Grandes Jorasses Commentary Alessandro Gogna 1973

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lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Aug 29, 2009 - 07:16pm PT
Steve:

Gogna's book had a last (updated) edition in 1999, for Nordpress. There are still copies around, if you're interested check with:

Libreria La Montagna
V. Sacchi 28 Bis
10128 Torino
Tel./Fax: +39 011 5620024
Email: info@librerialamontagna.it
http://www.librerialamontagna.it

They've an excellent mail service and a printed catalogue with lot of rarities. BTW they speak English. I'll be there next week, I'll see if they still have a copy, otherwise I think they can try to locate one.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Aug 30, 2009 - 12:23am PT
Good to hear from Luca again!

Here are a couple of photos of the backside of the Grandes Jorasses which he sent me some time ago and I thought were interesting. These are the normal retreat routes after attaining the summit but would make a pleasant outing on their own.





and closer up



lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Aug 30, 2009 - 05:55am PT
Hello Jan,

the normal route of the Jorasses (the one seen in the second picture) has been now temporarily closed by the Courmayeur authorities, as the equipment monitoring the movements of the huge serac right below Pt. Whymper (second highest summit to the L) is indicating that the serac itself may collapse any moment. The estimated mass involved could be up to 40.000 m^3 (20.000 m^3 in a more prudent evaluation), and so most of the route above the Boccalatte hut may be hit by the debris.

This temporary ban is of course not physically enforced (i.e. there's no policemen stopping people going up the normal route of the Jorasses!). But should anything happen when people is there, practial consequences (for instance on insurance, rescue costs etc) could be unpleasant.

The route in picture one is the Hirondelles ridge, a beautiful route of grade around D+ (with the crux being F6a), but not a normal route by any mean. Can be used (as we've already discussed in the thread dedicated to Frank) as an escape route for those exiting from the Shroud). Otherwise, and unless one is desperate to get out the summit, it's way too complex to be considered a "normal" mean of descent.

While we're on the topic - I would like to be put in touch with any US climber which may have climbed the Gervasutti route on the east face of the Jorasses. I'm not even sure the east face had ANY "first american climb", so I'm not sure this request may make any sense. Still, if anyone here on ST may help me, that would be much appreciated!

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Aug 30, 2009 - 09:58am PT
Luca-

Your comments provoked a lot of questions.

If a person wanted to cross from the Glacier de Lescheux in France over to Italy, could they not pass over the col at point B on the first photo and descend via the rest of the marked route for the Hirondelles retreat? And does anyone do that?

Also, is it normal to have equipment on the top of a mountain like the Grandes Jorasses or was it placed there because people were worried about the cornice?

And finally, how are most people descending now if the main route is closed?
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Aug 30, 2009 - 11:04am PT
Hello Jan,

>If a person wanted to cross from the Glacier de Lescheux in >France over to Italy, could they not pass over the col at point >B on the first photo and descend via the rest of the marked >route for the Hirondelles retreat? And does anyone do that?

Crossing into Italy by any other mean than the normal route of the Jorasses has no restriction. The col marked as "B" in the first photo is the Col Des Hirondelles (3491m) on the Freboudze basin. A direct traverse from France to Italy through this col is difficult (as the French side involves some technical climbing) but it's not part of the Courmayeur ban

>Also, is it normal to have equipment on the top of a mountain >like the Grandes Jorasses or was it placed there because people >were worried about the cornice?

The monitoring equipment for the Jorasses serac is a joint project between the Courmayeur public administration (who did the funding and started the project) and the Zurich polytechnic (who's doing the actual data crunching). It was started after, in 1998, the entire serac fell down a first time, triggering fear the village of Planpincieux (at the base of the Jorasses) could be involved. The monitoring system uses reflecting metal poles "stuck" around the serac perimeter, whose trigonometrical position is verified by laser probes.

Keep in mind that the (Italian) Val Ferret has seen some of the most catastrophic avalanches / rockfall ever recorded, including one event (the september 1717 Triolet rockfall) who is believed to have involved something like 20 millions m^3 of debris. So this corner of MB is quite familiar with this type of events.

>And finally, how are most people descending now if the main >route is closed?

The most reasonable mean to get off the Jorasses for the people coming up the North Face is now the West Ridge. While is long and definitely not easy, it's still more or less safe. There's now an equipped descent on the Italian side of the Col Des Grandes Jorasses, but with the current hot spell, it's quite stonefall exposed.

This said, given the exceptionally snowy winter/spring/early summer we've experienced, the NF of the Jorasses has not gone in conditions until quite late, and this year is not being particularly frequented. On the other hand the West Ridge has seen a serious surge of traffic (which has sadly provoked some problem at the Canzio bivy hut on the Col des Grandes Jorasses)
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Sep 10, 2009 - 05:19pm PT
Steve:

in case you're interested, the book is available.
Pate

Trad climber
The High And Lonely
Sep 18, 2009 - 08:54pm PT
awesome. bump.
b.p.

climber
bishop
Sep 18, 2009 - 09:55pm PT
A small anecdote:

During WWII, my family retreated to their house in Planpincieux, which sits at the end of the trail coming down from the Jorasses. In the course of one of those winters, on a certain day, most of the family had retreated to Courmayeur, for company and a few degrees of warmth. My grandfather and Bonora, (a questionable character who had taken up guardianship duties in the neighborhood), remained in Planpincieux. Around noon, a colossal chunk of glacier detached from the Jorasses, below the hut. My grandfather said day turned into night for a very long time. The avalanche took out the entire forest below the glacier, The "breath" of the avalanche took out the church steeple.
Needless to say, Bonora and Grandpa skied down to Courmayeur asap.
The houses in the neighborhood were spared...now, I wonder for how long.

Luca, perhaps in your erudition, you could find out the exact dates of the event? All the elders in the family are gone now and my memory fails me in the details. Mi farebbe piacere avere i dati. Grazie Paola
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 2, 2011 - 02:40pm PT
Classic Bump!

Amazing story, Paola!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 2, 2011 - 03:13pm PT
Wow!

I poured over that article again and again, the stuff of dreams for a teenager. But that story about Bonatti and Vaucher really got me thinking.
Maybe that alpine stuff is a little too dangerous!
(Then the next year I was crippled by rockfall in Eldo, albeit human caused.)

Only a few years ago did I read Walter's account of the Point Whymper climb that provides far more detail (not to mention a disparity in the size of the detached tower.)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 2, 2011 - 03:20pm PT
Oh, and 6 years before their climb Brad Washburn flew by the Jorasses and took a photo that he told me only 2 years before his death was his all time favorite.

(I have a beautiful signed print of it over the fireplace bracketed by 2 more of his on the walls either side.)
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 2, 2011 - 11:32pm PT
A Henry Kendall shot of the Jorasses from his write-up of the Walker Spur.



More on Henry at:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=945436&msg=1260235#msg1260235
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 23, 2011 - 01:36pm PT
More full color alpine splendor...

http://www.supertopo.com/inc/postreply.php?topic_id=268159&tn=20
highcamp

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Jan 23, 2011 - 09:57pm PT
Great article! Thanks for posting.

I just added some topos on the other GJ thread, so figured I'd just copy+paste the post here as well:
-----------------------------


... Got these from over at camptocamp.org when I was doing research for the Walker. Great site, although sometimes glacially slow. Not all routes there have topos, but the ones for the Walker are superb:

WalkerSpur_topo1
WalkerSpur_topo1
Credit: http://www.camptocamp.org/routes/55210/fr/grandes-jorasses-pointe-walker-eperon-walker
http://s.camptocamp.org/uploads/images/1258104451_534000787.png


WalkerSpur_topo2
WalkerSpur_topo2
Credit: http://www.camptocamp.org/routes/55210/fr/grandes-jorasses-pointe-walker-eperon-walker
http://s.camptocamp.org/uploads/images/1256302133_326310246.jpg

direct link to the beta page: http://www.camptocamp.org/routes/55210/fr/grandes-jorasses-pointe-walker-eperon-walker
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Classic alpine bump!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 31, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
And another...
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