New Routes Established in the French Alps

At the end of January two strong teams, operating at opposite ends of the French Alps, both established new lines on iconic alpine peaks.


on 28 January, Giuseppe Vidoni, Richard Tiraboschi, and Tommaso Vection, made the first ascent of 'Happy Birthday' which climbs the south face of the Grandes Jorasses to the Aiguille de l’Évêque via a 1,000m couloir. Vidonia and Tiraboschi had made an intiial attempt on the line a few days earlier, but had been forced to retreat when warm conditions on the face above sent a stream of meltwater down the couloir. On returning with Vection, they were able to take the route to the summit, offering a grade of A1, IV, M6, ED. The route name was chosen to mark Vection turning 30 the day after the team's ascent.


At the same time, on the Barre des Écrins, Benjamin Védrines, Nicolas Jean and Julien Cruvellier were busy on another 1,000m couloir. 'La Gorge' on the mountain's south face is prone to rockslides in warmer weather and so, despite being an obvious line, it has waited many years for a first ascent. With good, cold conditions, the team of three climbed the route over the weekend of the 28 and 29 January, surmounting difficulties of M7, A1, V+, ED+ with Jean reportedly dispatching an extremely commiting pitch just as the team was about to admit defeat. The trio have dubbed the route 'De L’Or en Barre'.