Les Grandes Jorasses

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Messages 61 - 80 of total 236 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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
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