The North face of Petit Dru

Last Wednesday, Alex Chabot and I left Les Grands-Montets at 9:30am to climb the Allain-Leininger route in the North face of Petit Dru (3,733m).

Allain-Leininger route in the North face of Petit Dru (© P. Gatta)

After some hesitation we did not take the ski and walked to the base of the face. We started the climb at 11am with the 850m of the face above us.

Allain-Leininger route in the North face of Petit Dru (© P. Gatta)

The conditions in the route were good with some hard snow, ice and sections of dry rock.

Lambert crack in the North face of Petit Dru (© P. Gatta)

The Niche of Les Drus (© P. Gatta)

We reached the second ledge (junction with the American direct) at 19:30 where we made the bivouac.

Sunset from Les Drus (© P. Gatta)

The bivouac is an amazing place with 600m drop and great views over Mont Blanc and Chamonix valley.

Sunset from Les Drus (© P. Gatta)

Ready for the bivouac in Les Drus (© P. Gatta)

Hard to get started the following day in the cold of the North face.

Early morning in the North face of Les Drus (© A. Chabot)

We left the bivouac at 7am.

First pitch above the bivouac (© A. Chabot)

The second part of the route is more sustained and athletic.

Second day in Allain-Leininger route in the North face of Petit Dru (© A. Chabot)

I must say that I suffered from the lack of Alpine climbs and the desert races didn’t help much.

Second day in Allain-Leininger route in the North face of Petit Dru (© A. Chabot)

We reached the top at 4pm, enjoyed the view and started rappelling almost 800m along the North Couloir.

Top of Petit Dru (© A. Chabot)

Top of Petit Dru (© P. Gatta)

We had a “Hitchcock” moment half way when the rope got stuck. We tried to pull it while we were both on a rudimentary belay 15min before dark.

Rapelling in the north couloir of Les Drus (© P. Gatta)

We managed to unstuck the rope and finished the rappels in the night and continued straight to the Grands-Montets that we reached at 1am.

Rapelling by night in the north couloir of Les Drus (© P. Gatta)

We sincerely thank the guardian of the cable car who welcomed us with a pizza and a bottle of water. After 18 hours of climb where we ate only a few bars and drunk half a litre of water, we couldn’t dream of better!

More photos of the Allain-Leininger route.

A few more rest days and I am off for Lhotse.

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