Couvercle Hut Approach

Aiguille du Midi

Chamonix

A journey up the Vallée Blanche then ladders up to a remote hut in a wild and beautiful place

Alpine Climbing Easy

Distance
6.6 km
Ascent
969 m
Descent
183 m
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
2.7 km
Gradient
28˚
Couvercle Hut Approach Map

Take the train from Chamonix to Montenvers at 1912m. From there take the downhill path which branches off to the R to the top of the ladders. A series of these descend ever increasing distances with glacial recession, until the moraine that leads down a rough track to the glacier itself. By early summer the glacier is usually blue ice, rubble strewn, but in a snowy year, early season, part of the ascent may still be snow covered, known as a “wet” glacier, in which case a rope and crevasse rescue equipment and knowledge are needed. Usually however it is fine to walk up unroped as the crevasses are obvious and can be walked around. The exact route will vary, but broadly you follow the R side of the glacier looking uphill, looking for a large aluminium water tank placed deliberately on the moraine. From here the route is waymarked with red markers on rocks and cairns. These lead you to the foot of the ladders. If you lose the cairns it is also marked with a large white square painted onto the rocks, near the start of the ladders. There are five of them in succession, followed by some sections with steel cable. Gloves make it more comfortable with your pack on. From the end of the cables a good path leads you to the hut, in one of the most scenic locations for a major hut, with panoramic sunny views all around, including the Grandes Jorasses and Mont Blanc.

Difficulty

Easy

The ascent involves simple glacier hiking and/or short, straightforward rock scrambles. Equivalent to Alpine F, F+

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The route features some exposed and/or difficult to protect sections.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

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