OverviewThe ridgeline from the Dent du Géant (4013m) to Point Walker (4208m) on the Grandes Jorasses (aka, the Rochefort Ridges-Grandes Jorasses traverse) is a truly spectacular adventure. The route is Number 73 in Gaston Rébuffat's classic "The Mont Blanc Massif: The Hundred Finest Routes." As he rightly puts it: "This is a magnificent, high altitude traverse, on mixed terrain, and taking two days." Richard Goedeke calls just the Grandes Jorasses portion of the traverse, "One of the great classic undertakings in the Alps."
The route falls into two parts. Day One: a fairly easy snow traverse of the Rochefort Ridge--itself one of the more popular outings in the massif, which means you'll have traffic in both directions as climbers generally turn around at the Calotte de Rochefort. The night is spent at the Canzio Bivouac Hut (3818m) in the Col des Grandes Jorasses. Then there's Day Two: wild and super exposed rock climbing with some tricky route finding, leading up to Point Walker.
The traverse tags some dozen summits, most above 4,000 meters, strandling the border between France and Italy, offering fantastic views at every turn.
Getting ThereFrom the Torino Hut follow the track toward the Dent du Geant. After about an hour you should be near the base of a snow slope, where you have a choice. Either scramble up often loose rock on the left, tending right toward the Dent; or, if the snow couloir further up slope to the right is in-shape follow that up to the rock. Another hour or so should put you at the flat spot to the right of the Dent. Those wanting to climb the tooth itself can head to the start of the normal route around the corner to the left. To start the traverse follow the track to the right that leads up to the snow ridge.
If the hut is full (or you just hate it) there are a couple of good spots to bivy on the approach snow slope about 45 minutes away from the Torino. Still, get an alpine start because the crowds pour out of the hut to hit the dent very early.
Route DescriptionUNDER CONSTRUCTION
The first half of the route is very straightforward: Simply follow the snow ridge to the Calotte de Rochefort and rappel down into the Col des Grandes Jorasses. The bivouac hut has space for eight people and blankets.
The next day you climb up from the col to Point Young (3996 m). Rébuffat's directions are to climb rock on the right side of the couloir splitting the face and bear left to the summit.
MORE DIRECTIONS TK
Descend the Normal Route from Pt. Whymper. Stay to the center of the ridge. There are rap stations in place lower down. Tend right (west) and look for a fixed rope to move onto the glacier. You'll want crampons and an ice axe on before you hit the ice, which is fairly steep high up. Follow the track across the glacier west to the next rock band (Rognon de la Bouteille). Head down that (more rap stations lower) and continue down across the glacier again. Before long you'll hit a faint trail, which leads to the Boccalette hut.
An alternative is to descend the Hirondelles Ridge to either the Gervasutti Hut or the Leschaux Hut.