III, 470m. A visionary achievement from a man many consider to be the greatest alpinist of them all. The first ascent was achieved with the use of plenty of aid and most ascents still involve an element of pulling on gear to get through the tougher sections - the free climbing (and grading!) is fairly 'old school'. The first ascent was also notable because it came in the days before the use of bolts and, as such, it is testimony to the route finding skill and bravery of the two climbers involved.
The route originally started by a traverse in from the broken ground beneath the Swiss Route to join the top of what we've described as the third pitch. It is much better, and more sustained, to climb the first three pitches of Voyage selon Gulliver. One thing to bear in mind is that the traverses on the route mean that it is longer than it initially appears. An initial scrambly pitch may be necessary to get to the start of the route due to glacial recession but should be no more than 5c.
1) 6b+, 25m. Climb a crack to below a roof and climb around this to the right. No pushover straight off the deck!
2) 6b+, 35m. Move left and climb the superb slabby crack. This is technical and feels bold for the last few metres.
3) 6a+, 20m. Continue up the same crack system to avoid a small roof on the left.
4) 4c, 40m. Downclimb slightly and traverse the ledge easily to its far end. Climb up the slab to a bolted anchor and set up a 20m abseil. Belay under a shallow corner, right of the cave.
5) 6a+, 40m. Climb the athletic corner. Step left at the top and follow a further corner. Step left to a belay.
6) 6a+, 35m. Chimney-crack and then corner.
7) 6b+, 25m. Tricky! Shallow cracks and a corner lead leftwards to a stance directly below a large roof.
8) 6b+, 35m. Traverse the slab rightwards and climb through the overhang via a wide chimney crack. Continue more easily to a ledge. This was the first bivouac during the first ascent - must have been a pretty sleepless night!
9) 6b, 40m. Continue up steep cracks intially left then right and into a corner.
10) 6b+, 25m. Traverse up and right along a thin crack and chimney to a spectacular ledge, directly beneath a steep wall of granite with a small triangular roof directly above the belay.
11) 7a, 40m. The famous '40m wall'. Climb straight up through the small triangular roof and the crack above, before heading slightly right then back left up a steep and shallow corner. Belay on a large ledge. The second bivvy during the first ascent.
12) 5c, 30m. Traverse the ledges up and leftwards.
13) 6b, 30m. Climb the crack above the ledge to a steepening.
14) 6b+, 20m. Climb the steepening to a stance on the right.
15) 7a, 20m. Steep, exposed and difficult crack climbing leads to a stance below a small roof.
16) 6c+, 35m. Climb the roof on the left and the following corner to slabby ground.
17) 6b+, 40m. Climb the slabby, orange rock above the belay and reach the ridge via a steep corner-crack immediately right of the huge block.
18) 5c, 60m. Follow easier ground on the north side to the gap between the summits and then climb the East Face from the gap to reach the summit proper. © Rockfax
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