Tour Rouge : Le Marchand de Sable

Tour Rouge : Le Marchand de Sable


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Associated waypoints

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  • Swisstopo - 46 - Val de Bagnes
  • Swisstopo - 292 - Courmayeur
  • IGN - 3531ET - St-Gervais les Bains - Massif du Mont Blanc
  • IGN - 3630OT - Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc
  • Escursionista - ESC01 - Monte Bianco, Courmayeur



route_types: return_same_way
durations: 1 day(s)
rock_types: granit

climbing_outdoor_type: multi

configuration: face

quality: great


6a+ > 6a

    II    P2 


elevation min/max : 2600 m / 2899 m

height_diff_up: 300 m

height_diff_difficulties: 280 m


glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear




A great route, ideal initiation to the local granite. The slabs, corners and crack are superb..
One of the great classics of the l'Envers des Aiguilles!


From the hut take the little ladders then climb up the right hand side (looking up) of a gully which descends from a gap. Descend from there onto the Trélaporte glacier, and climb back up keeping close to the cliff, (crevasses lower down) to arrive at the Tour Rouge.

Start at the lowest part of the face (normally, the glacier touches against the rock.)
The start is to the right of large corners and just to the left of two « horizontal corners » which form some little roofs.


Overall description
3 pitches (5b and 5c). The route avoids an obvious roof at half height on the left by taking the slabs with magnificent cracks (avoid going too far towards the ledges on the left.) 2 pitches (6a and 6a+)
Then exit towards the summit taking the easiest line, (keeping mostly to the right). 3 pitches (5c then 4c). Gain a gap on the north side of the face. From there a pitch traversing to the left (6a) reaches the summit ridge. Two long, easy pitches to the summit, which you then have to descend.

Detailed description

L1 6a Slab then a flake
L2 5b Traverse to the right under a little roof, then a corner to the left (perhaps 5c.)
L3 5c Superb corner to the left, belay in the corner. (The belay on the right is for the abseil.)
L4 5b Straight up the slab (can be avoided on the right by a corner, 5c)
L5 6a Corner on the right , then a leftwards traverse and a vertical crack, superb. Hanging belay
L6 6a+ A blind crack, very technical, traverse left then a slab move, short overhang and a corner. Belay under a roof.
L7 5c A slab to the right then a short corner to a belay on a terrace.
L8 5b Straight up a flake then easy corners.
L9 4b A corner leading to a gap with a view onto the start of the Grepon/ Mer de Glace.
L10 6a+ Superb slab with small holds to the left. 3 bolts, then a corner on the right. (Do not go to a point on the left, another route.) One difficult move on the slab.

From the top of pitch 10 one can continue to the summit by corners and a ridge (3/4c).


Abseil down the route (9 abseils).
You can avoid the hanging belay at the top of pitch 5 with a 50m abseil
Sometimes it is possible to make a 50m abseil directly onto the snow from the right hand belay point at the top of pitch 3.


• Gets the sun at 07.00am in July.
• Can be very hot between 12h et 15h. After 15h, the sun disappears.
• The bergshrund is normally easy.

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


• For the rock a set of friends and wires. 10 quickdraws .
• Crampons often handy (The Trélaporte glacier quickly becomes icy).


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