MODERN ALPINISM IN THE ALPS

Posted on: August 7, 2007


Christophe Dumarest on the first ascent of the Tifenn Route (V 6 A1 M8+, 1100m), Aiguille Sans Nom (3982m), Alps, France. Dumarest and Thomas Emonet completed the line with two bivouacs; Dumarest compares it, favorably, to the nearby Gabarrou-Silvy (VI WI6 6b A1, 1000m, Gabarrou-Silvy, 1978). [Photo] Thomas Emonet

On Friday, July 13, Thomas Emonet (23), a strong and motivated youth from Samoens in the Giffree Valley, and I were on the north face of the Aiguille Sans Nom (3982m), on a line I'd scoped out while climbing the Gabarrou-Silvy (VI WI6 6b A1, 1000m, Gabarrou-Silvy, 1978) with Aymeric Clouet, during our March 2006 enchainment of the Aiguille Verte and the Grandes Jorasses. The route follows a line to the left of the Gabarrou-Silvy on the 350-meter wall at the bottom of the Aiguille Sans Nom's north face, traverses the serac halfway up the face, then exits via a steep wall, defined by an obvious crack and a series of gullies. We needed two bivouacs to complete the line, which we called the Tifenn Route (V 6 A1 M8+, 1100m): the first at the end of the base wall, the second at the top of the Pointe Croux, shortly before the summit of the Verte.

This route is very aesthetic and modern, and calls on all the qualities that make up alpinism: mixed climbing, ice, aid and, of course, endurance. While the climb goes up next to the popular and aesthetic Gabarrou-Silvy, it doesn't pale in comparison. Our line is varied, with a more sustained technical section in its second part and thus certainly greater difficulty.

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Our ascent was a moment of extraordinary alpinism on one of Mont Blanc's most legendary faces and one of my favorite areas for high-powered mixed climbing.

The north face of the Aiguille Sans Nom (3982m), Alps, France, showing the Tifenn Route (V 6 A1 M8+, 1100m), climbed in two days in July by Dumarest and Emonet. [Photo] Christophe Dumarest

Aside from the day, Friday the Thirteenth, which might indeed have brought us some bad luck, because of the incessant avalanches and icefall due to the rising temperatures, the climb went mostly well, and the route we'd observed from the base proved to be the right one.

—Christophe Dumarest, France

Translated from the French by Katie Ives

Thomas Emonet enjoying the quality rock of the Tifenn Route (V 6 A1 M8+, 1100m). [Photo] Christophe Dumarest

A closeup of the base wall, showing the lower half of the route. [Photo] Christophe Dumarest

Christophe Dumarest aiding up high on the Tifenn. "This route is very aesthetic and modern," Dumarest writes, "and calls on all the qualities that make up alpinism: mixed climbing, ice, aid and, of course, endurance." [Photo] Thomas Emonet

Thomas Emonet on top of the Aiguille Sans Nom (3982m), with the Mt. Blanc massif in the background, after completing the first ascent of the Tifeen. The Mer de Glace glacier is visible below. [Photo] Christophe Dumarest



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