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Walker Spur
Route

Walker Spur

 
Walker Spur

Page Type: Route

Location: France, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.87124°N / 6.98664°E

Object Title: Walker Spur

Route Type: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

Time Required: One to two days

Rock Difficulty: 5.9 (YDS)

Difficulty: Alpine ED1, UIAA VI

Number of Pitches: 30

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: PeteThompson

Created/Edited: Apr 18, 2013 / May 9, 2013

Object ID: 846796

Hits: 3279 

Page Score: 80.18%  - 15 Votes 

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Overview

 

Walker Spur Route
The North Face of the Grandes Jorasses and the Walker Spur route.

 

This classic route up the huge North Face of the Grandes Jorasses, finishing on the summit at Pointe Walker (4208m), is considered to be one of the finest in the Alps.

It was first climbed on the 4-6 August 1938 by R.Cassin, L.Esposito and U.Tizzoni and it is also known as the Cassin Route.

There are now many routes on the face, some of them among the hardest in the Alps, but the Walker Spur remains the most popular.

I climbed the route during my first season in the Alps in 1980. I don’t have many photos, so feel free to add more to the page.

Getting There

Walker Spur
Walter Phipps on the Walker Spur, August 1980.

 

The route is in France in the Mont Blanc Massif. It is approached from Chamonix, a bustling resort about 1 hr 15 min by road from Geneva airport.

A rack railway goes from Chamonix to Montenvers (1909m). From here it is 2 hr 30 min-3 hr walk up the Mer de Glace and Leschaux Glaciers to the Leschaux Hut (2431m). The foot of the spur is reached in 2 hr 30 min from the hut. 

The Route

Walker Spur
Pete Thompson on the Walker, August 1980.

 

The route is mostly on rock with some ice and mixed. The climbing is free on open faces and cracks with pitches up to UIAA VI (5.9).

Although nowhere very difficult, this is a serious route due its length (1200m) and the difficulty of retreat in bad weather. It should only be attempted by a fit and acclimatised party in good conditions.

A fast party can complete the route in a day with a bivouac on the descent (usually down the south-west side into Italy). Most parties will bivouac once on the climb.

The route is sometimes climbed in rock shoes, but an axe and crampons are needed. Take two 50m half ropes. A rack of a set of nuts, a set of cams up to Camalot 2, ten quick draws and some slings should suffice. There will probably be quite a few pegs in place. 

Route descriptions are available in guidebooks such as the Alpine Club’s Mont Blanc Massif Volume 1. Topos are available on the internet.

More Information

Walker Spur
On the lower icefield of the Walker Spur, August 1980.

 

Mont Blanc Massif Volume 1 Selected climbs by Lindsay Griffin. Alpine Club 1990. Route descriptions for this and other Mont Blanc climbs.

The Mont Blanc Massif-The Hundred Finest Routes by Gaston Rebuffat. Baton Wicks 2005. A popular classic by the great alpinist.

 

Images

Walker Spur RouteOn the WalkerGrandes Jorasses North FaceOn the WalkerPete on the WalkerGrandes JorassesPete Thompson
Grandes Jorasses