Védrines and Billon climbed the summit of Les Grandes Jorasses in a record time


On Wednesday 15 February 2023, Benjamin Védrines and Léo Billon achieved a record performance by linking, in just 15 hours, Chamonix to the top of Les Grandes Jorasses, via the difficult Gousseault route.

Léo Billon and Benjamin Védrines have known each other since their high school years in Die. A technical and fast team that came only took 15 hours to connect Chamonix to the Grandes Jorasses, while taking the demanding Gousseault route. Photo source: @Sébastien Montaz Rosset
This north face, which culminates at 4.208 meters, currently proves that it remains the most beautiful playground for advanced mountaineering in winter. Archive photo Le DL /A.Ch.


The two friends linked Chamonix to the top of Les Grandes Jorasses, with only 15 kilos of equipment, two liters of water and not even enough to bivouac.

A lightning performance all the more incredible as the team chose to take the Gousseault route, one of the most elevated and legendary routes on this terrible north face, among the most difficult in the Alps.

"We wanted to do it by the day, but we weren't aiming for a specific time", said those who have known each other since their high school years in Die (Drôme).

Leaving Chamonix at 1:30am in the morning on skis with the guide director Sébastien Montaz Rosset, they took four hours to swallow their breakfast at 2000 meters of altitude to the foot of the Grandes Jorasses.

“When we stopped to melt some water with our stove, I really thought I was going to go back to sleep. It was almost the most tiring moment of the day,” laughed Leo.

At 5:30 a.m., they took the path opened by René Desmaison. They only needed 9 hours and 10 minutes to finish it. A record that shows all the talent of these two mountaineers.

“We don't do free solo. We may have climbed 50 meters with the taut rope when it was easier, but otherwise we always take the time to make good belays, to insure and protect ourselves according to the rules of the art,” said the duo.

A roped party on the same wavelength

“I know very few people with whom I can imagine undertaking this kind of challenge. You have to be fast in the pitches, efficient in the relays, rustic and enduring over the long term, while mastering mixed climbing perfectly,” said Benjamin.

Supersonic, at 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon, they were at the top, without even having given their press officer time to write the slightest press release and they already began the descent to Val Ferret.

There, they pick up the car left by friends and rush off to swallow the pizza they've been dreaming of devouring for several hours. The two friends took the Mont-Blanc tunnel and went to sleep in their beds.

A milestone in their career

A milestone in their career "Making this route for the day is an important step for me in the quest for the perfect ascent in mountaineering", assured Benjamin. "It's an approach I've always dreamed of taking, and I can only observe that work, passion and daring end up paying off," says the man who, ten years ago, would not have thought this performance possible.

An incredible performance since, the ultra-fast ascents were made famous by Kilian Jornet or Ueli Steck, climbing technical routes in a quickly time, remains even rarer and perhaps even more daring.

Source: @Le Dauphine

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