Grandes Jorasses North Face – Polish Michto Variation

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!P1040425Jorasses-NF_michto_marked

The Polish Michto Variation on Grandes Jorasses North Face (2011 photo Ben Tibbetts)DSC_8951montenvers-bivi

Our comfy bivi at Montevers
DSC_8966jorasses-night-2 Climbers on the Desmaison, Colton Macintyre and Croz/Polish RoutesDSC_9004gearing-up (1) Gearing up to go DSC_9041rimaye-jorasses Steep Sugar Through the BergshrundDSC_9077ross-ben-jorasses-selfieA Happy TeamDSC_9117jorasses-ross

The First Goulotte SectionGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-1

Ben TibbettsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-2Ben Climbing a Thinner Seam as We Catch a Spanish Team
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Me Pulling Through a Steep SectionDSC_9296jorasses-ross

Typical North Face Icy Mixed Terrain Grandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-3

Ben Pulling Through onto the Summit SnowfieldsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-4

Gorgeous Warm Day DSC_9478jorasses-exit2

Climbing into the Sun on the Summit Ridge Snowfields
Grandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-5

Ben Savouring the Summit Ridge ViewsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-6

Pointe Marguerite – Named After the Queen of SavoieGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-7

Mont Blanc and the Peuterey RidgeGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-8

 

Martin Elias descending after an ascent of Directe de l’Amite with Korra PesceGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-9Ben Approaching the Reposoir at Sundown

Cold Smoke

Today I wanted to get out and put some miles in my legs. On the back of the pre-Christmas Scottish Winter Climbing season and very little road biking this summer they are even more spindly than normal and we started the ski season with a fair bit of touring. So with great snow conditions I have the chance to get some strength back. I left the SLR at home in order to go light and enjoy the skiing more but had a little point and shoot.

I was joined by Max Turgeon and we kicked off on Brevent to take advantage of the fresh snow on the lowers. Cold, sluffy blower was lying in wait and we had a lot of fun playing with sluff.

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The plan praz couloir. Max skiing below.

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And again here.Brevent & Cos 22_01_2013-13Me ready to open Bellachat after pushing off a bit of cornice and watching the sluff go airborne.

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Max skiing.

After Brevent started to warm up I switched to the darkside and had some sweet runs off the Plan going flat out. Then as the sun came round I decided to head up the Midi and do a Rond or Cosmique. For a change I went for the Cosmiques which is always lush in the afternoon sun, all to yourself, no one trying to kill you with rocks from above, and overhead blower so cold I wished I had a gimp mask.

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Only 2 or 3 tracks today.

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Me enjoying the warmth of the sun after the cold on the Midi. My leg muscles were well warmed up by the time the para came round and it felt good to finish the day on such a good slope arcing out the GS turns.