As a real mountain geek, I really enjoy mountain presentations. Those evenings when a talker choose a mountain subject and then make you dream and travel through beautiful words and pictures. During the « Alpine academy » organized by Arcteryx last june in Chamonix, I was participating a really interesting one. A strange character from eastern europa, not more east than Vienna but still inconvenient character ;) was asking an wierd question : Why the hell, alpinists from 80’s and 90’s were so much stronger than nowadays alpinists ? They didn’t have same technical gear, same warm and light clothes, same training programs… but they were simply rocking :
82 : South face of Shishapangma, Alpine style by Scott, Macintyre and Baxter-Jones.
84 : South face of Annapurna, Alpine style, by Lucas and Bohigas
85 : Gasherbrum IV, Alpine style by Kurtyka and Shauer.
86 : Hornbein on Everest, Alpine style by Loretan and Troillet…
Of course, There is more than only one answer… but Luka Lindic (the really cool, strong and finally not so strange alpinist from Slovenija ;) had a good explanation :
In those time, alpinists had a different spirit. They were spending a lot of time in mountain, enabling them to develop that « animal instinct » that make you feel the terrain and its dangers. Finally they were faster, spread less energy and therefore took less risks even if their ascents were really really commited !
In opposite, nowdays we train and prepare a lot before going to mountain. Then we rush to tick our project on our tick list… rush down to publish on our blogs our facebook, reports to sponsors… Finally we go back to the gym to train again and again for next projects… At the end we spend very few moments facing and understanding mountain’s conditions.
It started to boil in my little head… Shit !! maybe Linda is not so wrong ! With GMHM we are training like mules. In fact we never did train so much and so specifically : Cardio training, musculation, hypoxic chamber, Repeated Sprint in Altitude…
A beautiful window weather is coming in the Alps. Why not just go to mountain, with no big objectives except spending time up there, developing this animal instinct and enjoying our natural playground …
10 days in mountain, different supports, differents climbing partner but always same objective : Enjoying.
26/06 : GRAND CAPUCIN. Combination « Swiss » and « O sole mio » routes :
Grand Capucin is maybe one of the nicest granitic needle in Mont-Blanc range. The rock is close to perfection and the view over combe maudite is simply breathtaking. With Ena, we have chosen the combination between « Swiss » and « O sole mio » routes. Maybe the easiest way to reach summit of this gorgeous peak. No speed record, no rush. We have let the bivy at the bottom of the face, started climbing at 11 am and just enjoyed a wonderful granit day.
30/06 : MONT-BLANC INTEGRAL from Contamines :
With Seb Bohin, Seb Moatti and Ena we found a good trick to avoid crowded normal routes of european summit. We started at 0H15 from « La gruvaz » parking place, next to Contamines and we didn’t really stop until top of Mont Blanc, 11 hours later, passing by « Plan Glacier », « Refuge Durier », « Aiguille de Bionnassay » and « Dôme du Gouter ». 29 km, 4170m D+ … A beautiful and long day in mountain !
3/07 : AIGUILLE DU PEIGNE « normale » and « Rébuffat » routes :
After few days of rest, the weather is still really beautiful and warm. With Seb Moatti and Seb Ratel we are still in a « training » mode. We decide to go to « Le Peigne » in Aiguilles de Chamonix range without using cable car. After 5h30 of really beautiful scrambling through normal route and even nicer climbing through « Rébuffat » route we reached the summit of this beautiful needle. This route is not so classic but should really become. The « splitter » pitch graded 6c in the guide book and 5b by Sebiche… is alone worth the trip.
6/07 : Petit and Grand DRU Traverse :
Last but not least : Les Drus. This breathtaking needle stands for rock climbing in Chamonix. It has a strong history linked to first ascents of north face, west face and more recently all the huge rockslides… I have never reach the top of Petit dru, which is a shame because I can see it everyday form my balcony in les Praz…
Arnaud Bayol and Alban Alozy are hoping to base jump from les drus. I am motivated to join them but as my base jump abilities are just excelent in my dreams … I need someone to go down with me, when the two idiots will join the valley in 2 minutes… Ena is always motivated for a mountain adventure. Perfect.
Early morning, we left the most beautiful mountain hut in the world, Charpoua, hold by the nicest moutain hut keeper in the world, Sarah Cartier (Ok, she is a good friend and I am not really neutral).
After a really long time searching for the perfect base jump exit, lasering all possibilities… our two friends decided the wind is too strong to jump ! We still have a really long way to finish the route, go down to Charpoua and finally to Chamonix in the middle of the night !
Beautiful moments, shared in nice company. No pressure of first ascent or speed record… Maybe it is simply this spirit I like in mountain. 10 fabulous days which refill batteries and motivations for next big objective in Himalaya ;)