Together with Silvia Murgescu, we climbed Grand Capucin on Swiss Direct route on 11 July 2011. A short film with our climb below:
After our climb on Grand Pilier D’Angle , the weather got bad. So, for a couple of days we did different activities in Chamonix area such as Mountain Biking, going to the swimming-pool, and some rock climb in Aiguille L’Index.
Finally on 10 July the weather got fine again. In that evening Silvia and I set our tent on the foot of Grand Capucin together with our friends from Romania Mihai Sima and Raimond. The plan of climbing Grand Capucin was made before leaving Romania both for us and them, and we kept sms each other about the weather conditions as we tried to find the perfect day for climbing it together. So, here we are all four of us, enjoying the sun-set view:
Before going to sleep, we reviewed again the Topo for Swiss Direct route . At 5.30 in the morning we got up, and left our tents by 6.30 am. There were other teams already in front of us crossing the bergschrund, but we hopped they will climb other routes in Grand Capucin. Unfortunately, 7 teams (including us) entered that day on the same route (“Swiss Direct”) while other two teams started on “O sole mio” and other team started on “Bonatti”. It was such a crowdy day because all of us waited so long for a good weather window which finally came.
We left our equipment (ice-axe, mountain boots, crampons) on a ledge at the base of the route and took with us only our rock gear as the descend was made by rappeling down the same route.
We made new friends on the route as we shared the same narrow belay places all the time. Some funny guys from Northern Ireland. As soon as the second climber arrives at the belay, the team leader starts the next pitch even the route is not clear. First we were a little confused, but than realized it’s the only way if we want to finish the climb in time and also to make room for others at the belay point. The route was not as dry as expected and our rock shoes got wet soon. But we didn’t mind too much, as the climb was very pleasant. We had to place a lot of nuts and cams and these require all our attention.
The seven pitch puts us to some aid climbing. One or two Irish teams decided to retreat from this point as they consider the time is too late for them. But we continued, together with Mihai and Raimond. We have climbed together all the way.
Next, there is a right traverse and a roof. One more short hard pitch and then two more easy pitches to the top of Grand Capucin. At 18:49 we make the picture on the summit. Such a nice view we have from here!
To get down, from the top of Grand Capucin, we made 5 long rappels (on the same route we climbed) using both ours and Mihai ropes. Right after the first long diagonal rappel (60-65 m), the rope jammed. Our problem was solved by the young Irish team above us. Thank you guys !
When the dark came, all four of us were safe at our tents having a hot drink and relaxing after an excellent granite climb on Grand Capucin.
By the way, did you know that Alex Huber climbed and downclimbed ropeless (via the same route taken to asscend) the “Swiss route” on Grand Capucin in 2008 ? Amazing ! You can read the article about his adventure here, and also here.
Topo for Grand Capucin Swiss route you can find here.
For a more detailed story of our climb written in Romanian, please check Silvia’s article.