Jottnar - 250m Scottish Grade VIII,8 (5,6,8,8).
On Saturday the 16th of March 2013, Mark Thomas and Dave Almond made the 1st ascent of "JOTTNAR", a new modern mixed route on the North Face of the Aiguille Du Midi.
After a rather sleepless night in the cosmiques refuge, mainly as a result of a constant visualisation of the next days project filling me with dread, we set off into the morning glow with a mixture of excitement and feeling completely gripped!
We abseil into the jaws of the Passerelle Couloir, the day is remarkably still compared to the past three days of buffeting and soon I am overcome with excitement as a rap down into the base of the route, awesome!
Dave joins me at the belay, above us a blank canvas of corners and grooves leading back up towards the top of the Cosmiques Arete.
We set off like boys in a sweet shop! Woop, woop, bring it on!
Pitch 1. 60m V,6.
Belay 15m up from the start of the Perroux Route in a small snowy bay, 20m down and to the skiers left from the abseil on the middle rock spur in the Passerelle Couloir. Climb up a mixed snowy bay and into a corner below an overhanging red granite headwall. Reach a groove to the right of this headwall and make an airy, snowy traverse right to a good belay at its end.
Pitch 2. 55m V,5.
Move right from the belay and climb the overhanging flakes, exiting right. Follow the vague groove directly up, to the left of the rib, to reach snowy blocks beneath a 15m cracked wall of yellow granite.
Pitch 3. 50m VIII,8.
Climb up the mixed corner above and enter the long crack on the left of the wall, to the right of the triangular shaped niche on its left. Pumpy torques up this crack lead to a very balancy and exciting step left into the top of the crack on its left and a snowy niche. Climb the corner crack out of this snowy niche and up to the base of the 50m groove.
Pitch 4. 60m VIII,8.
Mind Blowing!! Climb the groove direct, using the thin ice seam in its back and some amazing layback torquing high up to exit at the finishing moves at the top of the Cosmiques Arete. Awesome!
Pitch 5. 10m.
Finish the last moves up the Arete and onto the Viewing Platform at the Midi Station.
A very cool day in the mountains and a roller coaster of emotions resulting in two very smiley mountaineers!