/ NEWS: Hard Grandes Jorasses Ascent for Bracey and Helliker

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UKC News - on 21 Nov 2012
Matt Helliker involved in loose mixed high up in the fault line, 4 kbOn the 16th November British alpinists Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey made what is probably the 2nd ascent of Plein Sud (900m, VI, WI4+/5R, M6+) up the wild South Face of the Grandes Jorasses.

"This is one of those routes where conditions are rare and extending Plein Sud to the summit would take exceptional conditions, but the route as it stands still gives a fantastic outing..."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67624

MikeLell - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: Well done lads! Always enjoy hearing about hard Alpine ascents on here.

Could someone please explain to me what the 5R in that grade stands for. Also, the VI could stand for a number of things; Scottish, UIAA rock or the Roman numeral gradings in the Snow Ice and Mixed guidebooks.
Ben Briggs - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to MikeLell: The VI is an overall commitment grade as in snow ice and mixed guide book and the WI4+/5R means runout water ice 4+ or 5.

AJM - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to MikeLell:

VI is the roman numeral grade, I'd be 99% sure. The rock is already covered by the M6+ or whatever.

"WI4+/5" R is how you should be reading it, not "5R" - implies WI 4+/5 climbing that is notably bold and runout.
MikeLell - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Briggs: Cheers for clearing that up guys.
Luca Signorelli - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Just for the record: despite what was reported somewhere Marcello Sanguineti & C in 2010 NEVER claimed the first ascent of the route (as the last pitch connecting the gully to the Tronchey ridge is obviously the key section of the route). So this is not the second ascent of the route, but the second attempt to a route that is still very much open.

This said - incredible effort from Jon and Matt, and whatever discussion above the status of the route shouldn't detract from the quality of this climb (and the 2010 attempt)
Jon Bracey - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
Yeah, maybe the media got too excited or something...??!!!! The headline from the website 'Planet Mountain' (which is an Italian site..?) reads:

On 22 May 2010 Sergio De Leo, Michel Coranotte, Marcello Sanguineti and Marco Appino carried out the first ascent of "Plein Sud" (900m, VI, WI4+/5R, M6+), a new route up the incredible wild South Face of the Grandes Jorasses (Mont Blanc).

Link to their news piece here:
http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=37433

Anyways, there is some ace climbing up there and I'm sure someone will finish the job soon! if we get some more high pressure....
Luca Signorelli - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:
In reply to UKC News:

Bit of (useless - but fun!) statistics:

- Jon and Matt are respectively the 9th and 10th people to ever cross the Pra Sec glacier (who was completely untrodden until 1972!). They join a very restricted list including names like Alessandro Gogna, Guido Machetto and Giancarlo Grassi

- They're the first climbers ever to attempt seriously a repeat of ANY of the four routes on the Tronchey Wall (that's the semi official designation of the SSE Face of the Jorasses

- They've also the distinction to be (officially at least) the first Brits and the second non Italian to ever set foot on the SSE Face (the first was Albert Rand Herron in 1929, an American)

- The Tronchey Wall / SSE Face is the highest rock face of the Mt. Blanc area (1350m from the bottom rimaye to the summit) The exact height howevever varies from year to year, as the upper section of the Pra Sec glaciers changes continuosly because of the movement of the ice, and the debris accumulating from the colossal snow avalances falling from the Jorasses in winter.

As the first ascent claim, Marcello & C told the press they felt the route unfinished (and I know for sure that Marcello still wants to climb those final meters) bit as usual, the press had different ideas.

walts4 - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

Luca,

Been trying to find some information on the other 3 routes on the Tronchey wall, checked summit post to no avail.

Any ideas where to find further info?

Cheers.

Must have been a wild place to climb out of never mind to abseil back into for Matt & Jon, sounds like a proper day out!
Luca Signorelli - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to walts4:
> (In reply to Luca Signorelli)
>
> Luca,
>
> Been trying to find some information on the other 3 routes on the Tronchey wall, checked summit post to no avail.
>
> Any ideas where to find further info?


The topos topos for the Croux/Herron 1928 and the Gogna/Machetto 1972 are in the fourth colune of the Guide Vallot, which is long out of print but available to consult in Chamonix. The description of the Grassi/Luzi/Rossi 1985 (the Phantom Direct) is on the Vallot digest compiled by Francois Labande, that's still around I believe. It's a mete translation of Giancarlo"s original description, so difficulties are espressed in degree of steepness, not very useful.

I've all the information available (and not available) on all the routes, so I may assist you here.

Luca Signorelli - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:

By the way: Lindsay Griffin wrote a very nice special issue of Mountain Info on the Italian side of the Jorasses in a old (200?7) issue of Climb. I helped him on that so it's fairly up to date.

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