So the other day me and my mate ginger Ben (O’Connor Croft) were trying to decide what to do with what seemed to be a good 3 day weather forcast. We banded round some ideas like heading into the Envers for some spliter but came to the conclusion we wanted to climb the North Face of the Petit Dru……
We headed up from Montenvers and got established in the ‘Coffin Bivi’ at the base of the west face on the Dru rognon. I am very fond of this Bivi site for a few reasons. If/when the west face of the Dru falls down again you’ll probably be ok, you might not be able to move but you wont be in little bits. Also the sunsets are spectacular.
Me and Ben had both decided that sleeping bags were extra weight that we did no need so we left them behind, it wasn’t too cold but it would have been a bit more comfortable with them. We made and early start (4am), as we expected to have a nightmare crossing the Bergshrund, but it turned out to be fine. I took us a bit of time to locate the start of the route but we were on our way by 5.30. We simul-climbed the first 400m relatively quickly until we reached the first of the difficult sections heading out right under the Niche before the Fissure Lambert.
The crampons and axe came out for one pitch before the Fissure Lambert because the big chimney was full of ice at the back and was running with water on one side. Nasty.
A wet corner pitch folowed this which required a few ‘French Free’ Tactics to pass. After that we continued on up to the Niche Climbing together and moved round to the right. The rock was pretty bad in places and required alot of care but it was amazing to climb past the niche which is alot bigger than I thought it was!
More cruxy walls followed and we were soon past the Fissure Martinetti sat on the big ledge where the American Direct joins from the right. We stopped for some very hard to chew haribo which I can still feel in my jaw muscles now!
6 more Pitches follwed to the summit, some were quite mixed and difficult but nothing too troublesome. We reached the summit around 5pm and chilled on the top enjoying the amazing views over the Grandes Jorasses.
We had heard some pretty bad things about the descent down from the Petit Dru so we decided to traverse over to the grande Dru where we heard there was some lovely bolted belays to land you on the Charpoua Glacier. It took a bit of time to find the first one on the ridge (about 200m down the ridge towards the Vert) but once we found the first it was pretty straight forward getting down. We decided to stop for a bit of sleeping-bagless suffering a few rappels from the glacier as the snow was supper mushy and we didn’t fancy our chances on the glacier. Its ok though becasue I quite like sitting out nights on mountains without sleeping bags……..why else would I do it all the time!!
In the morning the rest of the descent went fine and we were soon trotting down to chamonix in the sunshine feeling pretty happy about the whole thing.
Untill next time folks.