- Min / max altitude:2310m / 3842m
- Elevation gain / loss:+1530m
- Difficulties lenght:1000m
- Main facing:N
- Route type:traverse
- Duration:1 day
- Global rating:AD+
- Commitment grade:III
- Quality of in-place protection:not filled in
A classic route in spring, fast and sure, without major difficulties. Perhaps you will witness an "extreme" ski descent. Clearly visible from the SW end of Chamonix.
From the intermediate station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car, go up the moraine under Aiguille du Peigne in the direction of the Plateau des Pélerins and skirt entirely the base of the north face of Aiguille du Midi. The route starts just before the lowest rocky spur, behind Eperon Seigneur. Go up the avalanche cone until the bergschrund.
100 m above the bergschrund go up a snow slope on the right (60°). You run into a short rocky sequence. Surmount it traversing up towards the left (UK-4a /US-5.5, 10 m). You emerge on a broad snow slope which traverses towards the left. Go up it and at its left end go up the steep throat behind a broad rocky spur (60°, ice, 30m). A small snow slope leads to a beautiful snow ridge. First follow it vertically, then diagonally on the left until reaching the ridge leading to the ice cave of the upper cable car station. Be careful of the stability of the snow on this last slope it is often weighted or blown. .
One of the characteristics of this route is the descent, if you keep to the schedule, if the weather does not deteriorate too much, if the wind does not blow too strong it will be done by tram. Should you undergo one of the unpleasant surprises quoted above, there are 3 solutions: 1 Spend a night at the Cosmiques refuge. Descend the snow ridge then the snow slopes towards the south. Once at Col du Midi traverse under Arête des Cosmiques and go up a snow slope on the right (west) to easily reach the refuge. 3613 m, 30 minutes from the ice cave of the pinnacle. Telephone: 04 50 54 40 16. 2 - Spend a bad night in the corridors of the top station, (in theory prohibited, but tolerated in the event of force majeure). 3- Descend via Vallée Blanche and the Mer de Glace; long, long, long... and crevassed!
The face does not get the sun in winter. The top out slopes are often windy, be careful of accumulations and windy areas.
The top out is all the same at 3800 m, so you need a minimum acclimatization and appropriate protection in addition to your technical background.
The ambiance of this face is superb, it dominates Chamonix and all the valley. Smile, the cable car passes just to the side, someone will certainly take your photo!
This route can be done in a day. However, it is possible to spend the night at Plan de l'Aiguille refuge (2203 m) visible 100 m under Plan de l'Aiguille (10 minutes). Telephone: 04 50 53 55 60. Closed in winter, the winter refuge has spartan comforts (blankets). Make sure you take a stove.
Classic gully route equipment + some nuts, pitons and rings, snow safety kit: Beeper, shovel and probe.
Neige, glace et mixte... By F.Damilano and G.Perroux
First ascent: G.L.Mallory and H.E.L.Porter 5 August 1919.
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