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


Six classic alpine North Faces , Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif , ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50 , Big Routes , Alpine Grande Courses , Euro Alpine Rock , Alpine Dreamz , Extreme Alpine Rock , The Post-Lockdown Vanventure Ticklist , Big Alpine Routes , Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif , Alps 22


User Date Notes
tintinandpip 15 Apr Show βeta
βeta: Fairly unpleasant bivi, perfect blue sky on the route. Stuck the front point of my crampon into my calf on the descent, apart from that an excellent adventure.
Show beta
βeta: Fairly unpleasant bivi, perfect blue sky on the route. Stuck the front point of my crampon into my calf on the descent, apart from that an excellent adventure.
jonmurua 5 Aug, 2019 Show βeta
βeta: Fantastic route. Biwy at Cassin 1. Video of route:
Show beta
βeta: Fantastic route. Biwy at Cassin 1. Video of route:

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High ED2
Mid ED2
Low ED2
High ED1
Mid ED1
Low ED1
High TD+
Mid TD+
Low TD+
Votes cast 7
High 6a+
Mid 6a+
Low 6a+
High 6a
Mid 6a
Low 6a
High 5c
Mid 5c
Low 5c
Votes cast 1
Votes cast 7
Style of Ascent
Alt Leads
Not Set
Not Set
Route of Interest
Central Route

Grade: ED1 6c ***
(Aiguille de Pierre Joseph)

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