dec 28, 2012 - 04:34pm PT
still dreaming of the Jorasses
Borut

Mountain climber
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dec 29, 2012 - 09:16am PT
but i remember seing RD climb
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 17, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
Alexandre Marchesseau and Remy Peschier at the Colton MacIntyre at Grandes Jorasses
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 17, 2013 - 05:32pm PT
Great thread Marlow!

I posted the Alessandro Gogna Commentary from Mountain here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/745785/Grandes-Jorasses-Commentary-Alessandro-Gogna-1973
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 17, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
Steve

Thanks for linking Gogna's commentary!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 17, 2013 - 08:57pm PT
Ya got a great thread started, RT. Love the stuff on the French Riviera.

Seriously, I'm not in the mood for ice climbing, though it is crazy enough to appeal at this late, safe stage in my, ahem, climbing career. I never ever thought it possible that I might entertain the notion...I'm a Californian, I've taught myself to avoid snow unless it's for a good reason. It's easy to forget how many have to adapt to it to live.

My interest's there, but nothing will come of it. It's too arcane a pastime to dedicate any of my meager resources to it. I seriously intend to refit my body adequately to get some rock climbing in this spring. When summer comes I'll be ready to travel...

Here's a question you can answer for me, if you will. The Peuterey Ridge is not considered to be part of the Grandes Jorasses, it it? It does lead to the summit of MB, but my knowledge of the massif is sketchy and my favorite old book of mine with maps, Wilfrid Noyce's Atlas of World Mountaineering, is now history. It had very easy to follow line drawings which followed ridges and delineated glacial valleys in black ink.
Rather like this,
Credit: mouse from merced
only from directly above. More like a topo, actually, but w/o hachures.

So, if I were to go to the top of this ridge, via the Aiguille Noire (sure, you betcha) and continued to the top, to the point called MB de Courmayeur, what would I need to do to claim an ascent of the Grandes Jorasses, or is this impossible? Would I need to go start someplace else?

Am I on the wrong side? The wrong country? Where's Mouse? Lost again!!

Keep on keepin' us knowlegeable.

Note: Roy T. referred me to the genereal populace--Great post Mouse, post it on the GJ thread. Mouse is much better lost than Marlow is informed. Much appreciated!



Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 17, 2013 - 09:20pm PT
Mouseman, you having us on or is geography not yer strong suit? ;-)
Wrong mountain and you'd better like snow if'n yer gonna do that and then
head to Les Jorasses! :-)
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 17, 2013 - 09:33pm PT
WAIT A MINUTE...

Reilly, AM I GONNA DIE?

I don't wanna! I don't even want to get lost.

I'd like to go to Chamonix, take a telepherique up wherever, come down again, check out the M from a bar, talk sh#t, then go and go take a pee.

Sound good?

No, seriously, I am quite baffled by the geography of the massif (because I haven't been there--if I've been someplace, I don't get lost easily, I have my bearings), but also fascinated by the tenacity of people (climbers as well as others) in dealing with such a huge establishment.

My own particular favorite armchair cruise would be the Central Pillar of Fresno. Just jiving...which is one of the only connections to Yosemitay which I can dig up, which is Roger Breedloof's fault anyway.

Frenziedly, MFM.

North?  Magnetic or Oliver?
North? Magnetic or Oliver?
Credit: mouse from merced
As I thought I indicated to Marylebone, I know not which part of the massif is which from here, due to lack of mappage and overall distance.

My sense of direction is good. I need a starting point other than just the summit of the beast. And I haven't a good map, too lazy to check the net.

Where do I go from the campanile in Berkeley? Or Bowditch Street at Frat Row? Can I get there from Anders' place?

For years after I met Patrique Cordier, a Frenchman who climbed the Salathe in 1972, I dreamed of a nice dry summer in the Alps. PC was enthusiastic, to say the least, about the Alps.

After wanting to do some of the things he talked about, I was tempted. Jackass. Too much or too little trust in the weather, says I, years later, and abandoned the idea of ever trying European alpinism. It wasn't Berkeley enough.

Tim, my brother, had an experience of horrid financial dismemberment from a season spent trying to compete in speed skiikng in Europe, mid-seventies. There was no snow!! Dry as a California July! Two months he wasted. Ruined him.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2013 - 11:33am PT
Mouse.

Thanks for posting.

Here is some geography:
Les Grandes Jorasses and Mont Blanc in the white area a bit out to the...
Les Grandes Jorasses and Mont Blanc in the white area a bit out to the right from the center of the map.
Credit: Marlow
Les Grandes Jorasses to the left, then Les Aiguilles de Chamonix in th...
Les Grandes Jorasses to the left, then Les Aiguilles de Chamonix in the middle and dressed in white to the right Mont Blanc. Seen from the north.
Credit: Marlow
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 18, 2013 - 11:38am PT
So many aiguille, so little time...
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2013 - 11:47am PT
... which makes it a good life for sport climbers and dreamers like Marlow... Lol...
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 18, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
Here you go... the Grandes Jorasses on the left, Dent du Géant in the middle and Mont Blanc on the right. The big glacier heading out of the bottom right corner is the Mer de Glace. This was 26 September 2011. Normally the massif doesn't look this 'clean' in September but there'd been a storm a day or so before.

Credit: jaaan
steve shea

climber
Jan 18, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
Hey Mouse, jaaan's photo clearly shows the upper Peuterey Integrale and matches your topo/drawing that you posted. The huge rock buttress in the sunlight is the Eckpfeiler/Grand Pilier d'Angle. The Bonatti/Gobi is on the lit up portion with the big ice/mixed routes to the right. Also Mt. Blanc de Coumayeur can be seen as the sharp summit still some meters from the top. The integrale is a Himalayan scale route summiting some very remote and spectacular features. Some have been skied. The Eckpfeiler is fantastic and the site of many interesting and remote routes which is a full day in itself. Once you climb the buttress and gain the Peuterey you still have a long haul to the summit at over 15 thousand feet then a descent to the Grand Mulets Hut if you are returing to Cham. The Eckpfeiler and upper Integrale are accessed from Chamonix via the Midi and Heilbronner freaks. Then a bivy at the Brenva then a dangerous run don't walk type of approach under groaning seracs of the Brenva face to the bottom of the route. The photo also shows Mt. Blanc du Tacul in the right foreground and of course the Dent du Geant and the Jorasses to the left.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 18, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
And another - for fun - looking in the other direction, down to the Mer de Glace. The Aiguille Verte is in the middle of the photo (the mighty Dru just a bump on its lefthand ridge) and to its right the Droites and the Courtes standing above the little Talefre glacier (the last photo was taken while the plane was over flying this). On the left side of the photo are the Grepon and the Requin. You can just make out the Requin hut perched on the rocks - just up and left of the wing tip. The Grandes Jorasses is out of shot on the right.

Credit: jaaan

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 19, 2013 - 11:04am PT
Waltzing with Walt. A little part of the great story told by Duane Raleigh - January 2013 in Rock and Ice - from the Grandes Jorasses - the Croz Spur:

Credit: Duane Raleigh. January 2013 in Rock and Ice.
Credit: Duane Raleigh. January 2013 in Rock and Ice.
Degaine

climber
Jan 19, 2013 - 11:16am PT
Hey Marlow,

The third image you posted, the one below the map, is taken from Lac Blanc, and the building is the original hut that was subsequently (can't remember what year) decapitated due to a huge avalanche. The ground floor is still used by the hut manager and his team.

Just about everyone who has hiked around Chamonix has a photo of Les Grandes Jorasses/La Mer de Glace/Les Aiguilles taken from that spot.

For those interested, the Walker Spur (Eperon Walker) is 5+/6a rock climbing, and in dry years has little to no snow or ice. Still have to descend the regular route down the south face that, due to the glaciers thinning and receding, is now very exposed to serac fall.
Degaine

climber
Jan 19, 2013 - 11:18am PT
Hey jaan,

To be a bit pedantic, but technically the Mer de Glace starts at the confluence of the Leschaux and Tacul glaciers. In your second photo you are looking down the séracs du Géant and the bottom of the Tacul glacier with the beginning of the Mer de Glace when everything breaks left and out of the photo.

For the naming, Mer = Sea in French, and when the glacier was much higher (lost over 100 meters in thickness since 1990) the crevasses/folds in the glacier looked like waves from the Montenvers. Here's a photo from 1949:
http://www.glaciers-climat.fr/Mer_de_glace/1949.jpg
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 19, 2013 - 11:22am PT
Degaine

Thanks for the comments.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 19, 2013 - 11:47am PT
@ Degaine:
Yes I know that, but if I'd said Glacier du Tacul, no-one would have known what I was talking about (apart from you...)! And then of course higher up its called the Glacier du Géant. Three names in a couple of kilometres, so overall Mer de Glace seemed more appropriate to orient folks.

Edit: Check out my photo on UKC and the links underneath for more shrinking Mer de Glace photos: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=180060
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 19, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
no-one would have known what I was talking about

Au contraire, mon ami! Toutes Americaines ain't bucolic rubes! :-)
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 19, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
Au contraire, mon ami! Toutes Americaines ain't bucolic rubes! :-)

OK, I agree... and I'll forget that you've just said "... all American women..."!

Let's say Reilly that the glacier in question has three names depending on where abouts along its length you look. In both my photos all three sections can be seen so calling it the Mer de Glace is not wrong, but more importantly, a lot of folk don't know the layout, (Mouse, for instance, who is after all who Marlow was directing his comments at, and hence my photos) but will probably have heard of the Mer de Glace.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 19, 2013 - 01:17pm PT
While we are taking a classical stroll through the Alps, let's match some names to the peaks. A great alpine ice climbing survey from Mountain.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1363950/Ice-Climbing-In-The-Alps-Historical-Survey-Mountain-27-1973

If you would like something a little more recent. The Classic Ice Primer!

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=382806&msg=2043646#msg2043646
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 19, 2013 - 01:27pm PT
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mer_de_Glace

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 19, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
The Faces of Grandes Jorasses
North Face - Colton MacIntyre in red
North Face - Colton MacIntyre in red
South Face
South Face
East Face
East Face
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 19, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
Marlow, what is referred to on your old map as the Glacier du Géant is on modern maps the Glacier du Tacul. Where it says Cascade is the Géant Icefall (the Séracs du Géant) and above that - off your map - is the Glacier du Géant. The Glacier du Tacul is directly below the Aiguille du Tacul, which is where its name comes from... not to be confused, of course, with Mont Blanc du Tacul which stands above the upper part of the Glacier du Géant!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 19, 2013 - 01:40pm PT
Fantastic links Steve!

Jaaan - Thanks for the information. Strange that the glaciers change name. Maybe you could draw a schematic update? A cool version would be if modern map-makers have made mistakes.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 19, 2013 - 02:08pm PT
Here's a not very good scan of the map. You can just see the 'CE' of Mer de Glace at the top of the map. The glacier joining it from the right is the Glacier de Leschaux (Leschaud on your old map) and this is where the name changes to Tacul - note the Clocher de Tacul at the extreme right of the map, which is a little rock spire and a part of the Aiguille de Tacul (Mont Tacul on your old map) which is just off the map. Higher, above the Séracs du Géant is the Glacier du Géant. At the lower lefthand side of the map you can see the rocky buttresses of Mont Blanc du Tacul (the summit and name are again just off the map). Interestingly if you find the Pyramide du Tacul, you'll see a steep little glacier bay to its left/west. The prominent narrow buttress at back righthand side (looking up it) is the famous Gervasutti Pillar. Sorry the scan isn't better.

Credit: jaaan
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 20, 2013 - 06:04am PT
To get back on topic, here's a scan of the map showing the approach up the Glacier de Leschaux with the tiny Leschaux hut on its right bank, the Grandes Jorasses, and part of the descent route/Voie Normale into the Italian Val Ferret. Note of course for accuracy that the part of the glacier that flows down under the north face is the Glacier du Mont Mallet and this becomes (or flows into) the Glacier de Leschaux at some undefined point... The two big prominent rocky spurs projecting from the north face are the Croz Spur (left) and the Walker Spur (right).

For anyone interested in ski touring in Cham... find the Brèche Puiseux on the Périades ridge opposite the north face of the Jorasses. On the west side of the brèche you'll see a diagonal couloir dropping down to the Périades Glacier. So, Take the téléphérique to the Midi and ski the Vallée Blanche down to the Salle à Manger under the Requin hut. Now skin up the Glacier des Périades and then carry your skis up the couloir. A short rap down the other side leads onto the left bank Glacier du Mont Mallet which you ski in a fabulous position under the Jorasses to eventually join the Vallée Blanche again via the Leschaux glacier.

Credit: jaaan

Here are those spurs again, the Walker on the left and the Croz in the middle. As I said further up, these photos were taken just after a storm. The wintery appearance of the north face is deceptive - it's no more than a decorative sprinking of powder - a few days before the storm the face was completely black. This does tend to fool people into immediately going up there expecting runnels of perfect snow ice...

Credit: jaaan
steve shea

climber
Jan 20, 2013 - 11:08am PT
That is the way the Faces Nord use to look most of the time. In my 4 plus years there in the 70's, you could basically climb any mixed or ice route any time you wanted in the summer. As a matter of fact when we did the Dru Coulor direct in summer of 77 the ice grew in thickness by feet while we were on the route. We got hit by a massive storm with rain sleet snow freeze thaw etc. It was only a few rungs on the ladders down to the Mer. And camping under the Midi freak cables, you could hear seracs crashing all the time because the Boisson terminated just above town in those days. We used to ski powder at the Plan de l'Aguilles many times after big summer storms. Our biggest consideration given all alpine objective dangers and conditions to plan for was lightning. In summer at least. We got what we wanted. Pre climate change.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 20, 2013 - 12:31pm PT
Climate change? Climate change?
Credit: mouse from merced
Thanks, Steve, Reilly, and Jaan and everyone. My knowledge of the region is now clarified and improved by geant leaps and bounds or baby steps and this is in between. That's a lot of ground to cover in that massive collection of sharp objects called the Alps, as we bucolics know the mts of Europe, GENERALLY.

Not changing subject, but the word "alp" itself is not used in France by the French, is it, particularly in regard to the areas under discussion? We tend to lump things together, as humans. The European typically seems to see Indians, where I might see Osage or Ojibwe or Crow, orNative Amkericanos, for instance...We 'mericans see alps in Europe, which we'd just label mountains here at home, except in Northern California's Trinity area.

Hence the often-misleading and confusing terms alp, alps, and the legitimate confusion of the geek in the armchair. FOR INSTANCE, the term alp has been explained to me to mean just the meadow, as in "the cows are pastured in the alps among the Alps" not in the the mountains, and I tended to disparage the term as used to describe a mountain simply from pride of knowing better. It's all in the accepted use, and the dictionary is specific in theat an alp is a "HIGH MTN", and alps is a back-formation of Alps, meaning the Ranges of Europe.

My pedantry is gross. I try to control it. I disgust myself when I apprehend pendantry in my speech. Sometimes alprentend it never happened.

So this in practicality tells me that my hero Gervasutti died a long ways from the GJ, on Mt. Blanc du Tacul. I'm getting somewhere. He already had done the GJ when he died, I believe after several attempts.


jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 20, 2013 - 01:07pm PT
Well yes, the French do use the word alps to describe the chain of mountains that we call the alps. Google 'les Alpes'. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpes
You are of course correct about its original meaning.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 20, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
From "Les mots de la montagne", Sylvain Jouty:

Alpe
Au singulier, le mot alpe peut designer soit un alpage, soit une montagne precise, soit la montagne en general. Le nom vient d'une racine alp, alb, aup, significant "hauteur". Present sous des formes variees dans tote la chaine, il est peut-etre d'origine altaique et, dans son sens le plus courant, designe un paturage d'altitude, c'est-a-dire... un alpage.
Ce que les Suisses entendent par Alpes, c'est moins la chaine de montagnes a laquelle nous donnons cette denomination, que la partie fertile de ces montagnes. (Ramond de Charbonnieres, Lettres de M. Wiliam Coxe a M.W. Melmoth sur l'Etat politique, civil et naturel de la Suisse, augmentees des observations faites par le traducteur, 1781)

The geology of the alpes (from the book - "Les Alpes. Paysages naturels, faune et flore"):
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 22, 2013 - 04:09pm PT
Les Grandes Jorasses - Luca Signorelli on Summitpost: http://www.summitpost.org/grandes-jorasses/150262
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 22, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
Rene Desmaison - 342 hours on the Grandes Jorasses

Rene Desmaison after 342 hours on the Grandes Jorasses
Rene Desmaison after 342 hours on the Grandes Jorasses

Rene Desmaison - obituary in The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/rene-desmaison-396013.html

"During the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, René Desmaison became one of the most famous of a coterie of élite French climbers who redefined alpinism, both in terms of technical difficulty and by raising its public profile. Indeed, when Desmaison appeared in Marcel Ichac's award-winning 1958 mountain docudrama Les Étoiles de Midi ("Stars of Noon"), some mistakenly took the film's title to be a subtle pun, for it effectively showcased the climbing talents of the metaphorical "stars" of the "Midi" (the celebrated mountain L'Aiguille du Midi which towers above the Chamonix valley).

At the time, British climbing was still undergoing a transition from an esoteric sport practised largely by maverick elements of the middle classes, while public perception of the activity remained fixated on quasi-military team efforts on Everest and similar lofty peaks. The French media, however, with more of a tradition of embracing fiercely individualistic feats of athletic endeavour, quickly took an interest in the activities of an emerging band of talented alpinists who pushed the extremes of mountaineering."
Degaine

climber
Jan 23, 2013 - 01:16pm PT
To follow up with the post on the origins / use of the word Alps, in France using the term "Alpes" when talking about geology refers to the crystalline ranges(often granite) that make up the backbone of the chain, as opposed to the "Préalpes" that refer to the lower, most often limestone "foothills". The crystalline ranges often have a high point above 4000m (Mt Blanc range, Ecrins range) where as the limestone ranges usually top out at 3000m tops, but often in the 2400-2700m range.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 23, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
Marlow,

I'm all over that article. I hate posting my name here because I get googled and like the freedom of acting childish and profane without making it easy on employers to hassle me.

The Walt story was pretty funny. It was actually far worse, but Duane caught the spirit of Walt quite well. That summer was magic. Duane had been sitting on that story for twenty years, going back to the days when he edited Climbing. I have some really good photos by Dockery, but I won't post his. Somebody get in touch with him. He was one of the gang for most of the time that summer, although a little more straight and narrow.

I wanted to do the Eiger. It was such a sh#t show that summer that I should have done the Walker Spur. It sounded much safer and not that hard from talking to people we knew and occasionally passed in the middle of the night on some route or other...I went over and spent many days in that little tiny hut at the base of the 38 route waiting on the weather. Nobody from Cham would go over and waste time that summer, so I had plans to just solo it. I never saw above the 2nd icefield, and it had been a dry winter. So most of the ice routes sucked. We did do the Lachenal Route on the Triolet N Face. The Triolet is spooky because of the seracs. I hear nobody does it anymore. Chamonix was truly magic in the Snell's and Bar Nash days. We spent the whole summer there. I have a great Fissure Brown story.

Here is a good one:

Walt Shipley and I toking hash through an ice screw....
Walt Shipley and I toking hash through an ice screw....
Credit: BASE104

Another one taken by Duane on the Lachenal Direct on the Triolet N Face. I didn't know how to put in an ice screw, so he led all of the ice pitches or I soloed mine. Meaning he did the hard ones. That route took quite a while and when we got back down the backside I was as tired as I've ever been.

Credit: BASE104
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 23, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
The Grandes Jorasses totally dominates the skyline as you walk up the Mer de Glace. It fills the sky. I remember heading up there with Duane to do something or other, and a rescue helicopter went up valley right over our heads. About an hour later it came back with a body, unfortunately a common sight back then. I think somebody died every day on the Mt. Blanc massif that summer, on average. One evening I watched 3 rescues going on at once from the Flammes de Pierres..the safe way to get down to the start of the Bonatti Pillar.

Probably a sad sight for Jan. Frank died on the Shroud, which is the ice face to the left of the summit.

Credit: BASE104
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 23, 2013 - 03:03pm PT
Base

I love the story. Keep posting.
Degaine

climber
Jan 23, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
Base,

Your photo looks like it was taken some time ago, the Linceul, hell the entire north face has just too much ice and snow to have been taken recently.

Here's a more recent photo, taken from the Mer de Glace:

Credit: Degaine
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 23, 2013 - 05:39pm PT
Yeah, that pic was 1984, and 1984 was considered a DRY year. It had been a snow free winter, so the ice routes were almost gone by July. The Eiger was really dry and I dunno if anyone did it that summer. That was the whole reason for going over there, the Eiger.

Although it had been a dry winter, it was a stormy summer, meaning the routes would get a shitload of snow dumped on them and you had to wait a sunny day before going up. It warmed up enough that one day would clean the snow off pretty well. So you needed a 3 day window to do anything long. On the short windows we would go do all of the classics on the Aiguilles.

I was looking at a website a couple of years ago, and some of the classics had lines of parties and were now sport bolted. We would go up there with micro racks and solo anything 5.9 and under. If there was a fixed pin we would clip it. That kind of thing.

If you got stuck in one of those long storms you could get whacked, though. So we were very fast. That was the best shape I was ever in.

Here is a pic of Duane and I just down from some route or other. I sold that Simond Chacal on my red pack to The Dripper, and I sold the state of the art purple plastic Koflach double boots to Dan McDivitt the next year. The dollar was so strong back then that we threw away all of our posessions and flew home with nothing but climbing gear. I remember flying back home in August wearing those double ice boots on the plane!

Duane on the left, me on the right. I was 23. I weighed in at 6 foot and 135 lbs. My resting heart rate was 10 or something. That is why I look dead.

Duane Raleigh (L) Dumbass (R) Home at last...
Duane Raleigh (L) Dumbass (R) Home at last...
Credit: BASE104
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 23, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
Sorry for going all off topic. Back to the Walker Spur, I kick my old fat ass for not doing it when I had the chance. The word that we got was that it was mainly a rock route with lots of fixed gear. The Croz was more of a traditional route, that while technically easier, had a fair amount of mixed climbing. We didn't go over there to do rock routes. Alas, we did do a lot of them anyway. Walt kind of got fixated on doing the Croz. It scared me.

OK. I'm going to go in the other room and tell my wife to kick me in the ass.

Speaking of ass kicking, there is a great Russ the Fish story. A climber died in the valley once and everyone was kind of mopey about it. Someone started saying how they would want their friends to get together and remember him all kindly and stuff.

Fish said he would walk up to his dead body, kick him in the head, and go, "Stupid."
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 05:08am PT
The word that we got was that it was mainly a rock route with lots of fixed gear.

I climbed it in 1990 which was also a very dry year. We put rock boots on at the bottom and took them off on the summit. To my mind, that is optimum conditions for the route. If you guys were looking for a more mixed route then sure, you're right, the Croz was more appropriate (or simply go on the Walker when it's plastered!)

There were quite a few pitons on the route, but I've seen far more on other routes. I had a small rack with me but I'm not sure if I placed much, or indeed, anything...?

The thing that would make me think twice about doing it would be the number of people that might be on it. I lost count of how many we passed - maybe a dozen, maybe more? We passed at least two teams still in their sleeping bags at the base of the Grey Tower. Eventually a Spanish pair who'd been following close behind us passed us on the red slabs nearly at the top.

More interestingly our ascent coincided with Alain Ghersen's ascent during his solo enchainement of the Dru (American Direct), the Grandes Jorasses (the Walker) and Mont Blanc (Peuterey Integrale) - 66 hours Chamonix > Chamonix. http://www.alpinisme.com/FR/histoire-alpinisme/les-drus/index.php?fic=p29 He trailed a short rope behind him as that way it felt lighter and was instantly available should he need it. The problem was that it jammed from time to time. I think I un-jammed it maybe three times. He topped out at about 11:00 am, having left the hut with us at just after midnight. A helicopter landed on the summit at the same time as he arrived there and we obviously assumed that he'd taken it to descend. Later we found that of course it had dropped off a parapente and he used this to glide down to the base of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey. We topped out at 2:00 pm, some 20 minutes after the Spanish, and arrived in the valley at 8:15 pm (by which time Ghersen was probably well up the Aiguille Noire?!) My big regret was that neither my wife nor I had thought of taking a camera!

The following day a friend of mine took the first Montenvers train in the morning, walked up to the Jorasses and soloed the Walker and descended to the Boccalate Refuge - now that's quite some day, eh?
Degaine

climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 05:26am PT
At this point climbing the north face is just not in the cards for me. Risk-reward no longer worth it, especially with the descent route being increasingly dangerous (town ordinance closed the route a year or two ago due to high risk of serac fall). I have a friend who went up and down the south face route (the regular route and descent) in 2008 and said the glacier was not looking so good.

Maybe if the stars align and I am in good alpine shape and the Walker Spur is dry I might consider it. Otherwise perhaps the Hirondelle ridge and then rappel back down that for the descent.

Base, as far as rock routes go, many of the routes on the front and back side of the Aiguilles de Chamonix were put up by Michel Piola (perhaps a few after you were there in the '80s). By California standards some might seem over bolted, but he is known for sparse bolting by local standards, and I've climbed a couple of his mixed (protection) granite routes in and around Chamonix, and the only bolts were on run out slab, and often one bolt for every 4-5 meters.

Of course now most minimally traveled routes have well-bolted belays. Given the alternative at certain belay stances, no issue from my end.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 05:39am PT
Risk-reward no longer worth it

I couldn't agree more! Why ever did we do things like this? The thought of doing it now makes me shiver!

Piola routes - yes, you're right. To some people his name simply means BOLTS, whereas that's just not the case. Certainly he's recently produced quite a few commercially motivated consumer routes, but equally some very bold (almost) trad routes too. You mentioned the Perrons not too long ago... presumably you've climbed up there. Piola's latest route there, le Premier Matin du Monde is such a route with 7a+ climbing and 6c+ oblig - originally he'd said 7a oblig, but knocked that down a bit.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 24, 2013 - 07:37am PT
I've posted this before, but it's interesting in this context to see the difference in snow cover between end of August 1971 when this was taken and later photos. There had not been any recent storms when this was taken either, this was normal snow cover on the Mer de Glace and Grandes Jorasses.


Credit: Jan
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 08:06am PT
As you say Jan, very interesting but I'd say that for the end of August - even in 1971 - that can't really be described as normal. The Leschaux glacier even then would have been dry by late August. Leads me to think that either the slight over exposure of the Leschaux is deceiving me and in fact it's grey(?), or there must have been relatively recent snowfall, despite your recollections. I spent summer of 1971 mostly in Zermatt sitting in a waterlogged tent. We maybe saw the Matterhorn once in two weeks and when we did it was a brilliant white pyramid! We then came over to Chamonix and only managed to climb the M/Pointe Albert in between storms.

I hope Peter Neame won't mind me linking these photos here. Maybe he'll post up the photos later...? (In which case I'll edit this post).

July 1973: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=160899
June 1998: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=177935

I remember alpine summers in the 70s being characterised by really wet snowy weather (this prompted me to abandon the alps for the sun of the western US during 78 and 79). The 90s on the other hand were the opposite with long periods of good weather. The early 2000s were very warm and dry - was it 2003 or 4 when there were record high temperatures? Those high temperatures just melted away years and years worth of snow cover from which I don't think the glaciers will recover (or not for a long time at least). Now it seems the cycle is/has returned to rather worse/wet summer weather.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 24, 2013 - 08:15am PT
Interesting question. I always thought that part of normal in the Alps was lots of days of bad weather even in the summer. In fact, we had better luck climbing in the fall than in summer as it was colder but the weather more reliable in September and October. Now I'm wondering if the years 1970, 71, 72 were abberrations?
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 08:19am PT
Sorry, I just edited my post as you were replying!
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 24, 2013 - 09:27am PT
And I was going to add that my photo was indeed over exposed. They have gotten so dark over time, that I end up over correcting trying to lighten them up. I no doubt should take a course in photoshop.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 10:15am PT
In which case perhaps the Leschaux is dry/grey? Do you still have the original?
steve shea

climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 11:18am PT
In my time there mid to late 70's mid July was about the time good alpine conditions came in and lasted til late Sept. The summers were always snowy and storm ridden however. Sept typically had the best 2 or 3 week window for clear weather. Every year was the same. I do not know what the weather records say but climbing wise the conditions were perfect for mixed and ice. Storm, day or two to clear off, then go for it. I know all the waterfall bred, US expat alpinists living there thought it was fantastic. I for one rarely did rock routes,most of us were there for the ice/mixed. Every summer, usually late Aug., we had our pilgrimage to Grindelwald to have a look at the Eiger NF. Every year it was plastered and looked outrageous. On my forth trip we finally got it, Nov. 79, we waited for winter cold. Summers were just too stormy. Looking at some of jaaan's photos I can see how bad the descents are. Not just the SF Jorasses but the Droites, Grand Charmoz, getting to the Brenva Face, Eckpfeiler etc. It looks bad. Are the Tacul routes still in for summer? Supercouloir, Gabarrou/Albinoni, Gervasutti etc? I do still want to do the Walker. But maybe will change my mind when I see the descent in person. I have not been there sice 1991. Planning to go soon though.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:01pm PT
Here's a shot to give you an idea of general (sort of) current conditions, Steve, taken from the Aiguilles Rouges 26 August 2010:

Credit: jaaan

The Mer de Glace looks sad, doesn't it?
pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
Good grief.
Base - that picture of Duane and Dumbass is at Snell's field, right? 1973?
That looks remarkably like Eric and my tents in the background, mine on the left and Eric's on the right (and Eric and me, for that matter).
steve shea

climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
jaaan, thanks. Yes it looks grim, just a big rubble heap. Sad. We used to be able to glissade/ski off the Droites almost all the way to the Couvercle, no more. Wow, there is nothing left on the NF Charmoz!!
pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
Poor, vestigial thing jaaan!
round the corner of the Mer de Glace - 1973/75?
round the corner of the Mer de Glace - 1973/75?
Credit: pneame
pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
Glacier de Bois - the glacier BELOW the Mer de Glace!
Glacier de Bois - the glacier BELOW the Mer de Glace!
Credit: pneame
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
That was a lot of Jan / jaaan going on there. Keep it coming.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:07pm PT
Jan,

That photo you took, back in 1971 is really nice!

I did the Walker in 1975, and the conditions were very similar to the photo image. We barely took our crampons off on the entire route. A real adventure!
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Wow, there is nothing left on the NF Charmoz!!

No, almost nothing. However, a few weeks of rain and it's transformed. Here it is on the 14 June 2012:

Credit: jaaan
steve shea

climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Nice! It used to have that perennial gorgeous upper ice field with just a few runnels leading up. In that photo it looks changed even with all the snow. Great photos jaaan. Brings back great memories.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
Wow Peter, that 'round the corner... ' shot of yours - the hanging glacier in the middle of the shot - maybe the Envers de Blaitière(?) - has all but gone now!

Edit: I said hanging glacier... in fact it appears that it might join up with the Glacier du Tacul/Mer de Glace, but unfortunately that bit is obscured!

Here's another showing the Talefre basin better, with the Verte, Droites, Courtes and Triolet on the skyline. I reckon the Talefre glacier just won't be there in another few years.

Credit: jaaan
steve shea

climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:56pm PT
Wow. From the breche des Droites it was only a couple of raps to the snow. In your last photo it looks like 500 meters!!! And the Nant Blanc Face, unbelievable! Gone.
pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
Jan 24, 2013 - 02:11pm PT
It doesn't quite reach round the base of the Requin ridge - this was taken either in 75 or 76 -
Aig du Requin from the path below the Envers hut
Aig du Requin from the path below the Envers hut
Credit: pneame

The shot of the Talefre basin is very sad indeed, Jon. I hadn't realized it had retreated so much.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 02:13pm PT
Thanks for that - shame it didn't quite reach! While we're about it, here's the Tour Glacier...

2012
2012
Credit: jaaan

I've got some better shots of it. I'll add them when I find them.

Glacier du Tour:

2010
2010
Credit: jaaan

And the Argentière side of the Droites and the Verte:

2010
2010
Credit: jaaan





jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 24, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
And the Nant Blanc Face, unbelievable! Gone.

No Steve, the picture has deceived you! The face you see there is the face with the Y couloir in it, above the Charpoua. The Nant Blanc is on the back of that. Probably a lot less snowy than you remember, I'll grant you! In fact you can see the Nant Blanc in the photo just above this post.
steve shea

climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
jaaan so right! I was shocked to see so much glacier recession. One bit of good news is that here in the Tetons the Black Ice Couloir has returned. It is not to its former size but a few cold snowy winters and cool summers have allowed the glace to stay and build. Thanks again for posting the photos.
Degaine

climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
Yeah, the glaciers in Chamonix have taken a big hit in the last 12 years.

Here's a good site (in French) that has great comparison photos:
http://www.glaciers-climat.fr/Glaciers_du_Mont_Blanc_Accueil.html

The lower part of the Argentière glacier (below the major ice fall) has finally separated from the upper portion, whereas in 2000 the ice fall's jumble of seracs flowed seamlessly over what now is a cliff separating the "upper" and "lower" glacier.

Anyone who has skied the Vallée Blanche and walked back up to Montevers's upper train station has seen the plaques indicating where the glacier level has been over time starting in 1990. 23 years ago, the glacier came more or less right up to the base of the pulse gondola (that's why they built the bottom station where they did), now the glacier sits 120 meters below.

The snout of the Bossons glacier has significantly receded and looks nothing like it did even 6 years ago.

A lot of rock fall (see West Face of Les Drus) in areas where the permafrost was holding things together.
Degaine

climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 06:35pm PT
jaaan wrote:
Piola routes - yes, you're right. To some people his name simply means BOLTS, whereas that's just not the case. Certainly he's recently produced quite a few commercially motivated consumer routes, but equally some very bold (almost) trad routes too. You mentioned the Perrons not too long ago... presumably you've climbed up there. Piola's latest route there, le Premier Matin du Monde is such a route with 7a+ climbing and 6c+ oblig - originally he'd said 7a oblig, but knocked that down a bit.

I climbed this route last summer (Aiguille du Peigne):
http://www.camptocamp.org/routes/55117/fr/aiguille-du-peigne-dalle-nw-du-gendarme-3009m-le-ticket-le-carre-le-rond-et-la-lune

Piola went up in 2011 and replaced all of anchor and slab protection bolts with glue-ins. A good mixed route where the cracks are easy to protect with gear, the cruxes have bolts where they need to be, but there are still 4-5 meter run outs on 6a+ slab.

I don't climb 7a, but I have done the Perrons traverse as well as climbed most of this route (not a Piola route):
http://www.camptocamp.org/routes/56672/fr/perrons-de-vallorcine-squatteurs-de-lune

A few years back I was climbing a trad route on the Aiguille de Praz Torrent while Piola was putting up a new route just around the corner for his recently published (2nd edition?) Aiguilles Rouges guidebook.

Cheers.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Jan 24, 2013 - 07:16pm PT
Question for the Chamonairds out there. As the glaciers recede are people finding artifacts of those whole fell in them long ago?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 24, 2013 - 07:43pm PT
People who had fallen in glaciers a hundred years before were surfacing in the early 1970's (complete with much speculation as to who they were) so I'm sure that will only accelerate.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 25, 2013 - 05:27am PT
@ Degaine.
Piola had already replaced the old bolts on Le Ticket, le Carré... when I climbed it in July 2010. However, I agree with you entirely about the nature of that and the other routes up there. I remember the last but one pitch having only two(?) bolts in it... this one:

Credit: jaaan


The Perrons... for me the Perrons have simply the best multipitch routes in the region. The only modern route I haven't done is in fact the one I mentioned above, Le premier matin du monde, which I doubt I'll be racing up there to do! Besides Squatteurs..., Grévole Directe is good especially combined it with the top half of Alea jacta est. Another good combo is Balade des gens heureux followed by the traverse. There's also another new one in the grade six range called Au coeur de l'anticyclone. It's hardest pitches are 6a+ though in reality Piola has graded it very harshly and it's worth 6b at least. I don't want to flood this thread with photos of the Perrons, but for anyone interested I posted some on another thread some time back. Here: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=492354&msg=1907589#msg1907589
The guidebook you refer to is in fact volume 2 of the Aiguilles Rouges (rather than a second edition of vol 1). It contains Praz Torrent, Vallon de Bérard, Tré les Eaux, Loriaz, the Perrons, Emosson and a part of Giétroz.

Apologies for the digression!
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 25, 2013 - 05:35am PT
@ bhilden

Only last year a diplomatic mail bag that was aboard the old Air India plane, the Malabar Princess 47 years ago, popped out of the bottom of the Bossons Glacier: http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/l-histoire-du-soir/20120829.OBS0753/une-valise-diplomatique-indienne-retrouvee-sur-le-mont-blanc.html

Bits of the plane have been appearing now for years.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 25, 2013 - 09:23am PT
Good grief.
Base - that picture of Duane and Dumbass is at Snell's field, right? 1973?
That looks remarkably like Eric and my tents in the background, mine on the left and Eric's on the right (and Eric and me, for that matter).

That was 1984, but I am widely known as a dumbass, so it could have been 1973.

I'll tell you the trippiest route of the trip: All of the ice routes on the Argentiere Glacier were gone by July. They had big blank slab sections and nobody did them.

We had a German friend come back after doing the N Face of the Triolet and said it was barely there.

So we go up in the evening and bivy on the glacier (too poor for the hut just above the glacier). We take off after dark and there was a good moon. That Serac that goes off on the Triolet had this massive field of ice boulders extending way out from the base. You could have easily ice bouldered on them some were so big. That kinda spooked us, so we did one of the direct routes on the left. I've looked at a topo of the face since and think that it was the Lachenal, but I'm not sure.

There was one 200 foot section down low that was 2 inches thick, max, so we just simul-soloed it. After we got over on the steep part of the other route the ice was thick and fairly steep. 80 degrees or so for a way. It was much safer, but any route on that face has to go through the fall zone of the big serac. That thin section wasn't so bad, because the ice was very good quality styrofoam. The rest of the route was as hard as nails and huge dinner plates would come off.

Duane told me a few years ago that after a guide was killed by that serac, it fell out of favor. Certainly by the guides. The regular route looked pretty spooky. Even our route had all kinds of hanging nasties over it. It was a really good route, though. One of the better routes I have done.

A week or two later, that thin section melted and that was that.

Here is a picture of this tiny shepherd's hut at the base of the Eiger. I talked to Mike O'Donnell the other day and he said it was still there in 2003. I hitched over there, took the train through Brig and spent ages waiting it out in this tiny hut with a 3 foot roof. The word in Cham was that it was too dry that year, but I think I read of someone doing it then. Twight or somebody. He was there that year, but I haven't met him to this day. We were basically rock climbers who could ice climb. Twight was already a hotshot back then. Info was so hard to get in those days. No internet, no topost, vague lines on photos. I didn't even know that the Fissure Brown was supposed to be hard until a thread on it started here a year or so back.

Eric wouldn't have been Eric Beck? You guys would have been hanging with us. We had this hobo village that kept getting bigger as more and more Germans moved in next to us. We rigged this micro city under plastic and tree limbs. It was huge by the end of the summer.

I later had a good talk with John Bouchard about climbing there. If we had had somebody pointing us around to the routes in better condition, we would have had a better summer.

Historical trivia: Have any of you hung out in this tiny doghouse beneath the Eiger start? Note the waterfalls behind:

"Dumbasses Big Adventure"
"Dumbasses Big Adventure"
Credit: BASE104

I came "this" (imagine thumb and forefinger 1mm apart) to getting laid on the train through Brig. I was being true to my slut girlfriend who had taken to banging a guy while I was gone. It all worked out well. They married and had a horrible life for 5 years or so.

Anyway, when a girl sees you with a pack covered with ice tools on the way to the Eiger (you always let the word "Eiger" slip), you had a better chance of success. It is a great story. Ravishing American rich girl inviting me to spend the rainy night at her rich father's chalet above Interlaken. Instead I spent the night soaking in a bivy sack burrowed into a hay stack.

Here is a not so bad impact injury:

My whole arm turned black. It looked uber cool.
My whole arm turned black. It looked uber cool.
Credit: BASE104
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 25, 2013 - 10:25am PT
I have no idea where most of these pics were taken, but this is 1984 for comparison:

Courtes,Droites? They look filled in, but the lower halves were just l...
Courtes,Droites? They look filled in, but the lower halves were just little snow that would melt in a day.
Credit: BASE104

Credit: BASE104

I think that is the Blatiere on the left.
I think that is the Blatiere on the left.
Credit: BASE104

This is all I saw of the Eiger after about ten days waiting beneath it. Some Chamoix hunters gave me some sort of stout clear booze and said it was "petrol."

In the opinion of Dumbass, the N Face of the Eiger doesn't exist.
In the opinion of Dumbass, the N Face of the Eiger doesn't exist.
Credit: BASE104
g

Hey. That Rock & Ice story about our summer there with Walt is excellent. I'm not sure if it is still out or in the last issue. It is a very honest portrayal of Walt.



Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2013 - 10:32am PT
It's a privilege to listen to climbers with first-hand experience.

Base
The story is in the last issue of Rock and Ice, Issue 207, January 2013.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 25, 2013 - 10:51am PT
Your photos Base:
1 Yes, The Courtes and the Droites.
2 I think maybe the Talefre glacier, with the Aigs Ravanel and Mummery towards the left and the Pointe Isabella/Triolet right at the back? Not completely sure...
3 Yes, the west face of the Blaitière and north face of the Plan.
steve shea

climber
Jan 25, 2013 - 11:41am PT
The season we did the Eiger NF, autumn 79, we stayed at the Alpiglen. Lydia,the owner of Pension des Alpes Alpiglen hired us to do chores around her farm. Digging potatos, churning butter etc. In return she gave us the hayloft in her barn and the occasional meal. We started at noon, bived at the Swallow's Nest and Brittle Ledge and finished about 10/11 am day three. Being alpine history freaks we even met Frau Von Almen and arranged a weather check. She flashed lights for us our first night confirming the forecast we had gotten from Geneva Airport. The weather/meteo in Grindelwald was very primitive. Nothing like Cham which was very good. She was not the original Von Almen but a family member nonetheless and the matriarch of the clan at the time. The family lived in the same house though. We went to see her after we got down and had a celebratory schnapps with her. We had to wait about three weeks. We were the only ones around waiting to climb. Late autumn. Like Duane we had full international villages waiting on most of our prior trips to do it in summer. The Poles had the beat parties and were outstanding climbers. Only made one attempt before and got to the Wet Cave where we bailed due to rock fall. BTW we found remains frozen solid in the Ramp Icefield. The left arm and upper torso of what we thought was a climber. It turned out to be the body of a pilot who crashed into the wall just above near Brittle Ledge. We found out the story a year or so later. My partner was Larry Bruce, the best!
pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
Jan 25, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Base, my bubble has been well and truly popped, but that's mitigated by the great tale

N. face of the Eiger, possibly, suffering and discomfort certainly - versus - bliss. Really hard call.....

Your picture did have some inconsistencies (no plastic tarp, no nice seat outside the tents, neither Eric Holligan or I would be seen dead in shorts (what would the neigbors think?) which my brain was happily ignoring. Also, Snell's was packed in 1973, for no reason that I could tell. It was a thoroughly wet summer until August.

At the first sign of sun, Eric and I rushed onto the hill to do the Courtes with the following series of events:

See the blue sky - woohoo! Argentiere Cirque 1973
See the blue sky - woohoo! Argentiere Cirque 1973
Credit: pneame

Somewhat loaded slopes....

Aig. de Triolet 1973
Aig. de Triolet 1973
Credit: pneame

After the guided parties all retreated, and we had started the wading process, we thought that maybe, just possibly, they might be right....

Eric walking out of the Argentiere cirque
Eric walking out of the Argentiere cirque
Credit: pneame

Yes, Jon. I do occasionally rope up on glaciers!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2013 - 12:31pm PT
History at the end of the page: Le Refuge de Leschaux 1930 (La Montagne 1930)


Le Refuge de Leschaux today:
http://www.refuges.info/point/239/refuge-garde/mont-blanc/refuge-de-leschaux/
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2013 - 12:42pm PT
And just for fun: Some advertisements seen in La Montagne 1930

Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Jan 25, 2013 - 12:43pm PT
Cool stuff!
steve shea

climber
Jan 25, 2013 - 12:52pm PT
There is/was really good crystal hunting behind the Leschaux. I lived off of crystal sales from time to time. Georges Bettembourg was a master crystal hunter. One of his stashes was behind the hut. Georges was killed while hunting crystals in the Argentierre. Rockfall.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2013 - 12:58pm PT

As a warning: Via Ferrata seen in the video.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Jan 25, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
A couple of notes on this great thread.

-Marc Twight did the Eiger in 1984 with Boulder climber Alan Bradley.

-I believe the 1950 Air India crash was the basis for the 1956 movie 'The Mountain' starring Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner.
pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
Jan 25, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
Nice finds Marlow - makes you realise that the glacial retreat has been going on for a while.

The little video - great. Crowds notwithstanding, it is a stunningly beautiful area.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 25, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
Yeah, I saw that Twight did the Eiger in 1984. He fer sure wasn't staying in Snell's. I first heard of him through Bouchard a couple of years later.(very nice guy). People need to understand that in those pre-internet days, it was very hard to even get decent topos of routes. We mainly just yacked with other climbers and did stuff that they knew about.

I am curious what month Twight was there. I hear that nobody does it in the summer anymore. Way too much rockfall since the ice all melted away.

I read his book "Kiss or Kill" when trapped last summer and I thought he was so wound up in himself. Not in a narcisitic way. He's all grown up now. I could relate to him, but he was more of a badass. Remember, I am a dumbass.
steve shea

climber
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Topos? Did you not see the topo book in the Meteo? Very detailed IMHO. But there was so much new stuff to do there were no topos for that obviously. It was a smorgasbord of unclimbed routes. But for Gordon Smith, I never would have gone to Cham. The Brits were on it. Alex, Terry, Gordon, the Nicks...
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
I was on the Eiger in about 88 in september. At that time there was already talk about warming ruining the summer although I tend to think there was a changing attitude of rockfall as "just the way things roll". I know there was a similar attitude in the rockies. I always thought it strange that anyone would go up on the Grand Central coulior or Deltaform super coulior in July. You just have to be a little thick I think. I confirmed it myself one fine July day on the Andromeda strain having fortunately bailed only to safely witness the cornice ream the whole gully an hour later! Now no boddy does those things in summer and it hardly has anything to do with lack of mid summer ice. Its just a dumb time to be in a gutter.

In 88 (or whatever it was) the icefields were still well intact with old ice. Conditions were good but we got scared off by storm.
steve shea

climber
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
Bruce, I agree. Larry and I had a very similar event on the Grand Central on Kitchener in Aug 79. We were dumb, full of Canadian Kokanee (beer) and chasing the alpine dream. The ice fields had the most confounding weather though. The Altimeter would read high pressure and it would snowing in July. Cham was much more 'predictable'.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
The Brits were on it. (... ), the Nicks...

Which Nicks Steve? Black and Blond?
steve shea

climber
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:54pm PT
Yes. I met Gordon in the states in 76. We climbed together a bit and his stories of Chamonix and what was possible got my attention. I met up with Gordon in France in 77 and then the rest of the Brit contingent. The whole Bar Nash scene it was unforgetable. There were a few Americans there, Rick A, Tobin, Mugs, Jack Roberts and others. 77 was Tobin's incredible season. Anyway that was it. I basically moved there. Spent a lot of time with black Nick the following summer. The whole lot of us pretty much got chased from Snell's and moved to under the Midi cables. It was free and the Gendarmes had not figured it out yet. Once everyone got wind of it though, it turned to typical climber's camp squalor. Nick always drove out from GB so we had wheels.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jan 25, 2013 - 03:06pm PT
Ah, well you might recognise Blond Nick here on Salathe Wall in 1981. Sadly no longer with us.

Credit: jaaan

Credit: jaaan
steve shea

climber
Jan 25, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
I won't post the names but it is striking that so many who cut their alpine teeth in Cham are no longer with us. Sad indeed.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2013 - 04:28pm PT
A part of the history of North wall climbing as shown i Edouard Frendo's book "La Face Nord Des Grandes Jorasses". Climbing as discovery.

Frendo and Rebuffat made the second ascent of the Walker in 1945.

pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
Jan 26, 2013 - 08:24am PT
Apart from the genuinely mixed nature of the climbing + the tasty history, the other take home lesson seems to be that the "light" part of the modern "fast and light" was already much in vogue.
Note the quite small sac on the photo of the 'schrund.

The lack of "fast" was mostly due to the lack of modern gear slowing them down
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 26, 2013 - 09:38am PT
I recall a tale From Gastley's book "Starlight and Storm" where Ghastley and an entourage of aspirant guides were doing their exam on the Wymper Spur. That alone I thought remarkable but worse yet he described how while bivouacing a number of the aspirant guides were killed by rockfall. That must have been a devastating tragedy. Does anyone out there recall this event and the details surrounding it?
mackenzie74

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Jan 26, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
Great photos, brings back a lot of emotions.
Degaine

climber
Jan 28, 2013 - 04:26am PT
jaaan wrote:
Piola had already replaced the old bolts on Le Ticket, le Carré... when I climbed it in July 2010.

Ok, glad you had the replaced bolts. We looked over to Verdon Memories and the anchors looked like crap (old rusty pitons and tat). The second to last pitch of Le Ticket (your photo?) is pretty run out. The last pitch and variation are well protected cracks in the 5+/6a range.

jaaan wrote:
The Perrons... for me the Perrons have simply the best multipitch routes in the region.

I agree, the rock and setting are excellent. The traverse is fantastic, and a great intro to arête traverses.

Only climbed on route at Barberine, which has great rock as well.

Cheers.
Degaine

climber
Jan 28, 2013 - 04:35am PT
Wow base, this photo of the Talèfre basin:
http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_zoom.php?dpid=Ojw1PzckJisiIQ,,

is amazing, there is so much glacier / ice coverage. Nothing like that today.

Here's a photo of of the (l to r) Courtes, Droites, Verte:
Left to right: Les Courtes, Les Droites, La Verte
Left to right: Les Courtes, Les Droites, La Verte
Credit: Degaine

Taken in April 2011. We climbed the Y couloir on L'Aiguille d'Argentière, and then skied the Milieu Glacier (the classic ascent/descent route, "milieu" means "middle" in French).

The snow coverage on those classic north faces hides the glacial thinning and retreat in recent years.
Borut

Mountain climber
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Jan 31, 2013 - 12:59am PT
Here is a clip of a March 2010 repeat of 'Manitua' (VII +, A3 + 1100m), a route opened solo by Slavc Svetičič in 1991 (July 8th to 10th).

http://vimeo.com/10578974


Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Jan 31, 2013 - 06:26am PT
Always has been on my dream tick list. sigh
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
Grandes Jorasses - Face Est, Face Cachée (Vertical 1 2006)
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 7, 2013 - 12:52pm PT
The East Face of the Jorasses seemingly dwarfing Mont Blanc, seen from the Tête de la Fonteinte, near the Grand St Bernard pass.

Credit: jaaan
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
Jaaan
Great photo that gives perspective. TFPU.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Feb 7, 2013 - 02:54pm PT
Now I get it! Two mountains, one massif. How elegantly confusing... :)

Marlow, I must say, were it not for all that cold white shite, it'd be heaven, because the rock looks like it was cut and faceted in a jeweler's shop, it's that crisp-looking.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2013 - 03:10pm PT
Mouse
I can see that. To repeat the opening: "If Mont Blanc is the King of the Alps, then the Grandes Jorasses is the dark and shady counterpart. It's a north face that defines all north faces: a sweep of steep granite that stretches for over a kilometre in length and rises 1200 meter high that sucks in the alpinists gaze. It's not the sheer size of the thing but also the quality and huge variation in climbing that makes this peak such a target for seasoned alpinists" (Jonathan Griffith in Climb 22)
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 04:05pm PT
Jorasses - La Grande Traversée (Vertical 61 1993)

Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow

Life is full of wonder, beauty, pain and danger. And finally there is death.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 19, 2013 - 03:50pm PT
Not much seems to be made of the south face of the Jorasses, so here it is, taken today. You can see the 'little' east face just left of the right hand skyline. Compare that with my photo posted 7 Feb and you'll see how Himalayan in scale the Jorasses is. Also the Brenva Face of Mont Blanc - and the tiny little Freney Pillars on the far left - way over on the left.

Credit: jaaan

Here's another view of the Freney and Brenva faces of Mont Blanc.

Credit: jaaan
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
Coool Jaaan - TFPU!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 21, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
40 years after: Rene Desmaison with the piton that helped him stay alive
http://www.ledauphine.com/haute-savoie/2011/02/24/il-y-a-40-ans-l-affaire-des-grandes-jorasses
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 21, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
^^^^^^^


Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 02:38pm PT
Chamonix: Du reve a la realite - history of extreme sport
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 02:49pm PT
Grandes Jorasses Pointe Hélène voie Andy Parkin
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Feb 23, 2013 - 07:02am PT
Hello... photo just before "Rebufatt dihedral"... the great classic Grandes Jorasses... Walker spur... summer 90.
Credit: carlos gallego
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
Carlos
Great photo! Is there more?
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Feb 24, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
Thanks, Marlow... only 3/4 more... we were lazy for photos years ago... and I feel regret now.
As I do not know if it is correct to link blogs here... I have one... if interested in one complete topo ok Walker, Dru, Doites, Courtes,Piz Badile, etc.... please mail me and I will give you the link.

Credit: carlos gallego
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Carlos
I'd be glad if you posted the link here. I'm sure there's a lot of other climbers who are interested.
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Feb 24, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
Ok, Marlow...

http://montanayalpinismoclasico.blogspot.com.es/
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
Carlos: Phenomenal blog... great photos and maps... I will have to start learning Spanish...
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Feb 24, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
Thank you, Marlow... uffff... studying and climbing... too much work... hahaha..
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 24, 2013 - 02:43pm PT
Yes, great photos Carlos.

And thanks for the articles in French, Marlowe.
I always need more practice in that language and what better way than by reading about climbing?
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2013 - 03:08pm PT
Eperon Croz - guided
Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Mar 1, 2013 - 04:37pm PT
Oh, a thread on the Grandes Jorasses, my all time favorite mountain. Here's few recent pictures of it

Grandes Jorasses seen from Courmayeur
Credit: Luca Signorelli

The upper Tronchey Ridge, between the East and SSE faces
Credit: Luca Signorelli

The Ypercouloir des Jorasses (and the Ghiglione pillar on the L)
Credit: Luca Signorelli

The East face on all its glory
Credit: Luca Signorelli



Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Mar 1, 2013 - 05:09pm PT
Jorasses from Val Ferret, above Courmayeur
Credit: Luca Signorelli

Col des Grandes Jorasses, Pt. Young on the R
Col des Grandes Jorasses, Pt. Young on the R
Col des Grandes Jorasses, Pt. Young on the R
Credit: Luca Signorelli
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 1, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
Luca

Thanks for the contribution. Here is a link to your Grandes Jorasses information on summitpost.org: http://www.summitpost.org/grandes-jorasses/150262
Berner

Mountain climber
Switzerland
Mar 3, 2013 - 10:38am PT
Hy there

I want to share a picture from last week, even it is not the Grand Jorasses. It shows the Glacier d'Envers de Blaitière - not showing the temperature: -20 grad celsius and 60 km/h wind..
Quote Here
Glacier d'Envers de Blaitière
Glacier d'Envers de Blaitière
Credit: Berner
conditions are great - Ice is noice, Sorenson-Eastman have perfect ice and now some more pitons to rapell.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Mar 3, 2013 - 11:42am PT
Funny how I remember how much my feet hurt on the way down to Courmayeur,

after doing the Walker Spur, back in 1975. I had bought a pair of Super Guides, in Chamonix, and they weren't broken in.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 3, 2013 - 11:58am PT
Super Guides used to break your feet in, not the other way round, Steve! Amazingly you can still get them!
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Mar 5, 2013 - 12:36pm PT
Luca and Berner... fantastic photos.
¡Ah!... Galibier boots... I used years ago the "Pro" model... with a plastic reinforcement in toes.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 5, 2013 - 12:38pm PT
jaaan, I lost one of mine crossing a raging river in the N Cascades once and
hiked out with one boot and my bare foot taped up. The bare foot felt better
at the end. Actually, it felt better all over, not just the end. ;-)
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 5, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
Walter Bonatti and Michel Vaucher returning after climbing the Bonatti-Vaucher 1964:
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 5, 2013 - 05:04pm PT
I can tell you're just itching to get another pair, Reilly. Here you are: http://www.auvieuxcampeur.fr/terre/tout-pour-les-pieds/chaussure/chaussure-particuliere/super-guide.html Only 380 €uros!
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 5, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
@ Carlos Gallego.

Can you remember the date that you climbed the Walker in 1990?
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Mar 5, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
Jaaan...mmm... maybe in august but do not remember date.
We were surprised by storm near the top... I remember that there were a couple of climbers behind us that made bivouac 150m. from top... and we did it near de summit but in the italian side.
The next day we met two japanese climbers sleeping in a crevasse (italian side)... and near the hut we met two more climbers (we were eating with them and remember that they made the Eiger north face a days before).
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 5, 2013 - 05:40pm PT
Ah, we had good clear weather all day. We were there on the 3rd August. I just wondered if you were the Spanish climbers who passed us near the top.
Berner

Mountain climber
Switzerland
Mar 6, 2013 - 06:01pm PT
just to make you jaleous a bit... ;-)

a friend of mine on the way to Sorenson-Eastman
a friend of mine on the way to Sorenson-Eastman
Credit: Berner

Credit: Berner

Les Drus, Aiguiles Verte, ...
Les Drus, Aiguiles Verte, ...
Credit: Berner

Credit: Berner
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2013 - 06:19pm PT
Yes, but you know - there are times when even jealousy is a privilege. TFPU!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
Grandes Jorasses 1934 Peters and Haringer (La Montagne Juin 1955)
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 2, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
Patrick Berhault interviewed


Two other Grandes Jorasses threads:

Pictures and topos from Grandes Jorasses, Courtes, Droites..
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=268159&msg=2103790#msg2103790

Grandes Jorasses Commentary Alessandro Gogna 1973
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/745785/Grandes-Jorasses-Commentary-Alessandro-Gogna-1973
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 28, 2013 - 01:17pm PT
Grandes Jorasses - Face Est - Voie: Groucho Marx
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 04:40pm PT
Gousseault Desmaison: http://vimeo.com/56245978
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 13, 2013 - 03:33pm PT
Climbing Grandes Jorasses - a great old film

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 22, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
No Siesta


Ed: SteveA - Yeah, great mountain, great climbing and great sound-track. What more do a dreamer need? Lol...
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Jun 22, 2013 - 04:18pm PT
Marlow,

That was great--I really liked the sound-track.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
360 Refúgio W. Bonatti, Mont Blanc e Grand Jorasses, Tour du Mont Blanc, Itália, 23-06-2013
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jul 10, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
I was there yesterday, Marlow! Refuges don't come any better than that.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2013 - 05:03pm PT
jaaan

It's the world of my dreams. Did you take any pictures?
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jul 10, 2013 - 06:19pm PT
No, the weather wasn't that good. Couldn't see the tops. I have taken many photos on other occasions. There are a couple higher up the thread taken in the winter.

Here are two taken just outside the hut a couple of years back. In the background, not Grandes Jorasses but Mont Blanc. I'll try and look some more out tomorrow featuring the Jorasses.

Credit: jaaan

Credit: jaaan





Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2013 - 12:54pm PT
Great pictures Jaaan - keep them coming.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 15, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
Le Lac Blanc, l'Aiguille-Verte and Les Grandes Jorasses
Credit: Pierre Tairraz
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jul 15, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
The Grandes Jorasses south side.

Credit: jaaan

The Grandes Jorasses on the right and the Dent du Géant in the middle above the figure.

Credit: jaaan

These were just a few days ago.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 15, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
Jaaan

TFPU!

Here's an old mountain film classic filmed around March 1987 - the solo winter ascent by Christophe Profit of the three classic north faces in the Alps. Here - The Grandes Jorasses:

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
Base jump wingsuit Grandes Jorasses face sud Valery Rozov
D-Rail

Trad climber
Calaveras
Aug 12, 2013 - 03:12am PT
Wow. That video clip is awesome.
I had no idea base jumpers climbed such cool stuff to get to the jump spot. I always assumed they flew up there. Helicopter style.
Crazy to fly through the clouds. Scary.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 5, 2013 - 04:10pm PT
René Desmaison - Portrait d'un grand alpiniste

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2013 - 01:36pm PT
Traversata delle Grandes Jorasses - Agosto 2013
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2013 - 02:08pm PT

Grandes Jorasses - Face Sud - Arête du Tronchey
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:48am PT
Bump for climbing content.........

Steve
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 1, 2014 - 10:39am PT

Les Grandes Jorasses, Les Aiguilles de Chamonix, Le Mont Blanc and Le ...
Les Grandes Jorasses, Les Aiguilles de Chamonix, Le Mont Blanc and Le Lac Blanc
Credit: Marlow
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 1, 2014 - 10:40am PT

The Chamonix region
Credit: Marlow
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 1, 2014 - 10:44am PT

The Grandes Jorasses on old postcards
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Jan 1, 2014 - 11:54am PT
Marlow,

You obviously have a strong attraction to that mountain. Have you done the Walker Spur?
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jan 1, 2014 - 12:27pm PT
I stood on the summit of a tiny (but seemed plenty big) summit called Grignetta a few days ago (near the Italian/Swiss border). Looking northwest, I saw the summit of something big and triangular that I think was Eiger/Monch/Jungfrau. Will post a pic here soon. Also looking straight west, saw the summit of Matterhorn (Cervino) just to the right of the Monte Rosa massif. The Alps have a very different feeling than the Sierra Nevadas of California. Cool place to be.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 1, 2014 - 01:15pm PT
SteveA

Marlow is a sport climber, boulderer, dreamer and collector fascinated by the mountain and Alpine climbing, "the real thing". I have not done the Walker Spur or any other route on the mountain. I've not even seen the mountain in reality, though I will some time.

Thanks for sharing, NutAgain.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 19, 2014 - 01:28pm PT

Grandes Jorasses Commentary - Alessandro Gogna discusses the history of climbing on the Grandes Jorasses (Mountain 26 - 1973)

Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
bigbird

climber
WA
Jan 19, 2014 - 08:57pm PT
Here is a video of the GMHM (Le Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne) repeating the very technical route "Manitua" on the north face of the Grands Jorasses. The crux is something like A3+ pitch on blankness...

http://vimeo.com/10352087


Lots of cool stuff on that Vimeo page
http://vimeo.com/gmhm

The Cordillera Darwin Traverse video is worth a look as well....
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 21, 2014 - 02:19pm PT
Bigbird

Great Manitua video. TFPU!
bigbird

climber
WA
Jan 21, 2014 - 04:17pm PT
While looking for a video footage of Eric Escoffier "winter trilogy"... I came across an old TV documentary of Christophe Profit doing it first... Here is the footage of Profit on the Jorasses.... Beware... Turn off the sound... the dub is HORRIBLE...

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2014 - 02:15pm PT

Grandes Jorasses, North Face, FA Colton-MacIntyre: Cold Enough For Comfort, Mountain 53, 1977

Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Feb 10, 2014 - 02:52pm PT
Any folks who can help ID what we have here? It's either Chamonix valley, or maybe Martigny to Chalais/Sierre?


I think we can see a bit of Glacier des Leschaux or Glacier de Tacul in lower mid right. And I think the big gash going toward the north (in the top middle of the frame), which divides the mountains on the left side of the valley, is the road from Martigny to Lake Geneva.

I may be smoking crack, just trying to match up what I see on google satellite view with this pic. If I'm right, Grande Jorasses are either just visible on the right of this pic, or slightly out of frame.


Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2014 - 03:10pm PT

NutAgain

I'm not able to say. Maybe Jaaan or Degaine can tell?
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Feb 12, 2014 - 04:07pm PT
Gift to Marlow... keep dreams alive... good luck.

Credit: Tomás Mesón
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2014 - 04:12pm PT
Thanks Carlos. Have you done The Walker?
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Feb 12, 2014 - 04:14pm PT
Yes, Marlow... one summer of 90 or 91... magnific classic climb for a "classic climber".
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2014 - 04:24pm PT
The Walker must be a remarkable route.

Heckmair, for one, prefered the climb of the Walker to the legendary first ascent of the Eiger North Wall.
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Feb 12, 2014 - 04:31pm PT
Certainly is a very good climb.
The Eiger north face, I think... as I´ve not climb it, is a different type of mountain.
Here you can see a topo of Walker spur.

http://montanayalpinismoclasico.blogspot.com.es/search/label/Grandes%20Jorasses
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2014 - 04:35pm PT
Fantastic. TFPU!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2014 - 04:31pm PT

One Helluva Climbing Date on the Grandes Jorasses
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 8, 2014 - 06:07pm PT
Nut again. Looks more like the Swiss Rhone Valley to me. Sion would be just left of centre. The large frozen Dix lake in the lower right part of the photo.
JMC

climber
the land of milk and honey
Mar 8, 2014 - 07:06pm PT
Christophe Profit, still in action.
http://www.tordesgeants.it/en/content/christophe-profit
Degaine

climber
Mar 31, 2014 - 05:50am PT
Nutagain,

As jaaan wrote, that is the Rhône River Valley in Switzerland. You can see the Dent Blanche and the Matterhorn in the right portion of the photo, just before the wing.

Here's a recent photo of the north face of the Grandes Jorasses:

Credit: Degaine
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 31, 2014 - 11:05am PT
The Shroud sure looks Proud and Phat!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 31, 2014 - 03:34pm PT
Degaine.

Thanks for the information.

Luca Lindic and Luka Kranjnc have recently free-climbed Rolling Stones on the North face of the Grandes Jorasses (and Adam Ondra is pushing hard in Austria)

http://www.epictv.com/player/metro-player/275356
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 31, 2014 - 05:56pm PT
Steve, I was gonna say the Shroud looks kinda thin on the lower half.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 5, 2014 - 12:46pm PT

A sullen, glowering bulk, the Grandes Jorasses' North Face stands, silent guardian of the Franco-Italian frontier. Leviathan among giants, unspeakably beautiful, seductive, sadistic. Erupting from the Leschaux glacier like some subterranean deity...
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 5, 2014 - 12:51pm PT

Duet for alpinists by Robert Cordery-Cotter in Mountain 134, 1990.

Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
Credit: Marlow
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 5, 2014 - 01:19pm PT
It is nice to revisit an old thread about climbing.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 2, 2014 - 10:43am PT

New topo: Grandes Jorasses - Face Nord, by Julien Désécures.

Grandes Jorasses - Face Nord, by Julien Desecures
Grandes Jorasses - Face Nord, by Julien Desecures


Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 2, 2014 - 12:35pm PT
I've been told I'm a big ass but never une grande jorasse.
Que est-ce que c'est?
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 2, 2014 - 12:59pm PT
Big ass or Badass...

Jorasses is said to mean rocks, from the word "joux", meaning rock.

Grandes Jorasses - Big Rocks... and there's also the Petit Rock...
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Jul 3, 2014 - 02:17pm PT
... yes... Petites Jorasses...

Credit: carlos gallego
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Jul 3, 2014 - 04:06pm PT
of the three classic north faces, I wonder how much traffic each gets? I bet the Grandes Jorasses is probably third.

that guidebook looks cool. I hope it's not "super" a la SuperTopo but rather "not overly vague"

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 4, 2014 - 12:30pm PT

ms55401

The topo has got a lot of beta if that's what you're searching for. It's written in both English and French. Here's an example - a part of The Walker Spur topo:

Grandes Jorasses topo - Julien Desecures
Grandes Jorasses topo - Julien Desecures
Grandes Jorasses topo - Julien Desecures
Grandes Jorasses topo - Julien Desecures
Grandes Jorasses topo - Julien Desecures
Grandes Jorasses topo - Julien Desecures


Carlos

Thanks for posting the photo of The Little Rocks. ^^^
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 21, 2014 - 12:08pm PT

Grandes Jorasses, pointe Walker wingsuit base-jump
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 21, 2014 - 12:16pm PT
of the three classic north faces, I wonder how much traffic each gets? I bet the Grandes Jorasses is probably third.

I have a wad of cash that says it sees more traffic than the other two combined, by far.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 6, 2014 - 11:06am PT

Petite McIntyre - Grandes Jorasses Face Nord
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Sep 11, 2014 - 04:30am PT
... it seems that this season is the ONE in Grandes Jorasses...

https://www.facebook.com/leschaux.refuge?fref=ts
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2014 - 03:33pm PT

Fort.

Thanks for the post. The linked explanation is unclear.

Here's a quite detailed French explanation of the word Jorasses and similar forms:

M.L. Gauchat (Bull, du glass, des patois de la Suisse romande, 1904, 14) a fait remarquer qu'a la forme jura, jures, de Cesar et de Pline, s'oppose, des le v siecle, une racine jur ou jor d'ou: jora, latinise au moyen age: jure, joria, juria, d'ou le savoyard joraz (Habere-Lullin), jorra (Le Pratz), joura (Sallanches, Samoens), jeure, jour (Chamonix), joux; patois jou.
Bellajoux, Jourplaine (de jora plana), Joux verte sont des composes, Jorasses, Jourailles, Jorat, des derives. Or, joux designe toujours en Haute-Savoie une foret de montagne; quand il s'agit d'une foret de sapins, on la gratifie souvent de joux noire; une joux verte designerait sans doute un bois a fayards.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2014 - 03:36pm PT

Slovena A Les Grandes Jorasses

Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Sep 12, 2014 - 06:45pm PT
Great thread Marlow! Thank you.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2014 - 11:07am PT

Chamonix: Panorama pris de la Flegere

Panorama pris de la Flegere 1 - from left to right: Aig. Verte, Aig. d...
Panorama pris de la Flegere 1 - from left to right: Aig. Verte, Aig. du Dru, Aig. du Moine, Les Grandes Jorasses
Credit: Marlow
Panorama pris de la Flegere 2 - from left to right: Charmos, Grepon, A...
Panorama pris de la Flegere 2 - from left to right: Charmos, Grepon, Aig. de Blaitiere, Aig. du Plan, Aig. du Midi, Mont-Blanc, Dome du Gouter, Aig. du Gouter
Credit: Marlow
Hotel Croix de Flegere. Altitude 1877 metres. 11. Juil 1912. J. Ducrey...
Hotel Croix de Flegere. Altitude 1877 metres. 11. Juil 1912. J. Ducrey.
Credit: Marlow
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Oct 10, 2014 - 11:15am PT
Man this is the stuff that makes dreams and also age seem unfair
Hurha hurha
the super in this site
all kinds of climbing
is here in plain sight
did you get that I think this is awesome !!
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Oct 11, 2014 - 12:32pm PT
... be carefull... seracs down the "normal" italian descent route...

Credit: La Chamoniarde


http://www.montagnes-magazine.com/actus-chute-serac-whymper-face-sud-grandes-jorasses
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