Flying one of the early high performance (but very unstable) paragliders ITV Saphir launched with a few locals from Grande Montets at around 3250m and then made one of the first ascents of the west face of The Dru, riding thermals. Got close to the summit and passed climbers bivvying on the huge face. Very frightening flying in rough air close to vertical rock. When nerves couldn't stand it any more I headed back out over the main Chamonix valley and enjoyed a somewhat smoother and more tranquil flight all the way back down over 2500m to land at the main landing area at the foot of Le Brevant. It will be pretty much routine to do that flight now and I found on you-tube that they are doing tandem flights up the Dru these days.
Perfect conditions. Bivouacked at the foot and climbed it in 10 hours. Back to Chamonix the same day.
Magnificent weather, beautiful climb all the way but the couloir at the start (a rock fall chunnel). 1 bivouac with my friend Habib and Denise Escande, the first woman to climb it (maybe just after Yvette Vaucher) which much surprised Gary Hemming and John Harlin whom we met on our way down.
Beautiful challenging route, a masterpiece by Walter Bonatti. But the route recently had been destroyed by an impressive rockfall!
1958 Bonatti Pillar,. Was on the first Brit ascent ,I think about the 5th ascent overall. Turned into an epic ,injury and storm . but got to summit in 3 days.
great route with perfect rock until the bivouacledge after the 90m diedre. the last pitches in the westface before you move to the north face are quite loose - due to a big rockfall, the last pitch in the westface is completely missing but it´s still possible if you keep rihgt and then traverse left to the huge ledge on the edge of the northface.
still a great climb with a very, very long descent
There was enough ice in the couloir, and climbing with Urs Odermatt was a delight. The mixed Pitches were just flying by ;-) It took us 7 hours and we rapelled down the same side that we came up. Some Pictures of our Tour can be found here:
Our initial plan was to climb the SW Bonatti pilar at the petit Dru. We decided to climb this route at the last moment because of rock falls when trying to reach the "flammes de pierre".
great climb...not much belays/pitons these days...during we climbed the SW Pillar there had been a great rock fall in the West Face which killed lots of climbers
great climb...good rock...tough way back with rappeling and climbing on the south side
Magnificent 600 meter rockclimb that can be climbed free. Long and sometimes dangerous approach. We choose the approach via the "Flammes de pierre", which is longer but safer than the more direct approach at the base of the westface. Altough the route is a french ED+ when climbed free (otherwise TD+), there were a lot of parties present which caused some rockfall and delay. We had to bivouac during the descend of the voie normal.