- Min / max altitude:3817m / 4810m
- Elevation gain / loss:+1000m / -2587m
- Configuration:crest, ridge
- Main facing:W
- Route type:return trip / abseil down
- Duration:1 day
- Global rating:PD-
- Commitment grade:III
- Quality of in-place protection:P4 (no bolts)
There are several ways to get to the Tete Rousse hut.
1. The most popular is to take the Bellevue Telecabin from Les Houches and then the Tramway du Mont Blanc up to the Nid Aigle. From there follow the well used track on the left, up to under the Col des Rognes, (and the little shelter "Baraque forestiere des Rognes" 2768m). From here cross the boulder field going S to the ridge leading up to the true right bank of the Glacier du Tete Rousse, (another little shelter.) Cross the glacier to the Tete Rousse hut, or if going directly to the Goûter hut, traverse diagonally rightwards to reach the ridge on the true right bank of the Grand Couloir. (2h-3h from the Nid d'Aigle.)
2. More aesthetic is to avoid mechanical means and start either from Les Houches village, top of the Rue des Gens, (1100m), using the footpath to the Col du Mont Lachat 2077m, or from the parking at the end of the Bionnassay village (1400m) taking the track to the top of the Bellevue Lift, via the col du Voza and then the path along the Chamonix face of the Mt Lachat to the Col du Mont Lachat. From this col take the path to the Col des Rognes, recently renovated by the St Gervais guides, (superb setting), and so join the way up from the Nid d'Aigle. (5h-6h)
From the Tete Rousse hut 3187m, go up the snow slope to the ridge on the true right bank of the Grand Couloir and climb up slightly to the obvious crossing point, cable usually in place. Cross the couloir, serious danger of stonefall, especially in the afternoon or during a heat wave, and scramble the vague ridge line, well marked with cables, iron steps etc. higher up. This leads to the old Goûter hut. The new Goûter hut (opening 2013) is slightly lower to the right. Crampons advisable if conditions are snowy/icy. (2h30 -3h30).
From the Goûter Hut 3782m, go up steeply for about 20m to reach a snow ridge. Follow this ridge (15 minutes) to reach the W slopes of Dôme du Goûter.
Climb up and traverse underneath the summit of the Dome on the Grands Mulets side, (10 to 15 minutes extra to climb the summit). Go down about fifty meters in elevation and cross the saddle of Dôme du Goûter (circa 4200m).
In case of bad weather/visiblilty/no track, this section is difficult to navigate. A map and compasss is essential. A GPS, (backtrack function,) could be handy, especially for the return trip.
Climb up on the slopes to reach the Vallot emergency shelter at 4362m (2h00).
Then climb the successive bumps. The first bump is quite steep (35°) and sometimes crevassed. The third bump has a crest, which may be quite narrow, so you need to traverse below it, usually on the left (NE) side. Climb another two steeper sections and then finish up the ridge to the summit 4807m to 4810m. (2h00 from the Vallot shelter.)
Use the same route.
A high-mountain route. Attention to extreme weather conditions that may be encountered. Often, even when weather is nice, the summit may be subject to very strong winds.
In perfect conditions with a good track in place, the section from the Goûter hut to the summit can seem very easy. Something that can change remarkably quickly with a turn in the weather.
Make sure you are well acclimatized, are carrying spare warm clothing etc.
The Goûter hut had a reputation for being the worst hut in the Alps. Hopefully, the new hut (opening summer 2013,) will change that.
Starting from the Tete Rousse hut very early in the morning, (e.g, 01h30), means you avoid crossing the Grand Couloir in the afternoon and, being at lower altitude, can provide a better night's sleep. However, it means a longer day, (1620m height gain)
Camping is allowed near the Tete Rousse hut (toilets provided). Theorectically, it is forbidden to camp near the Gouter hut, as is planned overnighting in the Vallot emergency shelter.
Prior booking is essential for the huts in summer.
A very popular route!
Outings linked to the route on this page (100/124):
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