"This set tells the story of the ascent of Aiguille de Roc (3409m) followed by the Grépon (3482m), whose first ascent was done in 1911. However, it is only in 1938 that Edouard Frendo will
finally combine the two ascents.
So far, it has been my best mountain experience ever, from a combination of technical difficulty, engagement and mountain scenery. For those who are familiar with the Alpine grades, it is TD, V+.
Guided by Louis, who never did this route previously, we hiked to the Envers des Aiguilles hut in the afternoon, stunned at every moment by the massive diminution of the ice field linked to climate change. We had a nice dinner but were in bed at 9pm! It was important to try sleep to be in shape!
We left the hut at 4 15 am. We had our first difficulty and the first true frightening bit near the bergschrund of the Trélatête glacier which I hit a bit too harshly with my ice axe. As a consequence, a massive chunk plummeted just below us. This was followed by an exposed step, in the dark, allowing Louis to get back to the standard route.
After that, we moved fast. We got higher and higher and the sun did rise while we were above a sub-peak called Tour Rouge. At the end of a large rock "valley", we put on our rock shoes as the rock face was getting significantly steeper.
At 9am, we reached the summit of Aiguille de Roc through a beautiful and exposed 5c pitch. Unfortunately, I have no picture from this summit : I did put my camera aside to protect it while climbing a narrow chimney and Louis's pictures were not focused properly. Whatever, we did not stay on this very narrow summit : the summit of Grépon is still far away and we had to tackle an impressive abseil over a big overhang!
This led us to the narrow pass between Aiguille de Roc and Grépon, ready to go after the crux of the route! The Frendo diedre, 50 meters almost vertical in a fantastic 5c pitch. After that, we re joined with the normal route of "Grépon Mer de Glace", a bit below the famous Knubel crack which leads to the summit. Exposed and not so obvious!
Its noon and we were now on top of Grépon where stands one of the 4 Madonnas of the Mont Blanc Massif. While climbing, we saw, from a different perspective the itinerary of Republique-Charmoz which we have done last year and an other objective for the week, Dent du Geant.
It was time to go down through a succession of long abseils leading us to an other glacier. We rushed again so we did not stay below massive over hangings seracs. Finally, we reached the hiking trail, keeping a good pace to be sure not to miss the lift leading back to Chamonix.
A GRAND day out! 12 hours of continuous climbing at a good pace.
Thanks to Louis (also for the pictures of me and the shade in the abseil of Aiguille de Roc)."
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