January 2017, the wave of cold weather in France rejoices the climbers from the GMHM. Here’s a report on one week of climbing the ice waterfalls in the Maurienne.
They start the 16th January with Corporal Max Bonniot. It’s 10 o’clock and the temperature is -18°C in Bessans. Let’s start to climb some mixed in the sun, just to avoid numb fingers due to the cold. “Le Petit Château” will be fine to warm-up.
THE next morning, they go to glasnost gorge
It’s unbelievable how the ice is hammered by the others climbers; hopefully there is just another group overhead doing “Les visionnaires”. This is amazing and mixed climbing goes to stalactites which end up on ice climbing. After abseiling by way of recognition, they go back home, the next morning, the goal will be to open a new route.
The 18th January, they have to define who’s going to take the first pitch “La nuit des longs ergo” and who will be cold for 2h30 on the belay stance. And it’s the turn of Seb Ratel! He frees the pitch secondly for a M7+ and ends up the second pitch of “Visionnaires” just before the night.
The next day, they were joined by Chief Warrant Officer Arnaud Bayol to finalize the opening. Max Bonniot continues the pitch and then Seb Ratel. Not so easy this pitch! He finally found a solution but at the cost of a pick’s drop! That is the price of mixed climbing! Arnaud takes the last pitch mainly composed on ice and very steep. The large column seems unstable; he climbs just to the side on the splashes.
They finish ENFIN «LA NUIT DES ERGOS» 120M, m8, wi6+