Le Couloir du Dru is for me, and others, the quintessential mixed climb of the great epoch. The great epoch is the time before great gear, and knowledge tamed everything into banality. Walter Cecchinel (above photo) together with Claude Jager, waded thru huge powder to get to the route and their track was visible for weeks. The gear was not great, but it was the best of the time, I subsequently used this gear, and although it was an improvement on before, I have to say it was shizal compared to todays. Anyway I met Walter in Munich and he was kind enough to reminisce with me. He showed me photos out of a book on the ascent, and basically I felt honoured to have this link with my past forged.
Todays morning brought a light dusting of snow and it looked great to go running, but I shivered remembering the huge snow of those winters long ago, and the big packs pushing you down, deep to your axel-stuck in the snow, breathing like a dying race horse.
Today climbers have great gear, which renders climbs tame, and so they boast, instead of looking for wilder beasts to slay.
I don't really understand climbing, because it is today out moded, it's just a shallower game of an ancient rite of passage.
And so I,ll digress and say please dont follow the Olympics, it's a business, and a wierd orginisation for conning you into thinking you are watching fair sport. They wont allow athletes to ware their own logos to make personel money, while filling their own pockets with black money. This year they finally let women do half the ski jump event, well thank you oh great Olympians, how nice nice of you.
The other tit bit is that one climbing manufacture put in 2 million euros (?) to help with showing off ice climbing, not as an event just as a showing off kinda thing. How many new Dru Couloirs could we have with this money? How many dreams are we missing today in our great forgotten art, our great forgotten rite?