SA Ascent of North face of the Croz Spur (Grande Jorasse)

South Africans Jeremy Colenso & Rob Powell with Brit Paul Maine have recently completed the probably first South African ascent of the Croz Spur on the Grande Jorasse.  As the route was in full winter condition, they started up the Slovenian start and finished up right of the Final Tower.  The route involves 1000m of ice and mixed climbing up one of the biggest faces in the Alps.  The Grande Jorasse is considered on the the classic 6 north faces of the Alps.

The route is overall alpine grade is ED1 with technical grades of V/5/M5+.

Rob & Jeremy are both members of SAMGA and are practicing Mountain Guides in the UK and RSA:
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Croz Spur on the Grande Jorasse.

Rob Powell on the mixed headwall.

Croz Spur on the Grande Jorasse.

Paul Maine heading up to steep ground.

Croz Spur on the Grande Jorasse.

Jeremy leading up a thin ice gulley.

Croz Spur on the Grande Jorasse.

Happy climbers at the Breche on the top of the Route.

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11 Responses to SA Ascent of North face of the Croz Spur (Grande Jorasse)

  1. Justin Sep 16, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    Well done guys!!!

  2. Snort Sep 16, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    That is indeed right “out there” dudes. With the best! Just looking at it from the MIDI looks cold and foreboding.

  3. HenkG Sep 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Congratulations. Huge respect.

  4. Rob P Sep 17, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    HenkG, Snort and Justin – Thanks for your support guys! Much appreciated.

  5. Mario Sep 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm #


    Probably not even when I’m big and strong! 😉

  6. Jeremy Colenso Sep 18, 2014 at 12:54 am #

    Thanks guys for your positive feedback. It is very motivating!

  7. Colin McCoy Sep 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    Good job lads!!

  8. Alard Sep 18, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    Nice one guys!!!! good effort!!! a proud achievement!!!!!

  9. Andy de Klerk Sep 22, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    Nice one lads!
    Julie Brugger and I climbed the Croz spur in 1992, not sure if it’s the same route you did. We found it easier than the Walker and there were no people! There was a nice long ice field at the bottom that allowed us to gain height rapidly. We got caught in a local afternoon/night storm about 2/3 up and spent the night standing up on footledges with our bivvy sacs over our heads with loads of spindrift coming down. Finished the next day, and thought the route was brilliant.
    One thing about Cham is that if you venture off the well beaten paths there is lots of adventure to be had.
    A friend of mine, Mark Seaton, just did the Nant Blanc face on Aig Verte 2 weeks ago. Bastard! The route has been out of nick for a decade or more! The conditions this autum have been very good after such a rainy summer.
    Looking forward to more posts about your alpine exploits JC and more nice photies.

  10. Rob P Sep 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Thanks for your note and encouraging words Andy and as the frenchies say “cest la vie”.

    We know that you had previously done the Walker which was also our original plan but for 3 seasons now the route has been out of condition due to bad summers and we have been to the base twice before but both times didn’t even get the opportunity to start up the route, fortunately the bad summers have meant that this year, the face was in “winter” mode and we were thus able to jump on the Colton Mac or the Croz. We decided on the Croz as there were 2 teams on the CM already (at 2am??). Not sure if we did do the same start as you because after the shrund, we headed straight up gullies to the median neve field. Mostly 70 degree type stuff but the odd 90 degree section and thinner sections. It was certainly a great experience and one of the best climbs I have done and a great team with JC and PM. The top mixed climbing was particularly great. Sounds like we had a very similar bivy experience to you. Cheers Rob

  11. Hilton Davies Oct 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Nice one fellas! A proper achievement!
    To do a route that Andy hasn’t done there you will have to do Divine Providence or something equally totally desperate. Good luck with that!
    What Andy didn’t mention was that he did the Walker three times! Twice solo!!!! (And the Shroud, and, and…)
    It’s highly possible that Dave Cheesmond, Don Hartley or some other local climbed the Croz. Quite a number of locals have climbed the Walker including my brothers David and John, Chris Lomax and Greg Lacey, I think Richard Behne, Dave Cheesmond, Tony Dick etc. I’ve tried talking Bruce Daniel into doing it with me and now I’m tee-ing up Guy for some big cold things there.
    Anyways, it doesn’t matter whether other locals have climbed the route you’ve climbed – it remains big, hard, cold and scary – so well done my friends!

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