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Italian Normal Route to Mont Blanc, Pope's Way

Chamonix

Courmayeur

Italian Normal Way to Mont Blanc, starting from the valley. Two days, 3000mt total altitude difference.

Also in Haute-Savoie, France

Alpine Climbing Difficult

Distance
20 km
Ascent
3.2 km
Descent
112 m
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
4.8 km
Gradient
30˚
Italian Normal Route to Mont Blanc, Pope's Way Map

Translation from Google, original description on Gulliver.

Description

DAY 1 (from Val Veny 1,600 m to the Gonella hut 3,071 m)

Once in Courmayeur, take the road that leads to Val Veny and follow it until the bar shortly after La Visaille which prevents access to the valley floor (1,700 meters approximately). Leave the car and continue on the paved road to the bridge that crosses the terminal part of Lake Combal, from here take the dirt road to the right, and after a short stretch, behind a curve, you are in front of the bar Combal (1,970 m), before reaching it, take a well-marked path on the left and after a few minutes you are on a ridge that runs alongside the orographic right of the Miage glacier. From this point looking at the valley floor you have the immense glacier in front of you, the Aiguilles de Trelatête on the right, the Aiguilles Grises on the left, and other spiers and peaks surrounded by suspended seracs which occasionally enliven the atmosphere with thunderous discharges which, however, given the distance from the track do not present problems; while if you turn back you can see the characteristic lake of Miage which could represent a pleasant destination quickly reachable for a more familiar excursion. Then, following the easy ridge, you will reach its end and at this point the path will lead you down to the right directly on the Miage glacier covered entirely by moraine debris but completely alive, from here continue following centrally with respect to the glacier evident little men and yellow circles , which after about 5 km, on a slight slope make us arrive at the end of the moraine tract, from here on our right you can see the imposing Dôme glacier and the rocky rampart on its left which supports the refuge; at this point you start to step on the actual glacier which usually does not require the use of crampons and pikes. This part of the route, more intuitive, makes us move first to the left then to the right and by jumping over some easy crevasses we get to step on a short snowfield which highlights the track which flows into the rocky path. It is well signposted and equipped in several points with chains and ladders, which facilitate the passage, only for a small stretch the path is interrupted by another snowfield and shortly after always following the via ferrata you arrive at the refuge after five hours from departure car.

DAY 2 (from the Gonella hut 3,071 m to Mont Blanc 4,810 m) From the refuge you take an easy and short path that can be dangerous for stone discharges, shortly after you get to step on the Dôme glacier which in itself should not present major difficulties if it were not that the summer so hot (2003) has scourged by opening several crevasses, this forces us to follow the track very carefully, thus having to do several zigzags. After about five hours we find ourselves in front of the terminal part of the Dôme glacier which, always due to the high temperatures, is frozen with a slope of 45 ° and an extension of 30 meters before the exit on rock between the Col des Aiguilles Grises and the Col de Bionnassay, which could also be covered by snow if the summer had been less torrid, from the ridge proceeding to the right you will soon arrive near the sharp Bionassay ridge, which is very suggestive and requires safety foot and confidence in crampons. Shortly after the route is easier, heading north-east you pass near the Piton des Italiens (4,002 meters) from here, turning back you can see the Aiguilles de Bionnassay. Proceeding north-east, after crossing the Dôme du Goûter, you cross the normal French route that starts from the Gouter refuge. From this street. which is absolutely the most popular, dozens of climbers arrive who bring back to civilization after being immersed in an absolutely wild environment. From the crossroads onwards, follow the French road which heads south-east. After a slight descent, go up a steeper section to the Vallot Bivouac (4,362 m), a very useful emergency place in case of bad weather. From here, moving decisively to the right in a southerly direction with a slope close to 40 °, you arrive in a short time on the Bosses ridge (around 4,500 meters), which, if followed for its entire extension, takes us to the top of the Roof of Europe.

Descent following the same ascent route or from one of the other 'normal' ones.

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+

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Much of the route is difficult to protect and a fall could be disastrous at certain points.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between June and August

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Bivy Kit
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit
  • Climbing Shoes

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area