This fall saw unique conditions on lots of North faces and serious climbs in the Alps. The Grandes Jorasses was not the only one face to climb but when Rémi came up with the idea to go climb another route on this mythical face I was psyched. Funnily enough, I had just spent two weeks at sea level, walking with flip flops in the warmth of Turkey during the Petzl RocTrip so I was not sure how I’d feel in the cold and at altitude, but as always there is no answer to those questions until you go for it. So, we went for it…
The idea was to bivy at the base of the face and climb the combination of the Slovenian route finishing up with the Eperon Croz route. The plan B was to climb the Couzy-Desmaison further right on the Pointe Marguerite if other parties were already on the Slovenian/Croz route. We hiked up on a Friday at lunch time under a perfect blue-bird sky to the base of the face. One other party was already there but we had the feeling we would start before them and did not worry about having them above us on the route.
We started to climb at 1:20am and climbed the first two thirds of the route at night. Rémi climbed first through the bergschrund in good style making it look easy. I had no idea until it was my turn how tricky it was. I struggled. I did not like to lose time here at the beginning of a long day. It was only in an unconventional way that I could pass it and we could keep going. Rémi was climbing really fast, completely immersed in his element. I felt a little bad with leading and being slower. But it was great to sea how things can be done and learn from someone with amazing skills.
The whole climb was a fun and great experience. And I’m definitely looking forward to climbing some other routes on this attractive and impressive face ;)