Big new mixed climb on Aiguille de l'Évêque (Grandes Jorasses) by Richard Tiraboschi, Tommaso Vection, Giuseppe Vidoni
On 28 January 2023 Richard Tiraboschi, Tommaso Vection and Giuseppe Vidoni made the first ascent of the new mixed climb 'Happy Birthday' (1000m, AI4, M6 , ED) on the South Face of Aiguille de l'Évêque (Grandes Jorasses, Mont Blanc massif).
On Aiguille de l'Évêque, the huge shoulder that guards the Grandes Jorasses in the Mont Blanc massif and tumbles more than 1500 meters down into sunny Val Ferret, Giuseppe Vidoni, Richard Tiraboschi and Tommaso Vection have managed to scope an interesting new mixed climb. The 1000m route was established on 28 January, is called Happy Birthday and is graded AI 4+, M6, ED. According to Grandes Jorasses expert Luca Signorelli, in the lower section the winter climb runs close to the summer routes established by Britain’s Tony Penning & co, while the upper section runs close to the exit of the Manera-Ribetti route. According to initial research, the routes are totally independent and, in any case, Happy Birthday is an important winter addition to this beautiful 3258m peak. Here’s the report of Vidoni who, with Francesco Civra Dano, scored big in 2021 with the first ascent of the Major icefall on the east face of Mont Blanc.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY by Giuseppe Vidoni
Happy Birthday, a new route up Aiguille de l'Évêque, a couloir that runs a thousand meters up the mountain’s south face. You can perceive by intuition that it’s there from Val Ferret, but in order to find out for sure you have to go up and see, and that’s what we did.
On 25 January tireless Richard Tiraboschi and I started up the couloir which got us psyched right from the first pitch, and so we continued for another 400 metres. At about midday the temperature rose too much and the gully, due to the slopes above, began to discharge snow and ice and we are forced to stop and wait for three hours. When the sun went down we descended in safety.
Three days later the temperatures dropped and we set off again, it was simply too good not to give it another shot. This time there were three of us, Richard, myself and Tommaso Vection, aka Demotivetion. We reached our highpoint and continued past this for another 500 meters, until we ended on the final icy ledge buried below a snowfield located just below the ridge. From there we decided to abseil down, past 19 rappels, using one bolt and pegs.
Since we haven’t found information about other ascents and since we didn’t come across any gear whatsoever, we reckon ours is a new route. A rare occurrence in the Mont Blanc massif.
The route winds its way up a long couloir, past ice runnels and compact snow up the righthand side of the south face of Aiguille de l'Évêque. 1000m high, it provided difficulties up to AI 4+, M6, ED and ends on the last step of ice below a snowfield, close to the summit ridge.
The route is called Happy Birthday and got its name because Tommaso turned 30 the following day. And also because discovering a line like this one directly above Val Ferret seemed like a fantastic present.
TOPO: Happy Birthday, Aiguille de l'Évêque (Grandes Jorasses)