III, 650m. One of the best granite routes in Chamonix, this should be on every ED climbers' list. There are some bolts on the bolder sections and the belays are bolted, but take a full rack including some large cams. 1) 5c. A thin crack onto a ledge.2) 6a+. Traverse right across a slab and then under a roof.3) 5c. Climb a corner and follow it rightwards to a ledge.4) 6a. Traverse right to a flake then climb this and step right.5) 6c. Cross the slab rightwards and then go over easy ground to reach the foot of a chimney. This pitch can be circumnavigated by climbing a short chimney above the belay and then traversing higher up on the slab. This option is 5c.6) 5b. Climb the chimney then go rightwards up a slab.7) 6a. Head up the superb crack above the belay.8) 6a+. Climb the slab to the right then exit into a crack on the right. At the top of this, follow easy ground to a belay.9) 4c. Traverse 20m right, heading towards a large slab.10) 6b. Climb the slab, initially going left then coming back right.11) 6a. Follow bolts right across a slab then go up a chimney to reach easy ground which leads to the foot of a huge corner.12) 6b+. Follow the corner via some staggeringly good climbing.13) 6b. Continue up the corner and the slab above. From the top of this, abseil eastwards down to a long ledge.14) 6a+. Climb a short corner then move right to a crack which leads to easier, broken ground.15) 4b. Cross ledges rightwards to the foot of a huge corner. 16) 6b+. Climb the superb corner.17) 6c. More of the same, just harder!18) 6a. Leave the corner for a series of cracks on the right.19) 6b. Go up a slab on the left and then up a corner on the right.20) 6c. Climb the crack straight above the belay then follow a ramp system out right.21) 6a+. Follow the super-featured slab above the belay ledge to a terrace then stay on the ridge crest to a terrace.From here, follow the Voie normale (République) from section 6 onwards.Descent - Abseil down the final pitch of the Voie Normale (République) and then scramble across the broken ledge that separates the summit slab from the top of the previous technical pitch. From here, make an extremely exposed abseil from a bolted belay to reach the ledge on section with the 'obélisk' on. From here, descend the Voie Normale (République). There are abseil anchors of varying quality all the way down and a combination of abseiling and downclimbing is the most efficient way of descending the moderate ground that makes up the bulk of this route. Abseil the chimney with the jammed block then scramble down 30m further to reach a bolted abseil anchor. Four abseils from bolted anchors (the last two of which are part of République Bananière) lead down to the glacier. Following this line is easier than descending all the way back to the start of Voie Normale (République)It is possible, but awkward, to abseil République Bananière. To do this, follow the descent described above as far as the obélisk and then traverse south to reach the top of pitch 21. From here, abseil down the route to the foot of pitch 16 and cross the ledge to the top of pitch 15. Instead of abseiling from here, scramble up a short, narrow ridge (4b) to a single-bolt anchor and make a 40m abseil to reach the top of pitch 14. Follow the route down from here on. Many of the abseils are long, diagonal and somewhat awkward so take your time and manage your ropes carefully. © Rockfax
Michel Piola, Vincent Sprungli 02/Aug/2004.