Brits Add New Route To Aiguille du Midi North Face

by Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Apr/2013
This news story has been read 29,505 times
British alpinists Mark Thomas and Dave Almond have made what is possibly the first ascent of a line they have called Jottnar, (Scottish grade of VIII,8) - a mixed route on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix, France.

Mark Thomas takes a blow to the face on Jottnar, Aiguille du Midi, 118 kb
Mark Thomas takes a blow to the face on Jottnar, Aiguille du Midi
© Dave Almond

Dave Almond seconding the crux pitch 4 of Jottnar, 102 kb
Dave Almond seconding the crux pitch 4 of Jottnar
© Mark Thomas
This five pitch route is accessed by an abseil in to the Passerelle Couloir and Mark gives us a pitch by pitch route description:

Pitch 1 – 50m – V,6

Belay 15m up from the start of the Perroux Route in a small snowy bay, 20m down and to the skiers left from the abseil on the middle rock spur in the Passerelle Couloir.  Climb up a mixed snowy bay and into a corner below an overhanging red granite headwall.  Reach a groove to the right of this headwall and make an airy, snowy traverse right to a good belay at its end.

Pitch 2 – 55m, V,5

Move right from the belay and climb the overhanging flakes, exiting right.  Follow the vague groove directly up, to the left of the rib, to reach snowy blocks beneath a 15m cracked wall of yellow granite.

Pitch 3 – 55m – VIII,8 

Climb up the mixed corner above and enter the long crack on the left of the wall, to the right of the triangular shaped niche on its left.  Pumpy torques up this crack lead to a very balancy and exciting step left into the top of the crack on its left and a snowy niche.  Climb the corner crack out of this snowy niche and up to the base of the 50m groove.

Pitch 4 – 60m – VIII,8

Mind Blowing!!  Climb the groove direct, using the thin ice seam in its back and some amazing layback torquing high up to exit at the finishing moves at the top of the Cosmiques Arete.  Awesome!

Pitch 5 – 10m

Finish the last moves up the Arete and onto the Viewing Platform at the Midi Station.

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