|Gab Silvy as of the day we started climbing it|
Winter is gone with an Eclipse and so went all our ideas of true winter ascents. A last window before the official start of the spring see me GForce and Martin packing for the Jorasses. Once again the window shrinked, wind fohn and fresh snow wouldn't have allowed for quick ascents so we chosed the Gab Silvy instead wich was a safer bet. The Gab Silvy is one of the new Cham super classics. There are lots of reasons for that, one of them is that is climbable all year, there's no another north face route in the Blanc that is doable almost in any given months as long as it's good weather maybe the Pierre Allain on the Drus which has seen his frequentation inflate in the last winters. The Gab Silvy in summer, sports perfect crack climbing at around 6b/6c on cold rock with an uneasy descent. In winter it's a drytool fest at sustained M7 with pitches who might as well feel harder with axes who don't fit correctly the cracks. It was given M9 ,commercial, as my man J.Mercier would have called it. Climbed free for the first time by Clouet and Dumarest with old fashioned tools it might as well felt that hard now is consensus 7 to 8.
I always wanted to climb this route as i heard it's amazing and i really enjoy it until the 2nd or 3rd pitch when Jon kinda admitted he forgot the Gaz at home. I had with me a grand total of 0cc of water. From there it was clear it wouldn't be a laughable affair. The actual route was quite intimidating with snow here and there.
I was quite concentrate climbing as i had a quite slim rack, and the two lads making fun of me at the belays were threatening to made me fall,laughing while laybacking doesn't make it safer.The bivy atop of the lower buttress is one of the reasons why this route's so popular, it's just so comfy, it definetely take real mountaineers to do something dumb like leaving the gaz at home to make it a bit badass.
Thanks to the Spanish combo of Jamon and Tobacco the night was still amazing as we watched people having it descending the neighboor Dru north face. The next morning Jon took us to the base of the upper goulotte. There i've lost one ice axe as it just unclipped from the leash, how ironic, those leashes are made to avoid these things happening.
I had already miss the free ascent when my axe got so jammed into a crack that i had to stop to pull it off , AND, when i took the wrong dihedral higher up and had to hammer a axe into a thin crack then stick 2 of 8 cm of our only piton into a seam, equalize the shit with a sling and get lowered in loath back to the good line, to then climb the right dihedral which by the way is the left dihedral, remind that when u will be there.
By losing a tool at the base of a vertical goulotte i had to resolve to 50shades of aid to get up quickly enough to made my dumb tooldrop irrelevant. Thanks to the good conditions we were safe and sound on the top later in the afternoon. There we decided to descend the North couloir the Couturier,as we had skis stashed atop of Grand Montets cablecar. We discovered that our Vthread hook was partially fucked and the couloir too, a big nasty serac loomed above our heads in our combined 10+ times on this couloir we never seen it so bad. In the end we were happy to cross the shrund and get back to our skis stashed. The descent was funky with Martin who didn't bother to use the lightest thing into a climbers pack ,the energy contained into the battery of his headlamp. His headlamp probably lighten the bottom of the backpack for two days and was dead well before dusk.
Chamonix always have something to teach climbers. Always take some Jamon.