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Tardivel on the Arêtes de Rochefort
Posted: 21 June 2007 01:07 PM  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Pierre Tardivel has been pushing the limits of extreme skiing since the mid-1980s, a long career at such a high level. He has skied with some legends including Daniel Chauchefoin and Marco Siffredi.


North face of the Arêtes de Rochefort, 9th June 2007, 500m at 50°, a rappel of 40m, 5.5 - E4. An old dream for Pierre Tardivel accompanined by Jérémy Janody and Florian Guignard

This face, clearly visible from the Mer de Glace has probably been the dream of hundreds of extreme skiers. I discovered it in the 1980s. Blasted by wind and swept by serac fall it has trouble holding snow. But global warming has reduced the power of the seracs. You need to wait for the humid snowfalls of late spring and exceptional snow conditions. Conditions I have frequently encountered in my career but there have always been more obvious, easier to survey, lines to ski. I found a trick using an IGN map I discovered that I could watch the face from Joux village opposite.

The team accessed the face from the top using the téléphérique de la Pointe Helbronner. Too dangerous to climb under the seracs. After climbing to the ridge then abseilling 50 meters to the departure spot the team saw they would be on firn snow, more or less hard.

The first few turns are taken carefully then an abseil by a serac, 40 meters lower down we remove crampons and step into skis, a delicate operation. The slope is too steep for the June sun, partly obscured by clouds, to melt the snow. We gain confidence and 100 meters further down it is a freeride session before crossing a rock band - here we were not proud of our technique. Then another 150 meters of steep skiing, the rimaye and we can look around at the absolutely inhuman face we have just skied. A descent of strong emotions, intense, on the limit and extremely technical. We have the impression that we touched the limts of extreme and engagement at the same time the good snow let us really ski the slope.

They descended the Mer de Glace, finally putting skis on backpacks at 2000m. After a hard climb of the ladders they caught the last train just 5 minutes before the departure.[

Trip Report: