After a 7 hour approach through deep snow on the moraines, sketchy wet slabs and the very complex Pra Sec Glacier, the climbers bivouacked at the base of the route.
Matt and Jon had planned to extend Plein Sud to the ridge then to the summit of the Grandes Jorasses, but soon realised why the first ascensionists made the decision to stop roughly a pitch below the ridge. They encountered sizable stacked loose blocks, and the risk of pulling rock off onto the belayer was not justifiable. Even by this point they had already trundled a significant volume of rocks. Disappointed at not being able to carry on to the summit of the Grandes Jorasses, they started abseiling at 2.30pm at which point they described the route below them as being "in total melt down", with streaming water completely stripping the line in places.
They reached their bivouac site at 5.30pm. "We were a little wet after playing in some waterfalls on the way down!" they commented.
Matt and Jon highly rated the climbing on this infrequently traveled face and said:
"This is one of those routes where conditions are rare and extending Plein Sud to the summit would take exceptional conditions, but the route as it stands still gives a fantastic outing and we would like to thank the first ascent team for providing such a great adventure in a beautiful setting – Sergio De Leo, Michel Coranotte, Marcello Sanguineti, Maro Appino."
Plein Sud was first climbed on the 22 May 2010, is 900m and Graded VI, WI4+/5R, M6+.
Matt and Jon are both IFMGA mountain guides and are based out of Chamonix, France where they run a private guiding company. Check out their blog over at vertigoguides.com
Marginal conditions in the mountains this winter have led to uncertainty and difficult decision-making when planning journeys... Read more
Our Friday Night Video is a fantastically shot view of Jason Kehl's Hueco. Kehl looks at the potential for the development of new... Read more
British Mountain Guides Matt Helliker and Stuart Macdonald have added a new 6-pitch, 250m line to the North West shoulder of... Read more
Still on the look out for inspiring new routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, Matt Helliker along with Stu Mcdonald skied into the... Read more