Monday, May 25, 2020, the mountain guide Edmond Joyeusaz set off on skis from the summit of Mont Blanc. He descended from the Italian side, on the road opened in 1979 by Gianni Comino and Gian Carlo Grassi.
Edmond Joyeusaz is well known in Courmayeur. This 62-year-old mountain guide has been a federal alpine ski coach for more than 40 years. He is also an alpine guide for the Société des guides alpins de Courmayeur. Passionate about skiing, he was one of the best Italian skiers, and world champion in skiing for alpine guides in 1999. At 62, he has just achieved a real feat by descending Mont Blanc from its summit by a wild route. from the Italian side. No one had ever made the ski descent of Mont Blanc via the Poire route. An exceptional first on a particularly inhospitable, exposed and dangerous line.
A crazy idea
Accompanied by his faithful friends the mountain guide Arturo Jacquemod, Jean-Marie Rossi for images and Simone Vigna for the drone images, the Italian alpine guide from Courmayeur offered himself “the most difficult descent ever skied in his entire career”. A few days after his feat, Edmond shared his feelings with the teams of Planet mountain.
“The idea of skiing from the top of Mont-Blanc on the first road climbed in 1979 by Gianni Comino and Giancarlo Grassi came to me while observing the mountain from my balcony. After years of observing and evaluating the line, I identified a possible route that descends from the summit of Mont Blanc in Courmayeur almost vertically between the Poire and the extremely steep rocky outcrops of the nearby Aiguille Blanche, to the glacier. of the Brenva. Vertical drop of about 1500 meters. This descent is unprecedented in terms of technical difficulties, exposure, objective dangers and height difference. "
An extraordinary story
To get to the Col de la Brenva, Edmond chose the helicopter, mainly because of his slightly reduced physical form after the confinement linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I did not have the necessary physical form to make the ascent, before facing - physically and mentally - a descent as demanding as the Pear. "
Once on the pass, Edmond reached the summit of Mont Blanc on foot, then the Mont Blanc de Courmayeur on skis, before embarking on the way of the Pear along the Grand pillar of Angle, and completing his feat on the slopes of the Brenva glacier. 1500 meters of vertical drop were then offered to him with slopes of 50 to 60 °!
“This is where the great ski descent, or rather the terrible and fascinating abyss, began. For those who know the wild side of Mont Blanc, and in particular this section marked by the brilliant summit of the Pear, the descent seems almost incomprehensible. "
Edmond had to make 3 abseils over 120 meters during his descent due to areas without snow. Achieving such a ski descent this season is daring, but confinement has reduced the possibilities for this year, and Edmond absolutely wanted to accomplish this challenge in 2020.
“It was an old dream of mine, I can see Peuterey Ridge from my living room window… I had planned to do it in 2021. But I couldn't resist. I didn't want to waste another year. "
Edmond Joyeusaz shared the images of his exploit on his Facebook page.
“When you look at this part of Mont Blanc in the valley, you get the feeling that the atmosphere up there is majestic. But once you actually get there, you realize how awesome it is. The serac is at least 300 meters thick. And then you realize that among all this ice, you are completely insignificant. And that the 10 story block of ice could collapse at any time and take you away. "
Update: On June 5, 2020, Grivel uploaded the images to their YouTube channel. Check out the video: