Sonntag, 7. September 2014

Grandes Jorasses - Colton Mc Intyre & Aiguille Sans Nom - Brown Patey

Some dreams will always remain dreams, but some must be lived. Some weeks ago I saw a post of the Leschaux hut on Facebook where they reported that there were good conditions on the Grandes Jorasses. Two friends of mine, Johannes and Christoph, also climbed the Colton Mc Intyre on the end of august and they told me that the conditions were really good. The message was clear: it's time to start and realize a big dream. I had to work until the end of august but I didn't have any commitments for the first two weeks of september. Thomas had to work, so I asked Matin Dejori another young strong and talented alpinist and climber if he was up for going to Chamonix for some days. Fortunately he was motivated and so we started on tuesday, september 2nd. We started quite early, drove to Chamonix and did the approach to the Leschaux hut. On the way up to the hut we could already see the white nothface of the Jorasses: super good conditions! We quickly realized that we wouldn't be alone on the route: there were at least other ten parties that wanted to climb the Colton Mc Intyre the next day and a couple of other parties that were up to climb the Bonatti-Vaucher and the Slowenian Route on the Pointe Croz. Originally we wanted to start at about 03.30 but due to the fact that there would be so many people climbing on the face the next day and that breakfast would be served from 24.00 to 1.30 we decided to start a bit earlier. We got up at 1 o'clock and started at 1.45 ...we were the last ones. The many lights showed us the best way to get up to the base of the route. We soloed the bergschrund and the first part up to the first rock bastion and past about five parties. Then we had to slow down a bit as we had to wait because there wasn't any possibility to pass the parties in front of us. The crux pitch at the second rock bastion was well tracked but  delicate as it was mostly just pressed snow. The rest of the route was in perfect conditions and we toped out at 13.15 right after the second party. Then we walked down to the Boccalatte hut and further to the valley where we arrived at about 19.30. then we hitchhiked back to Chamonix.
On the next day we got up quite late and went to the OHM to check the conditions of some other routes. We didn't have any fix plan but finally we decided to go for the Brown Patey a great route on the northface of the Aiguille sans Nom (big thanks to Laurent).  The lower part of the route is rock climbing, the central part is ice followed by a some mixed pitches that lead to the summit of the Aiguille sans Nom. From there you have to follow the ridge to the Aiguille Verte and then descent on the Whymper Couloir. Usually the route is climbed in two days: the rock section on the first day and the ice section on the second day. Our plan was different: we wanted to do it in one go. The only problem was that it was already too late to take the last cablecar to the Grands Montets and so we decided to take the first one on the next day. We started at about 8.30 from the top station and after a 2 hour approach we were at the base of the route. We soloed the first 300m and then we did some pitches, probably some harder variants :-) as our description wasn't really perfect... at about 14.30 we started to climb the icy section. the weather wasn't really good even though according to the weather forecast it should have been "slightly" better. We started to climb the ice slope following some tracks and got to the steepest section where it started to snow quite heavily. So we had the pleasure to climb the upper pitches under constant snowfall and that made the whole thing more interesting. We did some variants again and climbed some nice mixed pitches before reaching the ridge. Then we climbed the last part to the Aiguille Verte in the dark and reached the summit at about 10 pm. 
Then we abseiled the Whymper couloir and went on to the Couvercle hut where we slept a few hours before descending to the Montenvers train and back to Chamonix.
One more dream that has been lived!

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