Petite Aiguille Verte, North Face, 3512m

Chamonix

Grands Montets

Les Grands Montets

A breathtaking viewpoint via an interesting (but never particularly hard) route.

Alpine Climbing Difficult

Distance
5.6 km
Ascent
891 m
Descent
891 m
Low Point
2.7 km
High Point
3.5 km
Gradient
30˚
Petite Aiguille Verte, North Face, 3512m Map

This previously very popular summit has now become considerably less so, following the devastating fire, closing the Grands Montets cable car. So now you must access this from the old mid station of the cable car, Lognan, 1975m, in summer. This is rarely done as it is a huge walk to the Col des Grands Montets, where the old cable car used to take you. More commonly this peak is climbed in the winter and spring, as described here, accessed from the top of the Bochard bubble lift, which takes you to 2785m, and continuing by skinning. From the exit of the Bochard lift duck under the ropes and, taking a long diagonal ski downwards, losing as little height as possible, reach a logical place to put your skins on. You will soon be on the glacier, so pick a canny route diagonally upwards, avoiding any obvious seracs and crevasses, aiming for the notch in the ridge at about 3000m, where the old black piste used to come through. You now find yourself on the opposite side of the mountain, with great views of Col Chardonnet and the big peaks either side. Continue diagonally upwards, passing below steep ground, then more easily, leading to a final steepening, then up to the Col des Grands Montets. Your peak now lies above you up and R. Depending on conditions you may or may not be able to continue skinning, a little distance up the lower N facing slopes, below the bergschrund. At some point you will be forced to transition to crampons. There is no exact line of ascent, but broadly you aim straight for the summit directly from below. Your exact choice will probably be influenced by the presence of other tracks or, assuming there are none, where the bergschrund looks the least threatening. There is a short section of mixed scrambling at the very top. The view from the summit more than justifies the effort to get there, with a stunning panorama and the Dru and Aiguille Verte particularly fine, due to their dominant position above you. The descent route takes the NW ridge and is an easy mixed scramble, but with significant exposure. Most of the difficulties can be avoided on the shady N side, but there is a steep wall at the start of the descent. You may choose to abseil this.

Difficulty

Difficult

The beginning of truly technical terrain which might involve pitched climbing on rock and/or ice, exposed terrain and complex route finding in ascent and descent. Equivalent to AD, AD+

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

February, March, April, May, June, July

Equipment required

  • Crampons
  • Quickdraws
  • Glacier kit
  • 2 Ice Axes
  • Wires and Friends

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area