Last weekend I got a chance to go back to the Jorasses for the first time in 7 years. I teamed up with Ben Tibbetts and we were joined by Misha Gopaul and Jeff Banks for a social day out. I had managed a day acclimatising up the Midi skiing earlier in the week so it wasn’t a straight from the office hit which Andy Houseman and myself had done the last time on Colton Macintyre. After the warmest bivi ever in the mountains at montenevers, we walked in during the early hours, therefore avoiding a bun fight at the overcrowded Leschaux hut. It was a beautiful starry night and Ben caught a fantastic shot of the face under the stars with several teams well established on the Colton Macintyre, Croz and Polish routes. As we arrived for first light the face was relatively quiet and we quickly got to work climbing neve for several hundred metres. A few goulottes of ice and neve followed with fun climbing that was never hard up to the summit ridge where we were treated with gorgeous autumnal milky light over the Peuterey Ridge and the Aosta Valley.
Big thanks to Ben (Misha and Jeff) for a memorable day and the photos!
The Polish Michto Variation on Grandes Jorasses North Face (2011 photo Ben Tibbetts)
Our comfy bivi at Montevers
Climbers on the Desmaison, Colton Macintyre and Croz/Polish Routes Gearing up to go Steep Sugar Through the BergshrundA Happy Team
The First Goulotte Section
Ben TibbettsBen Climbing a Thinner Seam as We Catch a Spanish Team
Me Pulling Through a Steep Section
Typical North Face Icy Mixed Terrain
Ben Pulling Through onto the Summit Snowfields
Gorgeous Warm Day
Climbing into the Sun on the Summit Ridge Snowfields
Ben Savouring the Summit Ridge Views
Pointe Marguerite – Named After the Queen of Savoie
Mont Blanc and the Peuterey Ridge
Martin Elias descending after an ascent of Directe de l’Amite with Korra PesceBen Approaching the Reposoir at Sundown
I managed to sneak away from work for a few days in the hope of some mixed North Face climbing adventures but the weather over the weekend was miserable. As it cleared on Monday the mountains looked plastered and it seemed like I could combine an acclimatisation trip with a few turns. De Masi was keen so we headed up the Midi with no real expectations. As we descended the arrete it was clear that there was more than a dusting. I put on my skis for the first time in a couple of months and looked down the south side which was looking tempting but slightly loaded. A brief conversation followed along the lines of:
“Hey Dave, think it will stick?”
‘Dunno, what do you think?’
“I haven’t formed an opinion yet. I’m going to wait for those guys to walk past the bottom so they don’t get sluffed. The shrund on the left is gaping open, what is it like straight down?”
“Eyes on then.”
First turn into the pow made me remember why I love skiing so much. Leaning over hard into smooth silky velvet… After that we went down Gros Rognan for a bit and cut back to the Valley Blanche and skinned into Cirque Maudit for a look around before skinning back to the Midi. That last bit felt like a slog with no acclimatisation and I was happy to get down the lift quickly!
This was a fantastic run that I did a while back with Oli Willett. The photos speak for themselves and this photo diary wouldn’t be complete without it.