Grandes Jorasses

Last updated
Grandes Jorasses
North face of the Grandes Jorasses and the Leschaux Glacier (September 2000)
Highest point
Elevation 4,208 m (13,806 ft)
Prominence 841 m (2,759 ft)
Isolation 7.9 kilometres (4.9 mi)
Listing Alpine four-thousanders
Great north faces of the Alps
Coordinates 45°52′08″N6°59′17″E / 45.86889°N 6.98806°E / 45.86889; 6.98806 Coordinates: 45°52′08″N6°59′17″E / 45.86889°N 6.98806°E / 45.86889; 6.98806
Alps location map.png
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Grandes Jorasses
Parent range Graian Alps
Mountain type Granite
First ascent Horace Walker, Melchior Anderegg, Johann Jaun and Julien Grange, 30 June 1868
Easiest route Pointe Walker, south-west face, AD-, II, 1,400 m (4,600 ft), to 45 degrees - a glacier climb

The Grandes Jorasses (4,208 m; 13,806 ft) is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif, on the boundary between Haute-Savoie in France and Aosta Valley in Italy.

Mont Blanc massif Mountain range in the Alps

The Mont Blanc massif is a mountain range in the Alps, located mostly in France and Italy, but also straddling Switzerland at its northeastern end. It contains eleven major independent summits, each over 4,000 metres (13,123 ft) in height. It is named after Mont Blanc, the highest point in western Europe and the European Union. Because of its considerable overall altitude, a large proportion of the massif is covered by glaciers, which include the Mer de Glace and the Miage Glacier – the longest glaciers in France and Italy, respectively.

Haute-Savoie Department of France in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Haute-Savoie is a department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France, bordering both Switzerland and Italy. Its prefecture is Annecy. To the north is Lake Geneva and Switzerland; to the south and southeast are the Mont Blanc and Aravis mountain ranges. It holds it name from the Savoy historical region, as does the department of Savoie, located south of Haute-Savoie.

Aosta Valley Autonomous region of Italy

The Aosta Valley is a mountainous autonomous region in northwestern Italy. It is bordered by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France, to the west, Valais, Switzerland, to the north and by the Metropolitan City of Turin in the region of Piedmont, Italy, to the south and east. The regional capital is Aosta.


The first ascent of the highest peak of the mountain (Pointe Walker) was by Horace Walker with guides Melchior Anderegg, Johann Jaun and Julien Grange on 30 June 1868. The second-highest peak on the mountain (Pointe Whymper, 4,184 m; 13,727 ft) was first climbed by Edward Whymper, Christian Almer, Michel Croz and Franz Biner on 24 June 1865, using what has become the normal route of ascent and the one followed by Walker's party in 1868.

First ascent First successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or specific route

In mountaineering, a first ascent is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. First mountain ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with greater risks, challenges, and recognition than climbing a route pioneered by others. The person who performs the first ascent is called the first ascensionist.

Horace Walker English mountaineer

Horace Walker (1838–1908) was an English mountaineer who made many notable first ascents, including Mount Elbrus and the Grandes Jorasses.

Melchior Anderegg Swiss mountain climber

Melchior Anderegg, from Zaun, Meiringen, was a Swiss mountain guide and the first ascensionist of many prominent mountains in the western Alps during the golden and silver ages of alpinism. His clients were mostly British, the most famous of whom was Leslie Stephen, the writer, critic and mountaineer; Anderegg also climbed extensively with members of the Walker family, including Horace Walker and Lucy Walker, and with Florence Crauford Grove. His cousin Jakob Anderegg was also a well-known guide.

The summits on the mountain (from east to west) are:

Edward Whymper 19th/20th-century English mountaineer

Edward Whymper FRSE was an English mountaineer, explorer, illustrator, and author best known for the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. Four members of his climbing party were killed during the descent. Whymper also made important first ascents on the Mont Blanc massif and in the Pennine Alps, Chimborazo in South America, and the Canadian Rockies. His exploration of Greenland contributed an important advance to Arctic exploration. Whymper wrote several books on mountaineering, including Scrambles Amongst the Alps.

Michel Croz French mountain climber and guide

Michel Auguste Croz was a French mountain guide and the first ascentionist of many mountains in the western Alps during the golden age of alpinism. He is chiefly remembered for his death on the first ascent of the Matterhorn and for his climbing partnership with Edward Whymper.

Chamonix Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, more commonly known as Chamonix, is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

The Grandes Jorasses Grandes jorasses near chamonix arp.jpg
The Grandes Jorasses

North face

Located on the French side of the mountain, the north face is one of the three great north faces of the Alps, along with the north faces of the Eiger and the Matterhorn (known as 'the Trilogy'). One of the most famous walls in the Alps, it towers 1200 m (3,900 ft) above the Leschaux Glacier, stretching 1 km from end to end. The classic route on the face is the Walker Spur (Cassin/Esposito/Tizzoni, 1938, TD+/ED1, IV, 5c/6a, A1, 1200 m) which leads directly to the summit of Pointe Walker. The other major buttress on the mountain is the Croz Spur, which leads to the summit of Pointe Croz. In her solo ascents of the six most difficult north faces of the Alps, Alison Hargreaves chose this route in preference to the Walker Spur.

Great north faces of the Alps

In mountaineering, the six great north faces of the Alps are known for their difficulty and great height. A face is "a vertical or sloping side of a mountain or cliff."

Eiger Mountain in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland

The Eiger is a 3,967-metre (13,015 ft) mountain of the Bernese Alps, overlooking Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland, just north of the main watershed and border with Valais. It is the easternmost peak of a ridge crest that extends across the Mönch to the Jungfrau at 4,158 m (13,642 ft), constituting one of the most emblematic sights of the Swiss Alps. While the northern side of the mountain rises more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above the two valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, the southern side faces the large glaciers of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, the most glaciated region in the Alps. The most notable feature of the Eiger is its 1,800-metre-high (5,900 ft) north face of rock and ice, named Eiger-Nordwand, Eigerwand or just Nordwand, which is the biggest north face in the Alps. This huge face towers over the resort of Kleine Scheidegg at its base, on the homonymous pass connecting the two valleys.

Matterhorn Mountain in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy

The Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a large, near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres (14,692 ft) high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Furggen, Leone/Lion, and Zmutt ridges. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt, in the canton of Valais, to the north-east and the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Just east of the Matterhorn is Theodul Pass, the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides, and a trade route since the Roman Era.

Reinhold Messner has stated, that he made the decision to ascend Mount Everest with Peter Habeler in the Grandes Jorasses, where Peter "descended like a dancer". [1]

Reinhold Messner Italian mountaineer, adventurer and explorer

Reinhold Andreas Messner is a German-speaking Italian mountaineer, explorer, and author. In 1978, he made the first solo ascent of Mount Everest, the first ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen, along with Peter Habeler, and was the first climber to ascend all fourteen peaks over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) above sea level. He was also the first person to cross Antarctica and Greenland with neither snowmobiles nor dog sleds. Furthermore, he crossed the Gobi Desert alone. Messner also published more than 80 books about his experiences as a climber and explorer. In 2018 he received jointly with Krzysztof Wielicki the Princess of Asturias Award in the category of Sports.

Mount Everest Earths highest mountain, part of the Himalaya between Nepal and Tibet

Mount Everest is Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The international border between Nepal and China runs across its summit point.

Peter Habeler Austrian mountaineer

Peter Habeler is an Austrian mountaineer. He was born in Mayrhofen, Austria. He developed an interest in mountain climbing at age six.

South face

On the Italian side of the mountain, the south face can be accessed from the Boccalatte cabin, above the hamlet of Planpincieux in the Italian Val Ferret, part of the Courmayeur municipality.

Val Ferret valley

Val Ferret is the name of the two separate valleys, departing from the Col Ferret on the border between Italy and Switzerland, on the southern and eastern sides of the Mont Blanc Massif. The Swiss valley drains northeastwards towards Orsières and on into the Rhône basin; whereas the Italian valley drains southwestwards towards Courmayeur and on into the Po basin.

Courmayeur Comune in Aosta Valley, Italy

Courmayeur ) is a town and comune in northern Italy, in the autonomous region of Aosta Valley.

Summit ridge

From the Col des Hirondelles, the summit ridge connects Pt. Walker to the other summit points and then descends to the Col des Grandes Jorasses where a bivouac shelter is located - the Bivouac E Canzio hut. The ridge forms the French-Italian border, almost all of which is above 4,000 m (13,000 ft).

See also

Related Research Articles

Nanga Parbat mountain in Pakistan

Nanga Parbat, locally known as Diamer, is the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8,126 metres (26,660 ft) above sea level. Located in the Diamer District of Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region, Nanga Parbat is the western anchor of the Himalayas. The name Nanga Parbat is derived from the Sanskrit words nagna and parvata which together mean "Naked Mountain". The mountain is locally known by its Tibetan name Diamer or Deo Mir, meaning "huge mountain".

Gasherbrum II mountain in Pakistan and China

Gasherbrum II ; surveyed as K4, is the 13th highest mountain in the world at 8,035 metres (26,362 ft) above sea level. It is the third-highest peak of the Gasherbrum massif, and is located in the Karakoram, on the border between Gilgit–Baltistan province, Pakistan, and Xinjiang, China. The mountain was first climbed on July 7, 1956, by an Austrian expedition which included Fritz Moravec, Josef Larch, and Hans Willenpart.

Walter Bonatti Italian mountaineer

Walter Bonatti was an Italian mountain climber, explorer and journalist. He was noted for his many climbing achievements, including a solo climb of a new route on the south-west pillar of the Aiguille du Dru in August 1955, the first ascent of Gasherbrum IV in 1958 and in 1965 the first solo climb in winter of the North face of the Matterhorn on the mountain's centenary year of its first ascent. Immediately after his extraordinary solo climb on the Matterhorn Bonatti announced his retirement from professional climbing at the age of 35 and after 17 years of climbing activity. He authored many mountaineering books and spent the remainder of his career travelling off the beaten track as a reporter for the Italian magazine Epoca. He died on 13 September 2011 of pancreatic cancer in Rome aged 81, and was survived by his life partner, the actress Rossana Podestà.

Aiguille Verte mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps

The Aiguille Verte, which is French for "Green Needle", is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps.

Charles Hudson (climber) Anglican chaplain, British mountain climber

Charles Hudson was an Anglican chaplain and mountain climber from Skillington, Lincolnshire, England.

Grand Cornier mountain

The Grand Cornier is a 3,962 m (12,999 ft) mountain in the Pennine Alps in Switzerland. It lies 2 km (1.2 mi) north from the Dent Blanche.

Mont Dolent mountain

Mont Dolent is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif and lies on the border between Italy, Switzerland and France.

Adolphus Warburton Moore British climber

Adolphus Warburton Moore (1841–1887) was a British civil servant and mountaineer.

Riccardo Cassin Italian mountaineer

Riccardo Cassin was an Italian mountaineer, developer of mountaineering equipment and author.

Ivano Ghirardini Italian-born French mountain climber

Ivano Ghirardini is a French mountaineer.

First ascent of the Matterhorn

The first ascent of the Matterhorn was made by Edward Whymper, Lord Francis Douglas, Charles Hudson, Douglas Hadow, Michel Croz, and two Zermatt guides, Peter Taugwalder and his son of the same name, on 14 July 1865. Douglas, Hudson, Hadow and Croz were killed on the descent when Hadow slipped and pulled the other three with him down the north face. Whymper and the Taugwalder guides, who survived, were later accused of having cut the rope below to ensure that they were not dragged down with the others, but the subsequent inquiry found no evidence of this and they were acquitted.

Jean-Marc Boivin French multiple extreme sports participant

Jean-Marc Boivin was a French mountaineer, extreme skier, hang glider and paraglider pilot, speleologist, BASE jumper, award-winning film maker, and author. The holder of several altitude records for hang gliding and paragliding, the creator of numerous first ascents and first ski descents in the Alps, a member of the team that broke the record for a sub-glacial dive and the first person to paraglide from the summit of Mount Everest, Boivin was a pioneer of extreme sports. He died from injuries incurred after BASE jumping off Angel Falls in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world.

Tut Braithwaite British mountaineer

Paul ("Tut") Braithwaite is a British rock climber, mountaineer and company director. With Nick Estcourt he climbed Mount Everest's almost vertical Rock Band which has been said to have been the key to the success of the 1975 British Mount Everest Southwest Face expedition. He was president of the Alpine Club from 2007 to 2010.

Planpincieux Glacier Glacier on the southern slopes of the Grandes Jorasses

The Planpincieux Glacier is a hanging glacier, located on the southern slopes of the Grandes Jorasses in the Mont Blanc massif of the Alps. It is located above the hamlet of Planpincieux, Val Ferret, in the Val d'Aosta region. The glacier has a length of 2.45 km (1.52 mi) and covers an area of 1.327 km2 (0.512 sq mi), and its elevation ranges from 2345 to 3660 m at a slope of 30°. Thermally, it is a temperate glacier.


  1. Reinhold Messner (2019-09-18). Mount Everest, der letzte Schritt (BR Fernsehen) (in German). 2:40 minutes in.