Colton/Macintyre, North Face Of The Grandes Jorasses November 2010.

I LIKE UR FACE! Can I climb it?.........But of course.

So after recent successes on the Ginat With Ally Swinton. Myself, Gav and Jim headed up to the base of the Grandes Jorasses. We had our sights set on the Colton/Macintyre which is the prominent ice line leading right to left up the middle of the face.  It features steep thin Alpine ice VI and tricky mixed climbing to join up with the walker spur.  The route is 1200m long and pretty steep. After a slight sketch out at the start of the ladders down to the mer de glace as a couple of northern european type people warned of deep soft snow we plowed on up to our bivy site without any hassle, wondering what they had been on (about). After a bit’o smash and cheese we bedded down, waiting for the call of the alarm…..

Here’s some photo’s of our ascent.

Gav Scouting the bergshrund the evening before.

Gav scouting the bergshrund the evening before. Photo Gav Pike

Just when it got light on the first Ice field. We realised how big a day we were gona have. Photo Gav Pike

A bit higher up on the face looking down at the first ice field. Photo Gav Pike

Then I pulled the Ice crux straw. Which I gladly drank with. This was probably the steepest ice I had ever lead. 40m of 90degree thin alpine ice. It didn't feel to hard but I was pleased to pull over the top of it. Photo Gav Pike

Looking down at jim after the ice crux. Photo Gav pike

OOOOOOO he's having fun. Jim sending the crux. This was Jims only trip to the alps that year. Good effort lad. Photo Gav Pike

So Just after this the camera’s went away. Cus it was dark. After a few more hours of fun we stopped about 50m from the summit of pointe Walker for what turned out to be one of the best nights we have spent in the mountains. I had a quechua belay jacket as insulation (no sleeping bag) and between the three of us we had a 2 man bothy bag. It was cold, windy and we didn’t sleep. But I will never forget it.

In the morning when the sun came up we looked at the final slope up to the top, had a rather short chat on the importance of summit’s when climbing and with a majority verdict that they aren’t that important (I however was part of the minority as I have yet to go to the summit) we decided to head down. Yes, down face. 18 abs later we landed on the glacier. Gav pulled the “leading the Abs” straw. He did well but hit the wall at number 17, the 13th abalakov.

We stopped for some tea and ginger pieces back at the bivy site from the night before. This ended up being the only food for the day. We then started the long trudge back to cham from the bottom of the face. 5 Hours later we were eating chilli-con-carne back at the chalet feeling very happy about everything.

7 thoughts on “Colton/Macintyre, North Face Of The Grandes Jorasses November 2010.

  1. U boys are nuts. Dave, after your jolly on the Eiger why did you not have sufficient insulation for that savagly cold night? and whats with the only food bieng ginger pieces? I dont know how you guys do it, but fair play! Go Brits!!! Making our testicles shrivel all the way back home!!!

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