“What are you doing this weekend?” my girlfriend asked down the phone “How about a route on the Grandes Jorasses?”- not your standard reply, but I’d wanted to take my soon-to-be-wife up one of the ‘great’ North Faces of the Alps for quite a long time and the Jorasses was in exceptional conditions, so why not now? My good friend Korra had started his Jorasses season off with a ridiculously fast solo up the Polish Route a month before hand, and seeing as I’ve done very little on the right hand side of the Jorasses it seemed like the route to do.
We packed for a leisurely ascent, I wanted to bivy at the base and consider bivying on the summit or on the way down so that Sandra didn’t break up with me at some point on the Jorasses for pushing too hard. I do love bivying in autumn though- there is always a huge crowd in the Leschaux Hut and you’ll be lucky if you get more than 2 hours sleep which ruins me the following day. Autumnal bivying is so light that you start climbing with only an extra couple of kilos on your back but have the advantage of not having to stress and ‘do everything in a day’. The climbing is actually much better than I thought on the Polish / Michto; after a month of heavy traffic it was nicely hooked out and we were glad that we’d picked a dubious weather window as no one else was on that side of the face. It was, in the end, another fun day up the Jorasses and whilst it was brutally windy and cold on the summit you just can’t beat watching the sunset over Mont Blanc from this angle.