Aiguille du Chardonnet : Forbes ridge

Aiguille du Chardonnet : Forbes ridge


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Associated waypoints

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  • Swisstopo - 46 - Val de Bagnes
  • Swisstopo - 282 - Martigny
  • Swisstopo - 1344 - Col de Balme
  • IGN - 3630OT - Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc



route_types: loop
durations: 1 day(s)
configuration: edge

quality: great

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    III    P3 


elevation min/max : 2702 m / 3824 m

height_diff: +1285 m / -2360 m

route_length: 12.335 km

slope: 50°


glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear




Paul Sisley with guides Maurice and Joseph Crettex, 10 august 1899.


A great classic, not too difficult but long enough and should not be underestimated. Popular on good weather weekends.

Approach 1h30-2h

From the Albert 1er hut, follow the route towards the Col du Tour, the same thing from the Cabane du Trient (checking first that the Col de Tour is passable, otherwise make a little detour by the Col Supérieure de Tour). Then, just under the col, traverse the La Tour glacier, at the part before it steepens, towards the Aiguille Forbes, (passing near a rock island, 3238m).

Forbes ridge
Forbes ridge

Route 6-7h

Up to the ridge 1h30-2h

Climb up in the direction of the Aiguille Forbes by a NW facing, broad gully, on the right, (some crevasses, seracs on the true left bank of the gully.) This leads to a flat area at the foot of the "Bosse" : A steep glacier mound (between 45° and 55°, depending on the people and the guidebooks….) Climb the "Bosse" and gain the E ridge of the at about 3700m

The ridge 4-5h

Start the ridge between a pointed pinnacle and a large, elongated pinnacle. The route then follows, more or less, the crest of the ridge. The difficulties are mostly turned to the N (the S side being mostly loose.) The difficult sections (max 3b) have in-situ pegs/slings.

Descent 2-3h

From the summit, climb down the narrow W ridge to a rocky saddle. To the right is a nice snow gully which you descend, staying mostly on the right, (max 45º, do not go into the large gully on the left, which is steep and overhangs the Argentiere side.) Descend the snow slopes obliquely rightwards to come back towards the Tour bowl at a rocky/snowy saddle.

There are two choices:
1. Follow the rocky saddle towards the Aiguille Adams Reilly by keeping slightly to the right. At the bottom of the saddle a short, steeper section leads to the start of the abseils (20m). The first abseil is on the right bank of an enclosed gully. The second abseil is on the left side of the exit of the gully, (descend this second abseiltrending to the right.)
You gain a snow slope which leads to a snowy saddle between the Chardonnet and the Aiguille Adams Reilly. Follow the shoulder glacier, (initially on the left.)
2. From the rocky saddle go obliquely to the right on a rocky/snowy slope. At the foot of the slope, a ledge (cairn) leads horizontally leftwards to a little suspended snowfield. Cross this snowfield, keeping slightly to the left, to find the first abseil point, (two pegs, slings). One abseil of 50m, (steep start) brings one to an enclosed gully. Another abseil of 50m (slings on the right bank) brings one to a large block/pillar on the right bank, where there is a steep snow slope under the snowy saddle between the Chardonnet and the Aiguille Adams Reilly. Descend the slope keeping to the rocks on the right, (bergschrund crossed on the right, flake belays, sling in place if one chooses to abseil.)

After the bergschrund the two descent routes rejoin. Descend towards the Tour glacier, (beware; lots of large crevasses.) Depending on the state of the glacier, either cross it directly towards the Albert 1er hut, or gain the foot of the Col du Passon and cross the glacier lower down where there are fewer crevasses.


Faces E, so an early start is advisable. Also the descent should not be undertaken too late, due to risk of stonefall.

Sensitive areas
There are sensitive areas on this route. Please refer to the map.


  • Two ice axes if the "Bosse" is bare ice
  • Lots of slings for the ridge (perhaps nuts/friends)


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