UKC

First Solo of Rolling Stones on Grandes Jorasses by Charles Dubouloz

© Cédric Perillat-Merceroz

French alpinist and mountain guide Charles Dubouloz has completed the first solo ascent - and first winter solo ascent - of Rolling Stones (1100m, ED1, M8) 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. 

On Instagram, Dubouloz reported:

'Just arrived tonight in Courmayeur, I still can't believe it. I was dreaming about this ascent for a long time. Six days on the route, in the shade on a wind-battered wall. It is the achievement of many years of training hard outside.'

Dubouloz prepared to launch his solo bid as a high pressure cycle set in around ten days ago. He explained:

'Everything went into overdrive: I threw myself into it, I dared, I doubted, I was afraid, I was excited, I was cold... but I had the determination to reach the summit.

'Tonight my hands are in tatters, my feet are frozen but I have tears in my eyes. I have achieved my dream.'

Dubouloz told Montagnes Magazine that he ate very little throughout his ascent and brought too much food in his two bags (weighing 35kg in total) and that he boiled Haribo Smurf sweets for sustenance. "I recommend the recipe, it's excellent!" he commented. Dubouloz ascended the 40 pitches twice due to hauling his bags.

Adding to his sense of isolation, Dubouloz's phone fell out of his pocket halfway up the route.

'I won't be reachable these next few days except here [social media]...' he commented on Instagram.

Rolling Stones was established in 1979 by Czech climbers Jaroslav Kutil, Tomáš Procházka, Luděk Šlechta and Jiří Švejda. and was first climbed in winter in 1984 by Benoît Grison and Eric Grammond. 

Luka Lindic and Luka Krajnc made an onsight and first free ascent of the line in April 2014 (UKC News). The 1100m route weighs in at an approximate grade of M8 and F6a and is considered to be one of the longest and hardest in the Alps. 

Accomplished French mountaineer Christophe Moulin, who made a winter ascent of the line in 2006, hailed Dubouloz's ascent as "a real winter journey and one of the greatest solos in history."

Dubouloz has made previous impressive ascents on the Grandes Jorasses. In January 2020, he made the first integral repeat of the South Face's Via in memoria di Gianni Comino, and subsequently repeated Manitua (7c, 1100m) in July 2020 with Symon Welfringer. In 2021, Dubouloz made a winter solo ascent of the North Face of Les Drus via the route Pierre Allain and made the first ascent of a new line on the North Face of Chamlang, named In the Shadow of Lies (1600, M5, 90°), with Benjamin Védrines.

In other Grandes Jorasses North Face news: Tom Livingstone and Christophe Dumarest have repeated No Siesta, one of the most demanding mixed routes in the Alps first climbed by Jan Porvaznik and Stan Glejdura in July 1986. Report to follow.


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20 Jan

Jesus christ

20 Jan

Surely this isn't considered ED1?! I mean M8 on a route that long and serious.

Chapeau. Cojones muy grande.

20 Jan

Bloody hell, impressive stuff.

Because this is UKC, anyone want to speculate on what he's climbed on sedimentary rock in the Penines ?

20 Jan

I see that the database also has No Siesta at ED1; both seem unlikely!

I hope his hands and feet don't turn out to be so bad that this wasn't worth it.

Just out of curiosity, how could he still be contacted on instagram after dropping his phone?

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