French mountain guide Charles Dubouloz has completed the first solo ascent - and first winter solo ascent - of Rolling Stones ED1 on the North Face of the Grandes Jorasses in the Mont Blanc Massif. Dubouloz climbed the line over six days with five bivouacs, from 13-18 January and suffered frostbite in temperatures of around -30°C.
Seems to have been a highly productive spell in the alps in last week with the long stable weather window.
Eiger N face Directissima (The Harlin route) repeated alpine style by Leo Billon & co. Utterly phenomenal. (I posted a while back about his & co's alpine repeat of Changabang's Shining Wall)
And a repeat of No Siesta by Tom Livingstone and Christophe Dumarest
Is this solo, or roped solo? I presume he had a rope, placed gear on the way up, then descended to get the gear out and jumarred up the rope like they do on big walls in the summer.
Or, is that not practical in the summer and he was climbing with one bag, then down climbing and then climbing with the other bag all unroped??
> Seems to have been a highly productive spell in the alps in last week with the long stable weather window.
In the UK, this has been a very unusual high pressure period for January. I usually expect a period like this much later in the Winter.
Still: make use of it when it comes - as these folk have!
At the end of the news item, it mentions No Siesta being repeated. The route is described as being one of the most demanding mixed climbs in the alps, the FA being in 1986.
This got me thinking has mixed climbing in the alps not progressed much if a 36 year old route is still one of the most demanding.
With the improvement of equipment and clothing I thought standards would have moved on further.
As an aside, I know nothing about high standard alpine climbing.
> I think standard practice would be, he climbs the pitch (self belayed solo) then abseils, strips the gear, and climbs up again (probably jumars). Then he hauls the sack.
I see that's standard practice in summer, I'm wondering about the practicalities of doing that on a mixed route. I've not got much winter experience, but from what I do have I don't remember many belays which I would be happy jumaring up, or hauling from. I guess the truth is probably dependant on the ground/pitch/belay and not one size fits all.
> Interesting how the use of the word 'leashless' has evolved, to now literally meaning without any leash at all, rather than just meaning not using a weighted wrist loop.
Presumably this is what you are referring to:
Long and serious – this is why the two chose to climb the route using leashes. As Jasper explained to us: “on long alpine routes I believe that it’s simply too dangerous to climb without leashes. If for some reason you drop your ice axe, the situation suddenly becomes very serious indeed. Last year I discussed this at length with Will Gadd and other Canadian climbers and we came to the conclusion that leashes are essential on long mountain routes, because of the added security they offer. On modern drytooling routes they’re obviously taboo”
I'm not actually clear whether that means they were climbing with wrist-loops or "idiot cords" attaching their tools to their harness (I can't tell from the photos). Yes, climbing without some form of attachment would seem like madness though. Also interesting about modern dry-tooling routes - isn't the main point of going leashless to make swapping hands and placing gear and so on easy rather than some ethical thing?
They seem to use the word 'leashes' when they mean lanyards.
With the dry tooling comment I suspect he means 'not sensible' rather than 'taboo'. In both cases it's just poor wording.
> I see they have shown the wrong topo!
I'm guessing that you're referring to the lower section which shows the start via the first bit of the Croz - ie to the right of the original route. I've no idea whether this has become a normal way of doing No Siesta, although I notice that it's the route shown and described here:-
It's not clear from the text of the Planetmountain piece which version Jasper and Stofer used to start the route - but as it's Stofer's photo I'd imagine that he/they simply marked the line that they had followed. The rest of the topo seems to roughly correspond with other available topos, albeit slightly less detailed with respect to deviations from a straight line.
Or do you mean that this isn't a topo of Rolling Stones? In which case I apologise for earlier initiating a bit of thread drift!
Looks obvious to me they're using wrist loops on original Quarks in the No Siesta photos which makes sense for a first ascent report from 2003 - just around the time leashless style was starting to spread beyond the competition scene, but most people I knew in Scotland didn't start switching over for a few more years until tool design caught up. The quote about them already being "taboo" for drytooling certainly means wrist loops in that context.