Mont Blanc, climbing on the best granite in Europe
20 rock climbs on Mont Blanc: Grand Capucin, Trident du Tacul, Aiguille du Midi. By Roberto Rossi.
Climbing on Mont Blanc's granite walls is an exceptional experience, unique in its kind. The splendour of the glacier deep below, the breathtaking panorama and the sharp reflection of the light reflecting off the snow cleans the mind while the fresh, thin air clears the spirit and the altitude inexorably tires the body. These are the sensations I encounter every time I return to the "satellites" to climb the steep granite faces, worn smooth by the elements and thousands of years of glacial erosion.
Immense corners and cracks, thin fissures and micro-edges – all those who have climbed on this incredible rock have immediately become addicted. All other climbs suddenly become mere training routes for the next trip back to the most beautiful granite in Europe!
But beware, because this is an alpine environment! The approach crosses a glacier and the weather can deteriorate severely from one moment to the next. Proper gear and clothing is indispensable therefore, as is a watchful eye on the weather and the forecast. Furthermore, all routes described here are trad routes and are therefore protected with natural gear.
Many thanks to Ferrino and Montura for providing the equipment and happy and safe climbing!
|Bettembourg - Thivierge||TD+, 6b max|
|Contamine||TD+, 6a+ max.|
|Eau et gaz à toutes les étages||ED+, 7c max.|
|Elixier d’Astaroth||ED+, 7a+ max, A2|
|Empire State Building||ED+, 7c max|
|Gervasutti||TD+, 6a+ max|
|Indurain tiene dos huevos||ED, 7a max|
|Le Fou de l’Aiguille||ABO-, 7b max|
|Les Intouchables||ABO-, 7c+ max|
|Ligne Blanche||ED, 7a+ max|
|Rébuffat||TD+, 6A max.|
|Rébuffat||D+, 6a max|
|Salluard||TD-, 5+ max|
|Via degli Svizzeri||ED-, 7b max.|
|Voyage selon Gulliver||ED, 7a+ max|
Pic Adolphe Rey
Many routes wind their way up Pic Adolphe Rey, including three extremely famous classics: Salluard”, “Gervasutti” and “Bettembourg-Thivierge”. Easy access and favourable orientation (S and SE) render Pic Adolphe Rey and excellent “stepping stone” for some of the harder climbs in this region.
“The obelisk par excellance, the king of the satellites”. Every arête, every corner boasts elegant proportions, all lines converge to the sky...” What can be added to Giovanni Bassanini’s description, other than to fully recommend going there at once?
Trident du Tacul
This beautiful three-toothed outcrop demands perfect hand jamming and refined, technical climbing.
Solid grantite, predominantly cracks, small roofs and smooth slabs. The routes require natural protection. Allow plenty of time to get used to placing pro.
Mont Blanc climbing
In-situ gear obviously varies from one route to the next, but belays and in-situ runners tend to be good. Bring a full set of wires, RPs, Friends and a selection of TCU’s. Two 50m ropes and a helmet are essential.
Best time of year
The best time of year is summer, but climbing can begin as early as April.
Excellent French weather forecast: 0033 836 680205;
On the web:
Monte Bianco cable car
Valle d'Aosta weather
IGN TOP 1:25.000, in particular Nr.3531ET
From Italy: reach Courmayeur via the motorway A5 Torino-Aosta-Morgex. From Morgex continue along the SS26 to Courmayeur and then on to La Palud. Take the cable car from here to the Colle del Gigante and Rifugio Torino 3375m, an ideal base for all routes described in this article.
From France: reach Chamonix and take the Aiguile du Midi cable car to reach the Cormiques refuge. The walk-in from here takes about 1 hour more than from Rifugio Torino.