“Uncertainty in adventure” is what drives Arc’teryx Athlete Luka Lindic and this spring the Slovenian native along with his fellow climbing partner Luka Krajnc put that philosophy to the test when they attempted the Rolling Stones in Chamonix.
After an unstable winter the two Luka’s were blessed with a good window of opportunity this March. Initially they had planned to do “Gousseault Desmaison” on Grandes Jorasses north face, but after seeing that so many other parties were lined up with the same idea they changed the objective and headed into an even harder route on the same face called 'Rolling Stones.'
The plan was clear says Lindic - “We were going to try and free climb the whole route.” How big the risks were wasn’t as certain as their determination, because no one had free climbed Rolling Stones before. “We like the uncertainty in adventures like this.”
Six days car to car
Day 1: After the approach with skis and big packs they slept below the 1100 meter long route. “The next morning we started climbing what would be a max three day climb,” explains Luka Lindic.
Day 2: The second pitch was very hard and the two were slower than expected. They were already exhausted after the first day of climbing not sure if they would succeed.
Day 3: The third day of climbing included a tricky traverse into a super steep wall followed by a few more difficult pitches. “After that we had to be totally committed to the route," continued Luka.
Day 4: Crux pitch (graded A3). Luka Lindic remembers: “It did not look too scary so after I managed to calm down, I just went for it. The loose blocks in this pitch are probably the reason for the name of route. I could feel the rocks moving all around me with strange noises and started climbing even more slowly and gently until.. Yes! I did it! The next pitches were less serious but far from easy." That day they climbed seven pitches before the third bivy on the face. “We were happy as hell after free climbing the hardest part.” says Luka.
Day 5: A wall of clouds, strong wind and fog made the last part of the climb more difficult than expected. “We couldn´t believe that we were in such a serious position now," explains Luka after already having tasted victory the night before. Everything had to go smoothly from now on, otherwise they would be be in big trouble. Just before it got dark they managed to get to the top and had to bivy another night because of the fog.
Day 6: Next morning they woke up in a perfect day and descended to Courmayeur. “We needed six days from car to car”
Luka Lindic´s wrap up
“Again we did a very good climb in the style we like - Simple. Just going for it without a lot of equipment. We did a first free ascent and managed to on-sight all the pitches. We think that the hardest one is around M8 with a bit of a scary passage over big loose blocks and at least three others were in the M7 range, with many others around M6. But as always: the numbers don’t tell it all.“