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Grand Cornier North-west Ridge

A long approach to a short and scenic ridge where solitude is virtually guaranteed.

Alpine Climbing Difficult

10 km
1.1 km
1.1 km
Low Point
2.8 km
High Point
3.9 km
Grand Cornier North-west Ridge Map

Compared to the shorter routes above the Cabane de Moiry such as the Pigne de la Lé and Pointes de Mourti, this is a longer and more involved undertaking. The approach is long and the route itself is more technical than the terrain encountered on those 2 peaks. As a result this mountain (which is also significantly higher than those other 2 summits) is less climbed that most of its neighbours.


The best way to do the route is to get up early and leave the hut at dawn, so you'll likely be doing the first part of the approach in semi-darkness. As such, a quick recce of the approach to the Glacier de Moiry is recommended the night before climbing this route.

Walk south-east out of the hut (on the same path as for the Pigne de la Lé) and branch off right from the path once you are level with a glacial shelf beneath the Pigne de la Lé's west face. Cross this glacial shelf then pass under the Pigne de la Lé's south-west flank to access the amphitheatre-like bowl at the northern end of the Glacier de Moiry.

Head south along the glacier, travelling parallel to the Bouquetins ridge (which is on your left as you ascend) to reach a plateau north of the Grand Cornier. Cross over to the right and climb the increasingly steep triangular snow ramp which leads to the foot of the mountains' north-west ridge. A second ice axe will likely come in handy for the climb up the snow ramp, and a handful of ice screws will also make life easier and safer. Upon exiting the snowfield, a section of loose rock leads you onto the ridge itself. Bear in mind that you'll be descending the same route so have a strategy in mind for getting down the snow field, whether it's rigging an abseil or downclimbing.

Once on the ridge proper, follow the crest over some fun (and never overly difficult) scrambling. There are a number of rock gendarmes (towers) and you can generally go straight over these, passing some in-situ slings and the odd bolt too. The ridge becomes easier just before the summit so you can enjoy your moment of glory without any stress.

The view from the top is epic, with the Dent Blanche's north face seemingly close enough to touch and the Weisshorn looking dramatic too.

Once you've taken it all in, descend by the same route back to the hut.



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.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between June and September

Equipment required

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area