Steep skiing on La Meije, including the north face via the Z, a feat achieved by Benjamin Védrines and Nicolas Jean

Benjamin Védrines en face nord de la Meije, couloir Gravelotte © Nicolas Jean

In the French Alps, the north face of La Meije via the “Z” is a serious mountaineering route, like its neighbor the Gravelotte couloir. Both were recently skied, one for the first time, the other for the first time in two decades. Nicolas Jean and Benjamin Védrines, who have skied some of the alpine massive walls of the french Alps such as the north face of the Ailefroide, couldn’t resist putting their spatulas to the test. On June 5, the duo skied the first two lines, adding the Corridors and the north face of the Meije Orientale. A steep skiing grand slam, both mental and technical. The combination of these four lines is undoubtedly the greatest feat of the winter on skis, the high point of an exceptional season in a risky activity. Benjamin Védrines tells us all about this memorable day before leaving for his K2 attempt.

You’d have to pinch yourself to believe that Wednesday June 5, French Nicolas Jean and Benjamin Védrines skied down the north face of the Meije, 3983 m, four times. The two skier-mountaineers have already completed some major steep descents this May, exceptional in every respect, of which the descent of the north-west face of the Ailefroide via the voie des Plaques (ED) was undoubtedly the climax. Benjamin Védrines – just four days before his departure for the K2 – and Nicolas Jean were exceptionally motivated. The conditions in the high mountains were exceptional, and we had to make the most of