Mixed masters

By Ian Parnell ,

No time for a siesta — Jasper in the thick of it, on the Grandes Jorasses. Markus Stofer

French, German, and Swiss storm the AlpsIn early February, Frenchmen Patrick Berhault and Philippe Magnin blitzed the Italian side of Mont Blanc, climbing an astonishing 16 routes over 19 days. Basing themselves at the Eccles bivouac hut, the pair spent the first six days climbing eight ephemeral ice lines, most including AI 6 climbing, on both sides of the Brouillard and Innominata ridges. After summitting Mont Blanc and making a rapid 12,000-foot ski descent to Chamonix for two days rest and re-supply, the pair returned for the equally fine collection of rock pillars in the area. Another eight routes followed, all either TD or ED and rarely climbed in winter (some of these without second ascents even in summer). Berhault and Magnin’s route tally surely represents one of the finest achievements yet in the range. The other standout this winter was the coveted first free ascent of the legendary No Siesta on the Grandes Jorasses. This 3500-foot-long route, first climbed by Slovaks Jan Porvaznik and Stan Glejdura in 1986, involved sections of A2 and A3 climbing for all subsequent ascentionists. Many had talked about the possibility of an all-free ascent, but it was Robert Jasper from Germany and Markus Stofer from Switzerland who took the prize over three days in March. Jasper, who this winter has put up two new M12s, found the route “long and serious,” with lots of thin ice and sections of M8. “The individual pitches are really beautiful and the route as a whole is an excellent modern mixed climb,” he says of the free line, which now represents the state-of-the-mixed-art in the Mont Blanc region.

Flanked by the Walker and Croz spurs, No Siesta offers up 3500 feet of mixed sickness.Robert Jasper

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