Grand Pic de Belledonne, Thibault Sibille completes first winter solo of Voie Rébuffat
Between 5 and 8 February 2023 the French mountain guide Thibault Sibille carried out the first winter solo of the Rébuffat route (Michel Chevalier, Gaston Rébuffat 26/07/1944) on the NW face of Grand Pic de Belledonne (2977m) in the Dauphiné Alps.
Over a period of three days and after having endured two freezing bivouacs the French mountain guide Thibault Sibille carried out the first winter solo of Voie Rébuffat on the NW Face of Grand Pic de Belledonne (2977m). The route, established on 26 July 1944 by Gaston Rébuffat and Michel Chevalier, is described by its first ascentionist as "generally very steep, with an angle that gives the impression of an extraordinary void". It should be noted that, at the time, the first ascensionists climbed the route in espadrilles.
"This wall, in winter, doesn't make many people dream" commented Sibille ironically while reflecting on his solo. "However, conditions were right... as was motivation and the desire to experience a beautiful adventure at this precise moment in my life, the summit that has been teasing me for almost 10 years in winter." These are the reasons that prompted the 32-year-old to try to climb the route alone, coupled with "the impossibility of finding a partner".
And so, "having collected the gear at the last minute thanks to other guides" and after a beautiful day ski mountaineering with his sister, during which he stashed the equipment for the ascent at Col de Freydane, Sibille prepared for his ascent.
"I spent three days on this mountain, with two nights in a bivouac. One was really tough because of the wind and the cold" he recalls. "Personally I'd consider this an adventure at my very limit, during which my brain disconnected on an emotional level, while never losing concentration on the tasks in hand." Unfortunately there are no photos of Sibille's undertaking. "I dropped my phone on the third day, shortly below the summit. The memories of being up there alone are forever etched in my mind!"
by Gian Luca Gasca