A remote mountain, famed by the routes on its N Face, is a challenging climb from any side.

Statistics

1,363

m

1,363

m

48

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

One of the great N Faces of the Western Alps leads to the summit of our mountain.

The S side is much lower angled, but, with over 1200m of ascent from the hut on a remote route, it is not to be underestimated.

It is very condition dependent, as the access couloir needs to be snow-filled.

You should climb this route on a day that is not forecast to be too hot, in order to safeguard the descent. From the Couvercle Hut leave very early and follow the well-worn track, as for the Aiguille Verte, to about 2900m.

From here trend off to the R, taking the line of least resistance on glacial benches, right the way across the glacier, aiming for the obvious straight snowy couloir, which you should find in good frozen conditions.

Carefully consider the conditions of the day - if it is not well frozen on the glacier and in the couloir the retreat is probably advised.

Climb this to the top, with decent rock runners and belays if needed.

Follow the mixed crest above, generally avoiding rocky sections and towers on the R.

Pass to the L of a final rock tower near the top, to arrive at the summit.

You are likely to have the peak to yourselves as it does not have quite the cachet of the Aiguille Verte.

It is, however, every bit as fine a summit, and has panoramic views of the Grandes Jorasses, the Argentiere basin and the Mont Blanc. In descent, if it is a cool day, it is fine to reverse your line of ascent, with some rappels as needed in the couloir.

A common alternative in descent, which can be also used in ascent, is to follow a SE facing couloir from the rock tower below the summit, by a series of rappels.

These lead onto the 40 degree apron of snow that lies below the Col des Droites.

Descend this then the easy slopes below the moraines and beneath the Jardin de Talefre.

This descent avoids crossing the entirety of the main snow-covered glacier when it is at its hottest.