Solo climber Charles Dubouloz conquers Grandes Jorasses

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Solo climber Charles Dubouloz conquers Grandes Jorasses

Charles Dubouloz spent six days and five nights enduring -30C temperatures as he journeyed up the 4,208-metre-high Grandes Jorasses in the Mont Blanc massif.

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Upon reaching the top, the 32-year-old alpinist and mountain guide became the first person to successfully make a solo winter ascent of the north face of the mountain.

Duboulouz took the notorious ‘Rolling Stones route’ and described the journey as “the culmination of a relentless practice of sport outside since my young years.”

Solo climber Charles Dubouloz conquers Grandes Jorasses

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Grandes Jorasses, Massif du Mont Blanc, North side. Photo / Robin Lacassin

To climb Grand Jorasses north face is a challenge reserved for the most expert climbers in the world but to make the attempt during winter and solo? Few have ever dared try.
However, Duboulouz told mountaineering magazine Montagnes, the difficulty was the attraction.

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“I chose it because it represents the difficulty in the massif well,” Dubouloz said.

“It’s very long, very dry in winter, and then there’s this super-steep headwall, with overhanging cracks in bad rock.”

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As expected, the climb wasn’t without its challenges. The French climber lost his phone mid-route and experienced mild frostbite on his toes.

“I don’t know how I did it. I [thought I was] going to fall, really going to fall,” says Duboulouz.

Straddling France and Italy, Grandes Jorasses’ north face is technically located in France and considered one of ‘the trilogy’ of the greatest north faces in the Alps. Switzerland’s Eiger and the Matterhorn complete the trio.

To make the feat even more impressive, Duboulouz only had his first high altitude experience last November in Nepal.

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Along with a fellow climber, they opened a new route on the formidably north face of Chamlang and named it In the Shadow of Lies.

After accomplishing the record-breaking feat, almost all of Europe’s alpine-style climbing experts congratulated the young climber.

“Tonight I have my hands in shreds, my feet frozen but with tears in my eyes,” the climber wrote in an Instagram post. “I realized my dream.”

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