MODERN ROUTES ON THE FLANKS OF THE GRANDES JORASSES

Posted on: September 13, 2006


The southeast face of the 3813-meter Tour des Jorasses, separated from Punta 3466m to the left (now Pta Massimo Farina) by a narrow snow and ice couloir. The classic South (aka Machetto) Diedre (ED-, 700m, Calcagno-Cerruti-Machetto, 1970) on the Tour is the prominent left facing corner, the top half of which is in shadow. Down and across the couloir to the left lie steep walls climbed by the new routes, Il Vecchio Jim (IV 5.12a [5.11b obl], 350m, eight pitches) and Horizon Vertical (IV 5.11b/c [5.11b obl], 350m, nine pitches). [Photo] Antonio Giani

In late July, on the south (Italian) side of the Grandes Jorasses, Alex Busca and Marco Farina put up the first routes on the southeast face of Punta 3466m, a subsidiary summit of the famous Tour des Jorasses. Il Vecchio Jim (IV 5.12a [5.11b obl], 350m, eight pitches) and the slightly easier and less sustained Horizon Vertical (IV 5.11b/c [5.11b obl], 350m, nine pitches) climb magnificent rock, slabby in the lower section but finishing with superb vertical pitches up the red granite headwall. There are some bolts but a full rack of cams is essential. The climbing appears equally as good as the now super-classic South (aka Machetto) Diedre (ED-, 700m, Calcagno-Cerruti-Machetto, 1970) on the 3813-meter Tour des Jorasses just to the right, and its more recent offerings by Michel Piola, Etoiles Filantes (ED +: IV 5.11b obl, 450m, Anker-Piola-Strappazon, 1988) and Abysse. Access is from the Boccalatte Hut but the second ascensionists, the very speedy Matteo Giglio and partner, started from the valley in early September, covered the ca. 1500-meter height gain via paths and glacier to the foot of the wall in an impressive 2:20 hours, then enchained both routes (for their first on-sight ascents) in just seven hours.

The formation now has an official name: Punta Massimo Farina. Marco's brother, who died last year aged 23 while ice climbing in the Aosta Valley, was one of Italy's most promising young Alpinists and an excellent all-rounder, having climbed 5.14b, WI7, M10 (without leashes) and taken part in Italian expeditions to both Annapurna and K2. He created new ice/mixed lines in the Mont Blanc Massif with the likes of Patrick Gabarrou and Ezio Marlier, and completed many top-class ice fall and dry tooling routes with mentors such as Mauro "Bubu" Bole.

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