Rockfax Description
IV, 1200m, 1 - 2 days. To call this a 'classic' is almost to do it a disservice - this is THE classic hard Chamonix route! Cams and modern rockboots mean that the route can be climbed faster than it used to be but, even in the 21st century, ticking the Walker Spur is still a major achievement.
The route is rarely dry enough to be climbed in rockboots but it needs to be if it is to bear any resemblance to this description. If you climb it in mixed conditions it will be hard and (even more) time consuming so it is best to wait (even if takes a few years) to get it when it is dry. Pitch by pitch descriptions are available but if you're going to climb it in anything like decent time you will need to move together as much as possible and have a good nose for route finding as the line is not that obvious. We've described the route by features and broken it down into sections so that you can motor up to a key feature, look up and pick out the route, then carry on moving without spending too much time studying the topo. There is a lot of random tat plus pegs and various others bit of gear which are off route, so don't be tempted to follow everything man-made that you see.
1) Start up a snow slope to the right of the toe of the spur and then move left onto the crest of the spur itself. Follow this over broken, loose but fairly moderate ground to where the angle eases back, level with the bergshrund of the Colton-MacIntyre.
2) Head up and left across broken and loose ground, aiming for a series of slabs. In very dry conditions this section will just be rock, but it may be mixed. Either way it has the lowest angeled - and some of the loosest - terrain on the whole route. Having reached the slabs, the terrain steepens and gently leads you to a small ledge below a vertical wall, pierced by two corners.
3) 6a. Climb the overhanging left-hand corner (the Rébuffat corner, 6a ) and then move right into the one above (the Allain corner, 6a ) and follow it onto an large, flat ledge. This section is the crux of the whole route with the step right between the corners being the key move. It is possible to aid some of the pitch but the crux is a thin slab move of 6a+ and can't be aided.
4) 5c. From the large ledge, step down slightly and then climb diagonally up and right for 120m to reach the crest of the spur and, just to the right of it, the 75m corner, which is hard to mistake once you've found it. Climb the corner via some awkward, physical and well-protected moves (sustained 5b/5c) to easier ground (4c/5a).
5) 4c. Descend 15m down and right (it is possible to do a short abseil here) to regain the crest of the spur. Follow this for 120m of 4c climbing to a good bivi spot. One thing to bear in mind is that in dry conditions, snow (and hence water) may be hard to find anywhere near this bivi.
6) 5c. Above the bivi ledge, climb a short steep wall (5c) to reach lower-angled, broken ground. Follow this up and left to get onto the crest of the spur.
7) 5a. Climb the spur itself via some good, exposed climbing (4c/5a) to meet the final, large rock buttress below the summit.
8) Step right and head up a deep chimney, which will be mixed in anything other than the driest conditions. The chimney feels quite scary and is full of loose blocks so take your time. Three slightly nerve-wracking pitches should see you out of it.
9) Above the chimney, follow a corner system out right on flakes and more solid rock.
10) Move right of the spur and climb a short, steep corner which is often icy but is filled with helpful pegs. Above the corner, step left onto the vague crest of the spur.
11) Follow broken gullies for 80m to the summit.
Descent - Down the Grandes Jorasses South Face (page §§§). © Rockfax

Ticklists: Six classic alpine North Faces, Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif.

Tom Livingstone 18/Mar AltLd

Winter ascent. 3 days on the route.

Tom Livingstone 21/Jul/15 AltLd

Started 12.35pm from first train. Reached a pitch or two beneath the Grey Tower at 3550m by 5.35pm. Bailed due to stonefall. Shame, as we were doing well.

piken 20/Jul/15 AltLd

Bivi at the bottom of the route and on the way down. Very dry and some stone fall. Great experience.

with Andy
Simon Allcock 12/Jul/15 2nd dnf
with Wilki
matt perks ??/2012 -
Chad123 18/Jul/10 AltLd O/S

Not sure if I like this alpine climbing much, but a great route nevertheless! Some memorable pitches - the Rebuffat, grey tower and above the red chimney especially. Mostly dry except one icy pitch near the top and a tricky pitch at the start to get around the shrund. Long varied descent into Italy, very glad to reach hut. Classic and memorable....

with Sam
sgl 18/Jul/10 AltLd
with chad
Hidden 01/Sep/09 AltLd
Pete Graham ?/Aug/09 AltLd
hamish2016 31/Jul/09 AltLd O/S

Excellent route but very long! Bivied on a sloping ledge by the red tower and climbed the final 200m the next morning. Quite icy on the top 400metres.

with Luke Hunt
lukehunt 31/Jul/09 AltLd

Motored up the initial two thirds, which was in dry conditions; the top third was v icy which slowed us down. Cold bivvy above grey towers

with Hamish Dunn
malx ?/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
prcleary ??/2009 Lead O/S
with Yuki
Hidden ?/Aug/06 AltLd O/S
Nick Wallis ?/Jul/06 AltLd O/S
with Martin Cooper
Justin Tracey ?/Aug/04 AltLd
with Jimdanson
Hidden ?/Jul/03 AltLd
jon 03/Aug/90 Lead
with H
Hidden ?/Aug/84 AltLd
Bob ?/Jul/83 AltLd

My second alpine route.

with M. Lynch
Steve Bell ?/Jul/78 AltLd

First ascent of the season. Very icy, we needed two bivvies on the route.

with Tim Leach
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