Simon Gietl, Roger Schäli climb Grandes Jorasses and complete North6 project
With the ascent of The Shroud route on the Grandes Jorasses in the Mont Blanc massif, Simon Gietl and Roger Schäli have completed North6, their project to climb the six most famous north faces of the Alps, traveling from one mountain to the next by bike. The two mountaineers required 18 days to climb the north faces of Cima Grande di Lavaredo, Pizzo Badile, Eiger, Matterhorn, Petit Dru and Grandes Jorasses.
Simon Gietl and Roger Schäli have completed their North6 project in the best of all possible ways with the smooth ascent of the Grandes Jorasses. In tagging this summit the two alpinists have climbed the six great north faces of the Alps in the last 18 days, moving between one mountain and the next by bicycle and, at times, by paragliding.
After starting in early September with Via Comici on Cima Grande di Lavaredo, the two followed this up with Via Cassin on Pizzo Badile, Chant Du Cygne on the Eiger, the Schmid route on the Matterhorn and then the North Couloir on the Petit Dru. At this point only nearby Grandes Jorasses were missing off the list and although most of the journey was behind them, they knew nothing could be taken for granted. Also because the forecast for the upcoming week was poor.
After an extremely short night at Refuge de la Charpoua, reached at 01:30 directly climbing Petit Dru, the two opened their paragliders and flew across the Mer de Glace towards Refuge de Leschaux. From here they started preparing the last ascent. While observing the conditions of the mountain they concluded that the Walker Spur and the Macintyre - Colton route were out of the question, while the Linceul route, also referred to as The Shroud, located on the eastern part of the north face between the Walker Spur and the Hirondelles Ridge, seemed to offer the greatest chance of success.
Gietl and Schäli set off from Refuge de Leschaux hut at around 03:00 and at first light they reached the base of the route first ascended by Rene Desmaison and Robert Flematti in 1968. At 15:00 they reached the 4208m summit, and although they were happy, they didn't celebrate too much.
"We were pleased, but our thoughts also turned to poor Matteo Pasquetto" Gietl told planetmountain.com "we knew that the descent via the normal route was not easy and that it would require maximum concentration." Four hours later they reached the valley floor safe and sound. Behind them 1,011 kilometers by bike, a total of 30,770m of elevation gain and 29,470m of elevation loss, and above all an adventure that Schäli describes as "probably my best mountaineering experience ever."