Grandes Jorasses Directe de l'Amitié repeated by Leo Billon, Sébastien Ratel, Benjamin Védrines
From 24 to 26 January 2022 French mountaineers Leo Billon, Sébastien Ratel and Benjamin Védrines repeated Directe de l'Amitié on the north face of the Grandes Jorasses in the Mont Blanc massif.
Only a few days after their alpine style winter ascent of Direttissima John Harlin on the north face of the Eiger, French mountaineers Leo Billon, Sébastien Ratel and Benjamin Védrines repeated Directe de l'Amitié on the north of the Grandes Jorasses.
Established on Pointe Whymper (4184m) in winter 1974 by Louis Audoubert, Michel Feuillarade, Marc Galy and Yannick Seigneur, this line had been described by Corrado Korra Pesce after his rare repeat in 2014 as "the most challenging route up the Jorasses". The 1100m outing breaches difficulties up to VII, M7/A3, 90° and the French alpinists, all members of the elite Chamonix High Mountain Military Group (GMHM), have now climbed everything free except for one pitch, the A3 aid pitch.
Writing to planetmountain.com, Billon explained "Seb and I had tried to climb this route in winter 2020, but we were a little too optimistic about the weather and were forced to turn back about halfway up. Since then it's been important for us to return, and the name of the route suits our team well!
It really is a great climb, all three of us were impressed with the first ascensionists! The wall is very steep, sustained, and difficult right until the top. There was some protection in-situ, but not a single bolt. It's one of the most beautiful routes I've ever done in the Alps.
We climbed all pitches free up to M8, except for one, the A3 aid pitch. Trying to free it proved adventurous, unfortunately we didn't succeed.
This winter Seb, Benj and I would like to climb the three north faces, the Eiger, Jorasses and Matterhorn, via three direct routes. Now we only have the Matterhorn left!"
Pointe Whymper - Directe de l'Amitié
1100m VII,M7/A3 ,90° in ice conditions, 6c,7a/A1 in dry conditions
19/27 January 1974 after preparation, Louis Audoubert, Michel Feuillarade, Marc Galy and Yannick Seigneur