Manitua – Grandes Jorasses

Two of the biggest, hard summer alpine routes in the Mont Blanc massif that feed my dreams are Divine Providence on Pilier d´Angle and Manitua on the north face of Grandes Jorasses. Of course you have harder rock climbs, longer ridges and link-ups, but for me, those two are the main reasons coming back to the massif in summer. Probably I will return again and again for granite cracks, but dangerous game of summer alpinism could be put in hold after climbing those two.

Line of Manitua with our bivouacs marked.

After soloing Peuterey Integral in late July focus was more in low stress rock climbing rather than in big alpine, but as always, hunger grows and you start to be more restless. Divine Providence was out of the game in late August, but for Manitua conditions could be actually be quite good.

Several day weather window was approaching and it would begin with a quite cold and cloudy day. A perfect opportunity to climb exposed lower part of Manitua without getting too scared with rockfall. Luckily Sami Modenius was ready for a big climb! Also my Chamonix flatmate Samuli Pekkanen got super stoked about the route and asked if he could join us. With his big wall experience our team would be stronger as nature of the climb kinda forces you to haul and aid some pitches. Except if you are climbing 7c free, on big and scary alpine face and doing it quickly which most of the people won´t.

Approaching the black looking wall. Picture by Samuli Pekkanen.

In summer 1991, a legendary Slovenian alpinist Slavko Sveticic managed to find a line of weakness through the blankest part of the N face of Grandes Jorasses. He climbed for three days in a shadow, establishing a route called Manitua, named after his friend, whom died on the same face a year earlier.

With Walker Spur, Manitua is the only route that gets ascents regularly in summer. There are few others rock routes like Le Nez, but they are off the radar. Jorasses is after all the arena for biggest mixed lines in the massif.

Manitua had a period when it got just winter aid ascents but since summer 2015, when Korra Pesce and Tomas Muller did the first one day ascent, it has turned to be more popular in summer. Dry summers and bad mixed climbing conditions have forced keen Jorasses climbers mainly to Walker and Manitua, other routes being out of condition most of the time.

Low angled snow at the start.

As a team of three we headed from the first Montenvers train of the day towards base of the Jorasses on Monday. Walk in was fastest I have done, as glacier was mostly free of snow. Big streams were running high up on the glacier showing the rude effects of climate change. We took the rope out for the last hour for the crevassed part before launching to the face around 13:30.

First 400m to the base of the shield were horrible loose show of choss. We had to climb carefully and ended up pitching almost the whole lower part. Simul climbing would have been too dangerous at times, but due to cold and cloudy day the whole face was death silent, which was perfect for us. No rockfall!

Ambiance! Loose traverse under the shield. Can you spot Samppa?

Climbing itself was very easy. Last pitch of the day was one move 5c which is a variation to avoid 6c death slab. Variation makes also much more sense and doesn´t feel forced like the original start.

I don´t know why topo doesn´t mention mega ledges top of the first pitch of the shield, but those might be the best place to spend a night on the whole face. We were able to fully lay down and relax while moving clouds gave some extra ambiance.

Best bivy on the face?

After midnight we were able to see line of headlamps on the glacier heading for Walker Spur. How much better it would be to start climbing straight from the bivy and avoid tiring approach at night? Much better!

Sami took the first lead block in the morning when sun hit the shield. We had an hour of sunlight before shadows of the N face were upon us again. Sami led three 6b pitches in a big corner with some verglass or shorth wet sections at times. Nothing too bad for a big alpine face though.

Sami heading up on the first pitch of the day.
Samppa following.
Sami leading in a big corner system.

Leader climbed without a pack, he would haul most the gear with a tag line and seconds climbed with quite light packs. This system would continue top of the shield.

I took the second lead block for few overhanging 6c/+ pitches that in my opinion had the best free climbing on the route. Amazing big holds on a wildly steep terrain. I also did the ramp to the start of the last part of the shield where Samppa started his block.

Juho leading some steep terrain. Picture by Samuli Pekkanen.
Steep hauling. Picture by Samuli Pekkanen.

Some 6b climbing led to a bold 7a pitch which was climbed with pulling pitons and cams. It was already quite cold and free climbing wasn’t the first priority. I had climbed everything free until that point but that 7a looked quite uninviting with micro crimps.

Again some easier stuff before we were under the crux of the route. It was also the last pitch of the shield. An overhanging wall guarding exit to easier terrain. Ground under out feet dropped 400 meters straight down and base jump would have been more than possible.

Juho following.
Samppa leading higher on the face.

We had two options. To do original A3 exit pitch of Manitua or climb the last 7c pitch of Le Nez which is more often done nowdays. Samppa went for the latter and had a proper battle up it with mixture of free and aid climbing. Luckily we had some peckers and pitons with us. It should have been 6c/A1 but even moves to first in-situ pitons were tricky, risking a painful fall to a sharp edge.

An impressive lead which made first on-sight go of the pitch by Symon Welfringer few weeks earlier to look quite an achievement.

Samppa dealing with the crux. Picture by Sami Modenius.

We still had daylight left but wind had picked up and we were risking a very windy night on the summit if we would continue. We wanted to go down from Pointe Walker to avoid loose rappels from Pointe Croz. That would mean climbing few hundred meters of a ridge in a dark in strong winds, so best option was just to find a bivy and take it as a training for bigger mountains.

We found a small cave left from a top anchor of Le Nez and dug it deeper and better for two people. Samppa was able to sleep on a ledge ten meters higher while I and Sami played cavemen. The bivy was quite good and protected from a wind, though changing position at night was hard.

Second bivy in a cave.

On the next morning we started following the original line of Manitua through some loose mixed terrain until we joined the Croz Spur at the notch. I had done the last part in spring 2019 with Etienne during our ascent of the Croz Spur, so I knew the last three pitches quite well. That time pitches felt really annoying and slow with snow, but now they were climbed quite fast with big boots and bare hands. Temperature was close the same though as wind raged strong around us. Situation was wild, the N face dropping 1000m to the glacier under our feet, conditions were alpine say the least and climbing interesting. I was happy to pull the last moves to the ridge out of the shadows, to the warmth and calmness of Italy.

Sami leading mixed terrain on day three. Picture by Samuli Pekkanen.
Ropes singing in the wind. Picture by Samuli Pekkanen.

It´s a relieving moment to top out but at the same time intensity of the N face disappears. Of course you still have a long and chaotic descent to Planpincieux ahead, but once again you managed to escape the dark and lived some of the most powerful days of your life.

Jorasses knows we will be back. We will always return with hunger of something harder. In search of a journey back to the light.

We summited Pointe Walker and had a quite uneventful descent down to Val Ferret. It´s long and very alpine but you lose altitude so quickly, that in six hours you are back in the green forests of the valley.

Summit! Picture by Samuli Pekkanen.

Manitua was my fourth route on the face, Sami`s third and Samppa`s first. I certainly hope that some time in the future face turns white again and allows us to follow it`s thin ice smears. Until that time, the Jorasses fever has decreased, if it ever fully does. There´s no wall like it in the World!





Grandes Jorasses – Croz Spur with Slovenian start

During the crazy Autumn of 2014 we were below the north face of the Grandes Jorasses second time in a week. I and Juha Sillanpää had climbed the Colton-McIntyre, the north face of Dent Blanche and attempted the Supercouloir. It was my first bigger objective trip to the Alps if one can say so.

We suffered a chilly and wet night under the bergschrund, our upper bodies inside a snowhole and legs outside, collecting snow.

It was windy when we started the Slovenian start of the Croz Spur. We made good progress but big amount of spindrift forced us down from the 2nd icefield. Conditions were good and drift of snow would only reduce higher, but very serious experience in the Supercouloir few weeks earlier affected us a lot. There we were trapped by a massive spindrift avalanche for several hours. Juha was only mid-way up the second pitch but just after hours we were able to rappel off. Powerfull and scary, but we learned our lesson.

Face of the dreams and epics.

Back to spring 2019 then. Before I flew to the Alps in March I had two big routes in my mind which should be doable in dry conditions and short’ish weather windows; the Lesueur route and Croz Spur.

After the Dru we found out that a team from New Zealand had already climbed the Croz Spur, but with the Slovenian start and reported quite good conditions. As there were no big windows for multiday routes in April, Croz Spur seemed like a best bet.

I talked a lot about tactics with Etienne and in the end we took one single rope, bivouac equipment were left to the valley except our stove and snowshoes came along.

We walked to the Leschaux refuge on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Already snowshoes came handy in a deep slush.

The evening went by eating a lot and watching sunset colours lit the Jorasses on fire. This refuge must be one of the best what comes to views. Though Couvercle might be a winner in that competition.

Sunset game going strong.

We woke up at 02:15 and left the hut at 03:00 bellies full of muesli and tea. Glacier was frozen but carried our weight only with snowshoes. Snow got deeper closer the face and we were really happy with these strange gadgets on our legs. Only one visible crevasse we had to cross which made going rather quick.

Bergschrund was passed at 06:00 quite easily. We climbed two pitches to get to the face proper and simul climbing terrain. Second pitch was a bit thin and required a belay for sure.

Schrund and first pitch. We did the obvious ice strip to acces the face.
Race is on!

We did two long simul blocks to the base of the steeper section above the 2nd icefield. With microtraxion and superb ice conditions this was safe. Again a bit thin but one timers all the way.

Etienne starting his simul block.

Time was 09:00 when I started the first mixed pitch. Way to the M5 corner was more difficult than corner itself due to lack of ice. With thin protection I commited to the smallest of loose ice drips in a long time. With calves shaking I reached the snowy ledge below the second mixed pitch which is usually iced up.

Etienne tried from the middle but refused to commit for the ice without pro. He then traversed to the dihedral on the right and sent it as a M6 with quite good pitons and cams. Still more enjoyable for the second.

Second mixed pitch in the middle. Only big pitches this time.

I took the lead for the next big simul block all the way to the col on the spur proper. Really fun to be able to do the easier terrain in huge blocks! Clock was now 13:20 because mixed pitches in the middle took so long.

More simul climbing to the col.

We knew that next part would be the crux as there was still a lot of snow covering slabs. Etienne did one good pitch which was followed by one of the most horrible pitches of my life. Low angled slab with fresh snow. You never could know if you hit the rock or ice below. I cleaned a lot and slowly forced myself upwards on frozen mud-like rock. Took ages but we reached a platform below the last two or three pitches.

Horrible slabs!
Upper sections of Walker and Colton-Mac visible.

New Zealanders climbed the left-hand M5 finish which Etienne went to try but came back as there was too much snow to climb a rocky slab safely. Right-hand finish had some visible ice high up but maybe not enough for a safe climb. We had only one option left. The original 6a rock climbing show on loose but quite dry looking blocks.

First of the exit pitches. M5 goes to the left and 6a to the right of the tower.

Etienne led first two pitches. First had incredibly loose rock but second one was almost a good pitch with growing exposure. Belay was bolted?! which gave me some courage to enter to the final 6a pitch below the summit ridge. First meters to a piton were easy but then a chimney begun and good holds and protection ended. I was hanging from a hand jam (behind a moving flake) 1000 meters above the glacier and Colton-McIntyre icefields. Exposure was totally crazy and dizzying. Never been in a so exposed place on a alpine climb.

Chimney looked horrible and dangerous but I should make a plan quickly. I saw some juggy holds on the right but terrain was overhanging there. I committed. Meter by meter I found more holds and some pro until it all seemed to end again. I put a 0.75 cam behind a hollow spire and went back and forth, refused to commit to a traverse back to the chimney.

In the end I did, only to find myself under some snowmushrooms. It took ages to clean them including the cornice on the ridge. I pulled from the cams whenever I could. Drag was heinous but I made it to the ridge. When Etienne arrived it was past 19:00. I really don’t know where we used all those hours after quick start.

Upper part of the route. M5 option is the obvious low angle corner in the middle and original 6a finish is the wild ramp system above it.

We underestimated the final wall for sure and lost a lot of time because our minds were already in ‘soon to be over’ mode. Again a lesson learned. It affects your climbing pace and skills!

On the Italian side cloud cover seemed to be at the level of the Reposoir. We did few rappels and some down climbing to get to the glacier which had a crust on the top and deep slush underneath.

Misty mountains.
Feeling isolated.
Knowing how the descent will turn out.

Whiteout was annoying and we managed to go too right. When the darkness fell I was sure we were not on the Reposoir but where in earth we were? GPS showed the place but still it didn’t match. When the clouds moved for a second and everything turned yellow due to moonlight we saw the Reposoir on our left-hand side. Damn!

Luckily we didn’t have to climb too much up again to reach the spur. From there on we down climbed and found the rappels easily but next task would be hard. With worryingly low visibility our only chance to avoid cold bivy was to follow Etienne’s phone’s GPS map app. Checking our location in every 100 meters while zigzagging around crevasses Etienne made awsome job leading us through the mist. Seeing the lights of Planpincieux never felt so good.

Last few hundred meters to the Boccalatte were fast with improved visibility and snow conditions. We reached the hut just before midnight, two or three hours later than our planned latest time but in good spirits anyway.

Jorasses tested us for real despite easy looking route on paper. New Zealanders had less snow which made the final wall a bit quicker for them I quess. I was pleased that we made to the hut despite the fact that top part of the route didn’t went excactly as planned or the descent as smoothly. I think uncertainties and difficult situations are good learning experiences for us whom climb a lot inside the safety net of the Alps. If we want to climb safely in the greater ranges and deal with the unknown. If I think our Mt. Hunter climb for example. We had a rough plan but had to climb through the night, bivy in a unplanned snowcave and deal with the harrowing descent. Actual plan shaped up during the climb. Don’t understand me wrong as better planned the better preformed but there is always unknown factors you have to deal with if you want to come back safe and succesfully summit on the way.

Etienne thought that maybe our ascent on Croz is not a success as we really had to battle a bit more than we had wanted and didn’t manage to plan or see the outcome beforehand. Good thoughts because we were forced to climb harder terrain in the end than planned. What if out rack was too small for it or direct exit also proved to be full of snow?

In the end I think it’s only good for the future but good to go through the climb and actions step by step after the climb to learn.

Serac below the Col des Jorasses.

Jorasses still kicked our butts on Friday and offered one last whiteout experience. This time our joked ‘mountaineering instinct’ kicked back and we made it to the Planpincieux bus station under two hours despite bad visibility. Even catched the first bus of the day to Chamonix! That went better than planned. ?

Les Drus – Voie Lesueur

I’ve wanted to climb Les Drus north face for many years now, but since 2014 conditions have not been that icy. I always thought that there must be loads of hero neve covering corners before I’m willing to go there. Well, years have been dry. Evolution of tackling big north faces in dry tooling style is more and more common. Also I slowly adapted my mind to it. Of course at the same time my own climbing ability has grown. That means more confidence and reserve to climb harder routes.

Les Drus with Nant Blanc face of the Aiguille Verte on the left.

This spring I came to Chamonix to learn how to ski but as a climber there’s no way one can hide burning flames and stoke to be around Europe’s coolest mountains.

Eventually the weather window arrived. I teamed up with native Etienne whom shared the same idea of climbing a big alpine route. An objective wasn’t that hard to pick. Conditions limited out plenty of options. So Voie Lesueur on the Dru it would be.

Voie Lesueur (850m, M7)

The route got climbed in the summer of 1952 by the Lesueur brothers as a ED3/ABO. It got few repeats here and then but in the begining of the time of social media Ueli Steck and Jon Griffith did a winter ascent with variations that shooted the line into the light for the public. According to PlanetMountain Ueli graded it M8+ but more ascents brought the grade closer to easy M7. So much less letters on the grade now. ?

Quite a few teams actually climb the original line. Start of the route is more logical via Allain-Leininger as the whole line follows weaknesses rather than line straight up to the summit. In the end many of the teams finish to the breche of the Drus, to the summit of the Petit Dru or climb few pitches to the summit of the Grand Dru via Drus traverse route. We wanted to climb the original line in the upper part as it again follows a natural line to the summit of Grand Dru. It’s too easy option to leave the game in the north couloir.

Voie Lesueur with Allain-Leininger start. Picture by Wikipedia.

As Compagnie du Mont Blanc is struggling to keep lifts in function we had to think how to approach Les Drus. We ended up taking a Herse chairlift, skinning to the Bochard top station, skiing (downclimbing) the Poubelle couloir and skinning up the summer bivy of the Drus. Day was hotter than hell and boiling powder bowls of Pas du Chevre gave us trouble. Snow did get stuck under our skis.

Evening was beautiful and windless and we slept quite well under open skies. Alarm went off at 03:45 and we were on our way around 05.00.

All the pictures are of Etienne as only I had camera. Skin in!
Number one sunset bivy place in the valley.

Short walk to the schrund and I was off for the first pitch of Allain-Leininger which we would follow for the first couple hundred meters.

First time ever I did drop my ice axe and finished the pitch with only one. Luckily Etienne was able to recover the other one after I lowered him down from mid-pitch. Of course at the same time another team cruised to the same height. Only other team on the whole face and we all are going for the same route. Some pressure kicked in as it would be hard to pass after the snowfields as you don’t know which team is climbing faster. In the end we got up first and German team continued following us. Hopefully we didn’t slow you down 😉

Proper climbing begins after snowfields. Etienne took a first lead block and followed ramps and corners leading to the main groove which forms the middle part of the line. Already at this point climbing was tricky at times.

First pitch after Allain-Leininger start.
Handjams were very used here. White rockfall scar on the right.
Tricky ramp pitch on the N face.

Etienne sent the steep first M7 crux in a one long 60m pitch and I followed with a pack (of course we hauled the leader pack).

First crux. Good hooks and short steep and powerfull section.

My lead block started and I did one huge pitch to the base of the second crux. I really needed some motivation talk as I was already feeling tired from seconding with a pack. Again I did another big pitch through the M7 chimney which wasn’t that bad but M5 section above took more effort than I wanted. Slippery and smooth rock.

Top of the second M7 crux pitch. Visible section is M5 and felt harder than the chimney below.

From here on we did three traverse pitches, including world’s hardest M4 to gain the most unlogical part of the route. Etienne laybacked one thin and one larger crack and suddenly we were below the upper 6b crux and above our planned bivy ledge. We had freed everything so far and now the plan should be set: are we fixing the 6b boulder problem now for the morning or are we leaving it to be aided next morning? I was happy with all the days effort so far but Etienne wanted to try it. A shame he didn’t took his axe ready after jamming part as it costed a free ascent but anyway now we had a rope there and we could bivy.

Petite Col and only one pitch and rappel to the bivy place.
Upper crux is 6b boulder problem.

Ledge fit two people but just. It felt like I was sliding towards Chamonix all night and Etienne dropped hot water to his sleeping bag not to make a night too comfortable.

Happy to spend a night on the wall. Not so happy an hour later.

Morning came like always and we jugged up the ropes in a dark. Two more pitches led to the lean north couloir which we followed for 30 meters and exited to the rising traverse on the proper north face of the Grand Dru. First of these traverse pitches was horrible with bad protection and rock. I tried not to knock off any rocks as they would fall straight to the couloir where Etienne was belaying. Reminded me from “Traverse of the Gods”.

Etienne in the north couloir. See our tracks on the right.
Traverse of the gravel!

Then it was only two long simul sections to the summit of the Grand Dru. Clock was 11:00 when I stood top of the summit gendarme. Air was spring like!

Without wasting time we rapped the north couloir and passed the german team on the way. We reached our skis at 14:00 and skied to the Poubelle which wasn’t the easiest way off with skis and climbing gear on your back. Slush for hours!

Summit of the Grand Dru.
Vallee Blanche and probably hundreds of skiers doing it.
Rapping off. Mainly from rock anchors.

Eventually we reached Argentiere and safety of the valley. How nice spring adventure we had! Voie Lesueur was far better and a bit easier than I thought but anyway a magnificent way to climb the north face of the Drus. Route is certainly doable in a day with light pack and early start but with a bivy there’s more adventure.

It was my first route on Les Drus but not the last. There’s few other lines I’d like to try some day.

Alaska 2017: Mt. Hunter´s Grison-Tedeschi and Denali

I´ve just returned to Finland after spending 40 days in the Central Alaska Range with Juha Sillanpää. We got really lucky with the weather during our first weeks in the range and we managed to do the 6th ascent of the Grison-Tedeschi (aka French route) on the North Buttress of the Mt. Hunter (4442m). Our luck turned on Denali though. I summited “the great one” in 7h 50 min round-trip from the Basin Camp (4300m) via the West Buttress on the 4th of June, but bronchitis stopped Juha. His high point on the West Buttress was 5800m. Plans for the Slovak Direct, which was our main objective, failed that´s why. Weather didn´t co-operate either. I´d say we had 50 percent success which is pretty good for the first trip in the area. Anyway, I´m going back for the Slovak for sure!

Juha at Kahiltna BC and Mt. Hunter´s N buttress looming in the background.



Mt. Hunter, Grison-Tedeschi

Mt. Hunter´s N buttress stands silently near the Kahiltna BC in middle of the Alaska Range. Face looks brilliant mixed-and ice climbing wise and it´s no wonder that it still attracts several teams per year. It has many famous routes on it like Bibler-Klewin, Wall of Shadows and Deprivation, but for many, Grison-Tedeschi is the most logical and committing line. Yves Tedeschi and Benois Grison did the FA in 1984 and it remained unrepeated 23 years until Andy Houseman and Jon Bracey did the second ascent in 2007. Two Slovaks did the third ascent and Colin Haley and Bjorn Eivind-Årtun did the forth in 2009. Kurt Ross and J.D. Merritt did the fifth in 2015. We wanted to try the Grison-Tedeschi because there were too many teams on the Bibler-Klewin. We had come to Alaska to get a bigger adventure and experience than in the Alps and following others tracks wasn´t in plans.

Lower part of the Grison-Tedeschi.
Upper part of the Grison-Tedeschi.


Very few teams whom try a route on the N buttress manage to stand on the true summit. Usually teams rappel down from the Cornice bivy, which marks the end of the technical terrain. But Mt. Hunter is not located in the Alps where such a thing as claiming a route climbed without a summit excits. I continue to say again that in alpinism route isn´t finished until you reach the summit. For many it´s hard to understand. Of course there is no “rules”, but come on!

Talkeetna Air Taxi`s talented bush pilot dropped us to the Kahiltna Base Camp (2200m) on 4th of May. We used the next day building “Camp Finland” and on the 6th we climbed the Mini Moonflower to the ridge as first acclimatization climb. Ice was bullet hard and climbing quite boring I have to say. Just 600 meters of basic axe swinging. Views from the upper ridge were great though, but cold wind made us rappel the route without visiting the “summit”.

TAT knows how to do it! @Juha Sillanpää
Juho leading the crux of the Mini Moonflower. @Juha Sillanpää
Juho ski touring at Kahiltna glacier. @Juha Sillanpää

Few snowy days later we did our first attempt on the Grison-Tedeschi, but our going was too slow to go further than 300 meters from the schrund. On the 12th we stood under the face again. Big spindrift avalanche came down the couloir as we racked. Morning sun releases snow from the upper snowfields straight down the route, but we were sure that we are able to climb the couloir before day warms it up too much.  Schrund was easier this time and I led it much quicker. First 300 meters went fast simul-climbing to the start of the couloir proper.

Juho in the couloir. @Juha Sillanpää


Conditions in the couloir were okey. Ice wasn´t too fat but it allowed us to move in steady pace. Usually we did 80 meter pitches, but last two steeper ones we pitched properly. Nice to get pumped on ice after two months break from ice climbing. Backpacks weren´t super light either because we carried light sleeping bags and pads. Occasionally spindrift slushes came down covering our clothes with snow.

Brew stop top of the corniced snow arete, which is the best place to keep a break on the route, went quickly. Spirits were high still due to solid pace. Next ice runnel gave some idea what to expect. Climbing was slow and annoying due to hard ice. Juha led the steep ice pitch through the Black Band and did run out of screws top of it. I finished the pitch climbing glassy thin ice which ended to a next traverse.

Juho leading a steeper pitch in the couloir. @Juha Sillanpää
Juha following around corniced snow arete.

Icefields felt eternal and we reached the headwall at 10pm. Clouds swarmed around us in colors of yellow and orange. Alaskan night was on it´s way. Headwall is a maze of compact rock, thin ice smears and snow mushrooms. The hardest climbing of the route is right there, in the end. I led three tricky mixed pitches through the night. First one was amazing and steep, second one horrible with powder snow top of rock and third one with more rotten ice and steeper climbing. Route finding wasn´t easy but you just have to trust your feelings.

Juha gunning through the Black Band.
Juha enjoys bullet hard ice.
Last picture I took. No photos from the Headwall.


In the morning Juha led two pitches full of mixed boulder problems and then we were out of the maze. After more than 24 hours of climbing we were in need of food and water. We did find a sheltered spot between two blocks where to brew. Wind picked up and it started snowing heavily. Rest of the day Juha dig a snow cave and I stood on a ledge trying to keep my eyes open which wasn´t an easy task.

Next morning we begun climbing at 10am. Without bivy gear and snow cave we wouldn´t have a change to go up, but now, after 24 hours of resting we felt okey again. Day was calm and warm. Just a perfect summit day. We followed Colin´s tracks to the summit. At late afternoon we were top of the Mt. Hunter enjoying views in every direction as far as eye can see. We had two options: to rappel the N buttress via the Bibler-Klewin or descent the West ridge. We went for the later.

Snow cave ready to use!
No tent means snow cave action.

First 1000 meters went without problems. Conditions were good enough for fast walking and we admired the beauty of the range. Alpenglow made the evening one of the most beautiful ever. At the begining of the Ramen couloir things started go in wrong direction. I launched an slab avalanche while seeking for ice for the rappels. Luckily Juha belayed from the ridge, but it was too close this time. Night was just horrible because we couldn´t find ice from the lower couloir. Ages of down-soloing brought us to the NE basin.

It wasn´t over yet.  Next task was to find a shortcut to avoid the lower icefall. Rappeling a vertical and very wet couloir brought us to the glacier which was full of crevasses, scree and boulders. It looked almost undoable at first. Terrain was messy and quite nasty to navigate. Finally we did find a suitable way through. Once on the safe zone of the Kahiltna glacier Juha said: “Don’t say you like this shit”. I answered with a grin.

Juho heading to the summit. @Juha Sillanpää
Juho nearing the summit slopes. @Juha Sillanpää
Juha climbing to the last summit ridge.
On the summit of the Mt. Hunter.
Juho enjoys the alpenglow on the West ridge..
Entering to the Ramen couloir.
Juha on the Kahiltna glacier ready to walk back to BC.


Denali, West Buttress

We spend 5 days in Base Camp resting and packing for the Denali. On the 21st of May we set off towards the highest mountain of the continent. Sleds and backpacks were full of food and gear for 5 weeks on the higher ground. After the first hour of pulling we had used every bad word we could figure out. We are climbers, not polar skiers! It took three whiteout days on skis to reach the Motorcycle Hill Camp at 3300 meters. We single carried everything up to there. Weather was just bad and snow generally deep. Of course weather got even worse and we remained stuck at the camp for three days. Then we did our first carry to Basin Camp, spend another day at Motorcycle Hill Camp as 40 cm of new snow fell and then on the 29th we just pushed through the storm to the Basin Camp (4300m) with rest of our gear. Nine days from BC!!

Denali seen from the Mt. Hunter.
Theme of the first week on Denali.
Stuck at 11.000 feet!
Stormy weather at Basin Camp.
Climbers arriving to Basin Camp.
Daily life at Basin Camp.

Since we had already summited Mt. Hunter and spend almost a month at lower elevations we kept only one rest day before heading up the West Buttress to finish acclimatization. On the 31st of May we walked up to High Camp (5200m) with camping gear in 4 hours. Evening was stunning and warm. We had a small climbing tent for the night which proved to be quite tight with all the down gear. After midnight Juha got enough and decided to sleep outside. I stayed in a tent. It was around -25 degrees at night.

Juho on the West Buttress. @Juha Sillanpää
Juha at High Camp.
Views from the High Camp.

After 10am we geared up and headed towards the summit. Our pace was slow but it all want okey enough to the Denali Pass. After that Juha really battled to move forward. At 5800 meters he felt too weak to continue. I was feeling well, but in that moment only sensible thing was to get Juha down safely. I know that first time at altitude can be awful and you don´t know what to expect.

At Basin Camp we had a discussion that we should try to do single push via the West Buttress to be sure we are ready for the Slovak. I wasn´t too keen to waste energy for another go on normal route but went with Juha anyway. On the 3rd of June we attempted again, but at 5000 meters it was clear that everything wasn´t fine. So down we went again. Weather window was closing and I knew that if we can´t finish acclimatization now, it would be over for the Slovak. For a route that hard you need to be healthy, have 110 percent of focus and motivation to make it. It was time to reconsider the plans. In the end Juha got bronchitis and started eating antibiotics.

Second attempt on the 3rd.

Anyway I wanted to do something, so on the 4th of June I packed warm clothes, some energy bars and gels and 1l of water to my pack and begun walking up the West Buttress once again. Starting time was 6:50am. In 5 hours and 15 minutes I reached the summit of Denali. Day was perfect and I didn´t need any of the down clothes. After mandatory pictures descent waited. At 2:40pm I reached the Basin Camp. Round-trip time was 7h 50min. I could have been faster still, but now I just kept the normal pace. Actually the more I do these trips to higher mountains I notice that I really love breathing thinner air and can preform quite well in the altitude. Rarely even in the Alps your pace is 380m/per hour, but now I was above 4300 meters all the time and had spent less than a week above 4000 meters before the summit day.

Football field near the summit.
Juho on the summit of Denali!

After the summit I was getting slightly anxious as possibility to get to the Slovak was minimal. There were 4 other teams planning to have a go on the Slovak too. All I could do was to ask them if I could join, but again, if you have never climbed with them before, the Slovak hardly is the route where to try a new partnership. In the end all of them said no and I understand that well. Idea of  soloing the Cassin ridge was there too, but conditions weren´t good enough for that. Too much snow fell to make soloing a good option. I can´t do it in a day if there´s 50 cm of new snow.

I´m super motivated on these trips and my focus is totally on climbing, so it´s hard to accept the reality that you can´t even try a objective. That´s the name of the game but it happens way too often. Mt. Hunter was nice, but the dream is to climb the Slovak. Nothing else can fulfill that. If you have to stay one week longer and skip your flights I´ll gladly do that. That´s the motivation you need to succeed on these things. Maybe you need a bit of luck too. This year only Luca Moroni and David Bacci had the stoke and will power to pull it down. My greatest respect to them!

Maybe in the end I learn that 4 week work camp on Denali happened in purpose. At least we were able to spend time in the mountains that we love so much. Alaska Range is a spectacular place!







Jottnar and Vent du Dragon


I wrote this last October, but got it out just now.

Mixed climbing around Chamonix this Autumn seems to be slightly desperate. Very dry conditions everywhere I’d say. Although, here and there, one can find lines in okey nick. It’s getting colder and even if we get more snow, it won’t stick to higher faces that well.

We went to see Jorasses on Tuesday and it looked quite horrible. Black ice, powder on slabs, too thin.. But it’s always possible to climb something. Short routes on the N face of the Midi are good options when bigger faces look too daunting.

Ambiance! @Till No.


Shit route

This was one of lines I wasn’t looking forward to climb, but somehow I found myself standing below it with Tim Oliver just after the big four day storm. Deep snow was theme of the day.

The line climbs obvious couloir below the toilets of the Midi and it’s not difficult to figure out where the name comes from. Only three easy pitches lead to the terrace of the Midi. Probably the best part of the route is the free hanging rappel off the bridge.

Tim won rock, paper, sicors and got the first pitch which was basicly just deep snow, but it took ages to climb. I led the second one with some fresh ice in the back of the gully. Third pitch was steeper, but not too hard. Special shower of something liquid coming from the toilet made me climb faster though.

Shit route is doable without ice. Tim climbing.


Few days later I teamed up with German Till No. This time we aimed for the Jottnar. Two Brits did the FA in 2013 and graded it Scottish VII, 8. Since, it has become “must do” route for the climbers looking for something more challenging on the Midi’s N face.

First two pitches are basicly the approach, but offer nice mixed moves here and there. Third pitch is the crux and definitely looked more interesting. Till was climbing with tools first time after 1,5 years, so I got the lead. I quickly climbed to the the blank rock face splited by a single crack. Proper dry tooling ahead. Without thinking too much I headed upwards. Most of the time I was able to climb with bare hands, but also few agressive torgues were required too. Feet were crystals which made going pumpy. After one delicate move to the left it should have been over, but I was suprised by the difficulty of the remaining part. Bad hooks under 40cm of new snow. The pitch is graded M6+ or M7 in some more gentle forums. I’d say it’s M6+, but no more.

Till arrived to the stand pumped as well. Without wasting time I took the lead for the fourth pitch too. Stunning corner with ice in the back wasn’t hard. Mostly very enjoyable (M5+) climbing with good pro. Ice was quite old though.

An excellent route and super fun to climb with Till!

Till on the easiest pitch.
Juho going for the crux. It went free.
Juho on the last pitch.


Vent du Dragon

Finnish photographer Aleksi Mehtonen arrived for the few weeks of alpine action in late September. After bailing from a Chardonnet we managed to climb Vent du Dragon, first alpine mixed route for Aleksi. Such a great day in the depths of the Midi.

Again two snowy approach pitches were followed by the real thing (two M5 pitches). Conditions were challenging, but we managed to enjoy the route!

The approach.
Aleksi leading.
Juho found some ice. @Aleksi Mehtonen.

Les Droites – Ginat

For years I’ve been avoiding to climb “Ginat” on the Les Droites N face. I always thought it would be a boring ice climb without interesting sections. And it’s very popular when it’s in fat conditions, which isn’t that good when climbing a direct ice route. After our hike to see black and powdery Grandes Jorasses on Tuesday we were struggeling to find out next objective. Then Sami suggested “Ginat” as the Argentiere basin seemed to be the most wintery place in the massif. Though, outcome wasn’t certain. 

Long walk to the Argentiere refuge on Friday went well, but we still felt the GJ’s recce on our legs. Scouting the Ginat from the hut with my new camera revealed couple of thin sections which could bring stop for climbing. You are never going to know unless you try.

Autumn colours!
Autumn colours!
North face of the Les Droites and current conditions.
North face of the Les Droites and current conditions.
The schrund!
The schrund!

Three thirty start from the hut saw us walking slowly towards the schrund which was the first big question mark of the day. Afar it had looked horrible. After racking up I begun climbing and was pleased to find a ramp leading to the right under the overhanging schrund. I crawled through. We were on the face and the game was on!

Messner’s ramp offered spicy climbing on loose snow. There was no place for protection for 60 meters, but I felt secure with my tools despite the steep ground. I belayed Sami up and said that hopefully that was the crux of the day. Easy angled mixed ground brought us to the big icefield and ended my first block of leads. 

We romped up the central icefield which seemed to last forever. Heads down and up we go. Now we were able to see and feel the true scale of the route.

On the big icefield.
On the big icefield.

Sami led steep and brilliant ice pitch and I took the mixed ramp. Short after we encountered thin vein of ice, only 70cm wide. I gently tapped my way up. Climbing was good and almost enjoyable. Cold wind kept us chilly enough though.

Sami leading an excellent ice pitch
Sami leading an excellent ice pitch
Sami follows as we simul climb the mixed ramp.
Sami follows as we simul climb the mixed ramp.

The crux wall high up was pure ice like the most of the route. Exposure grow on every axe placement. Situation proved to be much better than I’d imagined. Last 100 meters of mellow terrain went quickly, but the joy of reaching the breche was short lived as I looked down the descent couloir on the S side. Couloir from the nightmares. Sami followed soon after and had very similar thoughts. The day was far from over.

Thin ice at times.
Thin ice at times.
Steeper ice in the end.
Steeper ice in the end.

It was obvious that we had to be super careful while rappelling as anything falling from above would go straight down the couloir we had to rappel. Of course rope got stuck on first two rappels. Both times I climbed up to retrieve it. Nerve racking gamble not to touch any loose rock.

Couloir from hell!
Couloir from hell!

It got dark soon. Once the rope sent down some rocks and one of them hit to my arm making it hurt quite a lot. Luckily no broken bones, just a hard hit. Sami led the descent very well. When he rappelled, I wasn’t attached to the anchor for safety reasons. I think you can understand why.


Finally we reached the glacier, but the game wasn’t over yet. Down climbing and rappelling over the massive maze of crevasses last ages. One last rappel off from a red camalot brought us to the flat part of the glacier. And then whiteout begin!

Rock slabs, climbing back up, reaching the Talefre glacier, going back and forth trying to find the path to the hut, standing in a cloud, more slabs and after almost giving up our hope to sleep in a hut despite the GPS!! we found our way out from the Talefre glacier. It didn’t take long to fall asleep in a winter refuge of Couvercle. I’d say quite alpine descent and rewarding way to climb such a popular route. It’s a great line afterall!




Grande Rocheuse – Late to Say I’m Sorry

Every Autumn people start to get psyched for the mixed season. When the first snowflakes hit warm alpine faces speculation begins. Could it be in condition? Is that ice or just powder snow? Rare are those, whom are keen to go first and throw the dice. But when first reports of good conditions hit the internet, routes become busy. I like to climb when conditions are definitely good, but I’m also optimistic and too keen to wait for weeks.

Year ago we attempted Robert Jasper’s “Late to Say I’m Sorry” (ED-, 1000m, M6, WI5+) on the N face of Grande Rocheuse, but we had to bail half way up the face. Since, this route has been on my list. It has only six pitches of proper climbing on a 1000m face, but those six are quite committing and worth of a long day. It got plenty of attention between 2010 – 2012, due to Jon Griffits blog. Most of the teams rapped back down after finishing the hard pitches, but that’s not alpinism. You gotta summit!

I ran up to Argentiere glacier week ago and saw the shining line of the Late to Say I’m Sorry. Three days later I went to climb it with Sami Modenius.

The line of “Late to Say I´m Sorry”.


Relaxed walk in.
Relaxed walk in.

Luckily Lognan’s lift was still open as it shortens the approach quite a lot. We deciced to bivouac on the glacier instead of staying at the refuge, which was open too. Relaxed evening staring our route passed by and soon it was time to wake up and start walking again. Approach was in okey nick, just 25cm of new snow, but easy to navigate in a dark. We used left-hand side approach, cause walking slowly under the Cordier’s seracs wasn’t an option.

Glacier bivi.
Glacier bivi.
Winter on the N faces, summer on the S side.
Winter on the N faces, summer on the S side.

At 6am we began simul climbing the first 500m of Couturier couloir. First some snow and then suprisingly good ice. I expected more black ice, but after two hours we were already below the first pitch.

Two long simul blocks led to the climbing part. Aplenglow was stunning!
Two long simul blocks led to the climbing part. Aplenglow was stunning!

Two easy 60m pitches led to the crux. From afar it looked that it could be possible to avoid the roof via variation on the left, but ice was too thin to be climbed, so I had to go for the infamous roof as it was my turn to lead. The roof was easy M6, but then I had to chooce between M7 crack and steep corner with ice in the back. I went for the ice. Next ten minutes were long as I carefully balanced upwards. It was “no fall” zone due to unexisting gear. And the ice was loose. Monopoints searched tiny edges from the wall, because I couldn’t put my weight for the axes. Very intense! The pitch was one of the best I’ve done on the mountains, but lack of gear reduces the quality a bit.

Sami coming up the first easy pitch.
Sami coming up the first easy pitch.

Remaining three pitches were excellent and very aesthetic ice climbing. Thin ice line middle of the blank rock face is the thing were dreams are made of. Shame it ended too fast!

Thin ice also after the crux. Sami leading.
Thin ice also after the crux. Sami leading.
Juho climbing 80° ice.
Juho climbing 80° ice. Picture: Sami M.

Last 250 meters to the summit of Grande Rocheuse were tiring and we actually had to climb two more pitches due to hard ice. Then it was only downhill to the Chamonix. Rapping the Whymper and walking all the way back to the village at night was torturing affair.

Nice route all in all. Season’s on!

On the summit of the Grande Rocheuse. My second time in a month.
On the summit of the Grande Rocheuse. My second time in a month.



Grandes Jorasses – Walker Spur

Walker Spur was in a great late summer nick and parties climb it as late as 10th of September. I was very keen to get back on to Jorasses myhtical N face after two years. Luckily Tim Oliver shared the idea and so we went and climb it on the 8.9.

Tim wrote such an excellent blog about our climb, so it would be waste of time to repeat the story.  Go and read it here!

Walker Spur was first climbed in 1938 by Cassin’s party and I have to wonder their courage and vision to find a such a complex line through the biggest N face of the Mont Blanc massif. It has some loose rocks at points, but solid rock on the steep parts and fun mixed pitches make you forget the choss. Very classic alpine climb after all!

PS. Sorry about the picture quality. My camera was broken and I had to use my phone.

Leschaux hut is the starting point for the Jorasses N face climbs.
Leschaux hut is the starting point for the Jorasses N face climbs.
Mythical face!
Mythical face!
After 2:00am. start from the hut we started climbing aroung 4:00am. Tim crossing the schrund.
After 2:00 am. start from the hut we started climbing around 4:00 am. Tim crossing the schrund.
Easy angled slabs at Ice bands. Rebuffat corner was climbed in a dark.
Easy angled slabs at Ice bands. Rebuffat corner was climbed in a dark.
Tim climbing the 75m diedre.
Tim climbing the 75m diedre.
Tim starting up the Black slabs.
Tim starting up the Black slabs.
An excellent 5c pitch to reach the arete. Tim follows.
An excellent 5c pitch to reach the arete. Tim follows.
Long simul-climb section on the arete.
Long simul-climb section on the arete.
Tim heading up the Neve triangulaire.
Tim heading up the Neve triangulaire.
Louis Laurent in the Red chimneys. We wait our turn.
Louis Laurent in the Red chimneys. We wait our turn.
Tim and Karl following in the Red chimneys. Ropes everywhere.
Tim and Karl following in the Red chimneys. Ropes everywhere.
French team about to reach the Red chimneys.
French team about to reach the Red chimneys.
Tim climbing towards Tour Rouge.
Tim climbing towards Tour Rouge.
On the summit!
On the summit!
Great late afternoon views over the playground.
Great late afternoon views over the playground.








Aiguille Verte // Brown-Patey

Some describe Brown-Patey as their favourite route in the Mont Blanc massif. That’s very promising when you are picking a line for the next good weather spell. Actually it was one of the big routes on my “to do” list this summer. It’s not climbed very often and it combines three very diffirent aspects of climbing. Plus, it covers 1300 vertical meters of rad alpine terrain on the Sans Nom face of the Aiguille Verte.

The first part of the route climbs 400m high rock spur to reach the hanging glacier. Most teams bivouac on the ledges to climb the upper face next day. The second, ice and snow climbing part ends to a “belle goulotte” also known as “Marsigny-Mohr exit” to the Breche de Sans Nom. Then you just climb the Arete Sans Nom to the summit of Verte. Original route follows steep cracks more on the left, but the most natural and enjoyable line takes the Marsigny-Mohr variant.

A big, four day storm had just hit the massif, bringing snow as low as 2000m in the middle of July! I was very eager to climb something longer than basic Midi S face stuff and so was Chamonix based Tim Oliver. Most of the climbers would have stayed away from the snowy Sans Nom face, but luckily we shared the idea of climbing the Brown-Patey. We knew that if we wait any longer, it will become too hot to climb on the face any time soon. So, we were off on the first clear day after the storm.

Tim breaking the trail from GM.
Tim breaking the trail from GM.
Wintery Sans Nom face and Les Drus.
Wintery Sans Nom face and Les Drus.

Approach was quite relaxed 2 hour downhill from the GM lift. Nant Blanc glacier was filled with snow and the couloir leading to the glacier in good condition. At places there were 20cm of new snow which didn’t promise very quick climb to the bivouac area. Actually seemingly strong winds hitting the summit and creating big spindrifts made the situation very wintery. How strange!

Four rappels down to Nant Blanc glacier.
Four rappels down to Nant Blanc glacier.
Nant Blanc glacier felt remote despite the short approach.
Nant Blanc glacier felt remote despite the short approach.

In a proper summer conditions the spur should be doable in a few hours, but now everything was covered with snow. Dry-tooling 5b slabs? Yes, please. The crux 6a pitch was probably the easiest of the day as it was free of snow. At 10pm we finaly reached the bivouac site. It took ages to climb 400 meters!

The fun begins. First grade 5 pitch promised difficult conditions. Tim following.
The fun begins. First grade 5 pitch promised difficult conditions. Tim following.
Snowy 5b slab with spaced protection was probably the crux of the first day. Tim climbed it without crampons. I dry-tooled.
Snowy 5b slab with spaced protection was probably the crux of the first day. Tim climbed it without crampons. I dry-tooled.
Another spicey slab!
Another spicey slab!
Actually the climbing itself was really fun, but we just expected shorter day.
Actually the climbing itself was really fun, but we just expected shorter day.

I didn’t sleep very well on a crumbly ledge, which was a shame, because we still had another long day ahead. At 6am we begun simul-climbing the next section of the face. Now conditions were good and we quickly climbed all to way to the Breche de Sans Nom swaping leads only one time. It felt great to be middle of the big alpine face again.

Les Drus!
Les Drus!
Tim entering to the Marsigny-Mohr couloir.
Tim entering to the Marsigny-Mohr couloir.

However, the lower part of the Sans Nom ridge offered more difficulties and we pitched the whole thing. Blocky mixed climbing combined with snowy cracks on smooth walls. I violently french-freed the 6b crack to save time. With rock shoes it wouldn’t be a problem to free it, but you have to sensible. And how there can be 6b rock climbing on a D graded alpine route? Time to change grade for the Sans Nom ridge mates!

The upper arete is spectacular – golden granite towers rising from a knife-edge snow ridge. Absolutely stunning! Wind was still raging strong and at times, it was hard to keep the balance. Soon we stood on the summit of Aiguille Verte. It had been a beautiful trip to climb one of my favourite peaks. I had tried it three times in the past. As a young boy I tried to solo the Whymper, but bad conditions forced to go down. A year later my plan was to solo the Couturier, but again conditions weren’t favourable. And last Autumn my friend got injured slightly while climbing the “Late to Say I’m Sorry” on the N face. Such a good feeling to reach the summit after all those failures!

The only photo I took after the Breche de Sans Nom. Very windy day!
The only photo I took after the Breche de Sans Nom. Very windy day!
First rappel from the col.
First rappel from the col.

The descent via Whymper couloir was uneventful. Untracked Moine glacier offered nice sunset views over the Jorasses as we walked down to Couvercle. Thanks for the late-evening cake and soup! Another beautiful day on the mountains was over!

My favourite face in the massif!
My favourite face in the massif!


Eiger – Heckmair 1938

Eigerwand and Mönch`s N face.
Eigerwand and Mönch`s N face.

It´s a rare thing to meet a climber who wouldn´t have dreamed about climbing the biggest north face in the Alps. During the last 80 years Eigerwand has played a big role in the deveploment of climbing, as the climbing worlds leading names have pushed the bounderies further. The first ascent in 1938, Ueli Steck`s speed records, Harlin directtissima, Dean Potter´s free base climbs and Jeff Lowe`s Metanoia to name a few remarkable achievements on the face. Is there any other alpine face in the world with a such a rich history?

It was first weekend of November when the news from the excellent conditions of the north face hit the internet. Instantly I started to search a partner for the next week as forecast promised a long lasting high pressure to Bernese Oberland. Kalle Vuorenmaa deciced to skip less important school work and come along. We booked flights to Zurich on Sunday and already bivied at the Eigerglectcher station on Wednesday.

Eigergletscher bivi pre-fox attack.
Eigergletscher bivi pre-fox attack.

It was hard to gain any sleep due to angry fox, which disturbed by trying to steal my packpack couple of times. Before midnight we were on our way to the route. A bit too early start, but we wanted to get down in a daylight.

We soloed first couple hundred meters to the Difficult crack, which is the first real obstacle on the route. Unsecure nature of climbing became familiar. Sloppy holds and slipery limestone was far from the Finnish granite. I led the steep crack without too much fuss. Except the Difficult crack was now front of me. We had climbed some kind of a direct variation without the last traverse from the left.

More easier terrain under the Rote Fluh appeared and we began a long simul climb section which ended to the Death bivouac. Of course we swapped leads twice when draws run out, but didn´t belay any of the climbing in pitches. Hinterstoiser traverse, Ice Hose and Flat Iron were all iced up and all floated by.

Kalle belaying at the Death bivouac.
Kalle belaying at the Death bivouac.
Sunrise over the Swiss foothills.
Sunrise over the Swiss foothills.

We melted some snow at the Death bivouac when pair of Swiss climbers passed. They were the only people on the route we saw, but later on we find out that the route was full of climbers.

At sunrise we continued the climb through the Ramp. The most entertaining pitch was the Waterfall chimney, which warm temperatures and other climbers had made a hollow and technical ice climb. Overhanging bulge needed careful climbing and went probably around WI5+. How did they climb that in 1938?

Kalle climbing the Ramp.
Kalle climbing the Ramp.


Juho doing tricks in the Waterfall chimney.
Juho doing tricks in the Waterfall chimney.

More historical sections followed. Brittle ledges were definately brittle and the Brittle crack supposed to be the crux. It was full of in-situ gear though. Bring enough draws and you´ll be able to belay most of the route with them.

Traverse of the Gods is one of the most legendary pitches anywhere and you can really feel the Eigerwand´s exposure on the last meters of it. We moved together all to way to Quartz crack sprinting up the White Spider as fast we could. And I can tell you our pace wasn´t very fast anymore. I balanced up a polished slab which was the real technical crux of the route.

Juho climbing the Brittle crack.
Juho climbing the Brittle crack.
Kalle and the Traverse of the Gods.
Kalle and the Traverse of the Gods.
Kalle following the Quartz crack.
Kalle following the Quartz crack.

Exit cracks offered full-on chimney stemming without pro on the first 15 meters, but eased up quickly. We took the rope off and climbed the remaining snow field and Mitellegi ridge to the summit. It was a beautiful, but windy late-afernoon. I had just completed the north face trilogy, but didn´t feel anything special. Just a bit tiredness in my legs.

This was also Kalle`s third route in the Alps, and I have to say, his alpine ticklist is pretty impressive in Finnish scale.

West face descent should be a easy two hour plod, but in the dark, climbing down short ice steps felt very odd. Zero sleep in the previos night didn´t help route finding skils and eventually we decided to bivy only 200 vertical meters from the train station.

And yes, we must return to improve our time!

Descent in a shading light!
West face descent in a shading light!