October 6th 2009

Grandes Jorasses- Croz Spur

Video cut together with the footage and images taken on an ascent of the Croz spur/ Slovenian in October 2009. All images and footage © Jonathan Griffith/ Alpine Exposures

Croz spur with Slovenian start- Grandes Jorasses from Jonathan Griffith on Vimeo.

After hearing some good reports from people about the Croz spur we headed up the day after we got down from our abortive attempt on the Desecures-Robach. A pleasant bivy at the base under the full moon and we were up and off at 5am.

Wake up under the full moon below the Jorasses

The shrund is steep ice with a over-hanging step to get over it which is always good for the first pump of the day. I think you can get over it much easier on the far left but I couldnt see in the dark. Up above and the route is in amazing nick- bomber nevee for the first few hundred meters and really pleasant climbing.

Cruising up the lower section with sunrise on the Verte and Drus

On the lower ice section

The first difficulties are met on the mixed ramp that leads you towards the spur itself and the higher icefield. Its amazing quality climbing though and prefect mixed tool placements. Pro was a little sparse but otherwise fine- I suspect this would be very easy with a little bit more ice in it but we still moved together over it so it wasnt that bad.

Exiting the mixed ramp

Exiting the mixed ramp

After this there is a long ice pitch which was a little thin in places and therefore runout but otherwise never too steep.

At the third ice field the ice turned hard. I was hoping to be able to romp up this but we encountered both black ice and some very hard ice which slowed us down quite a bit- especially as I had a bent ice pick which didnt help for first time placements! Two thirds of the way up the ice field you take a very obvious couloir up left that leads you onto the Spur proper where you get an amazing view of the Colton Macintyre.

Will approaching the notch in the Croz Spur after the icefield

Up above you stick to the ridge line which brings you to the base of the Croz ‘tower’. we had to cross some really delicate terrain here as the snow hadnt settled at all resulting in powder covered slabs with no opportunity for pro which again made the going a little slow.

Will on the Spur with the summits of Walker, Whymper and Croz above

From the base of the tower you can either go the traditional way up left in which case you find yourself in loose rock climbing hell apparently or you can skirt out right which leads you to a very obvious ice couloir. It’s a little delicate to both get there and for the start of the ice (thin) but once you’re in it’s a nice easy climb to the notch just below the summit.

On the penultimate ice pitch

On the penultimate ice pitch

Exiting the Croz!

From here you can rap down the south side. The glacier descent is a right nightmare for the moment and its advisable to try and get down it in the day time whilst you can still make out a faint track otherwise you can get really lost in a maze of crevasses. The hut is currently un-guarded but there is of course the winter room that did is very well for the night.

At the Bocolatte hut

Light and fast. Ropes, rack and all our kit

The Alpine Exposures coffee table photo book