The most popular route up the highest peak in Western Europe.









FATMAP difficulty grade



With an extremely early start leave the hut and go almost horizontally with amazing views of the lights in the valley far below, over your R shoulder.

Take care to have plenty of rope between you and if you are only a pair then consider knots in the rope, as it is extremely hard to hold a fall into a crevasse as just a rope of two.

Many people will have short ropes or no rope but don’t do this here! Slowly the slope steepens up on the N side of the Dôme du Goûter, though it's never that steep.

If you want an extra summit you can visit the summit of the Dôme du Goûter, though this adds a small amount of time.

Either way you descend a little to the Col des Dômes at 4236m. Shortly above here is the Vallot Hut at 4362m, the highest building in France.

It is an emergency shelter only that unfortunately gets abused and littered, but a quick visit to escape the wind is fine.

From here on up is the Bosses ridge, leading to the summit.

You pretty much follow it direct on the ridge, entirely on snow and ice, with a significant degree of exposure in places.

There may be parallel tracks, useful as others will be descending.

Surefootedness is needed and good crampon technique, as well as a short rope if you are safeguarding one or two other people of lesser experience.

A slip is far more likely than a fall into a crevasse here, so a long rope is inappropriate and will annoy others, as it may appear like a trip line. Slowly the whaleback crest angles off to your summit, which hopefully you will experience in the beautiful early morning light, the incredible view distracting you from the cold, and possibly your headache and tired body.

The descent is the reverse of your ascent route, to the Goûter hut again.

You could stay here if you have booked, or if not continue down the standard route you came up the day before, taking care to avoid crossing the Grand Couloir in the full afternoon sun.

Congratulations on an amazing day out that many people underestimate.