Published on 09/02/2021
Almost 20 years ago now, when I was buying my first ice axes for ice climbing in the local sports shop in Nice, I came across a huge Grivel poster.
In the photo, a climber was suspended from his ice axes on a thin tube of ice, his feet in the air. A few rays of sunlight illuminated the waterfall and the many drops of water falling from the top. The Grivel logo was in the corner of the image while a simple caption gave some details "Christophe Moulin in Rappelle-toi que tu es un homme (Remember that you are a Man)”.
This photo is legendary and gave birth to many vocations… Each time I saw it, I stayed for long moments looking at it, as if bewitched, wondering if one day I would be able to climb such a route.
Since 1997, the year of the opening, "Remember you are a Man" has made some rare appearances. The last time was in 2012, after a biting cold spell that froze most of the "big" waterfalls in the Alps.
But since then, nothing.
This year, the conditions are back. In the Hautes-Alpes, water freezes again in quantity and quality. The great itineraries are reforming… In Gramusat, one of the big destinations for ice climbing in France, the dream lines are back!
"Just an Illusion," "Central Scrutinizer," "Bowling," "Under Satan's Sun," "Blow Job," "Doberman," and many more reappear after too many years of absence.
The atmosphere is frenetic and electric. Everyone wants to enjoy it! The passion is still there very much alive despite years of scarcity, marked by too mild winters ...
After having gone through a few classics from the Tete de Gramusat, with my wife Fanny, we want to go further, elsewhere.
Christophe Moulin has become a friend. He was my coach when I was a member of the “Groupe Excellence Alpinisme National” of the FFCAM in 2007/2008 and after that I have had the pleasure of working with him as a supervisor of this same group and then as a trainer at ENSA.
Despite the time going by, Christophe still has the flame and keeps an eye on these legendary lines ... Passion does not die out over time, it seems that it becomes even stronger, feeding on experience.
Thanks to his information and advice, we leave well before sunrise with Fanny for the Couleau valley. The valley is lost and deserted… not even a trace of skis! After 1h30 of ski touring, we finally see the line… The ice is there! “Remember you are a Man” is formed.
The legend is in front of us: 5 pitches of steep and worked ice, of rotten rock, only strewn with a few pitons and 8mm spits worn by time and corrosion. 5 incredible pitches, which have become legendary ... Christophe Moulin's masterpiece is called: "Remember that you are a Man".