Aiguilles Crochues - Sommet S : Crochues traverse

Aiguilles Crochues - Sommet S : Crochues traverse

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Associated waypoints

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Map

  • Swisstopo - 46 - Val de Bagnes
  • Swisstopo - 282 - Martigny
  • Swisstopo - 1344 - Col de Balme
  • IGN - 3530ET - Samoëns/Haut-Giffre
  • IGN - 3630OT - Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc

Licence

General

route_types: traverse
activities:
durations: 1 day(s)
configuration: edge

quality: medium

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Rating

PD  
3c > 3c

    I    P3 

heights

elevation min/max : 2383 m / 2840 m

height_diff: +650 m / -1990 m

height_diff_difficulties: 200 m

orientations

E W S N

description

Wonderful ridge traverse with lots of fun interesting rock moves, great views of the Mont Blanc range, and straightforward access. It is one of the classics of the area, very popular in summer.

230839
215091

Approach 1 h

From the top of the Index chairlift (2385m) take the path at first down a little bit, then a rising traverse N along the base of steep rock (Aiguillette de la Floria) to the top of the Floria drag-lift. Continue rising traverse N at first under steep rock (lower slopes of E face of Grande Floria), then across an open slope (snow in early season). Down a little to get below the base of rocky rib (bottom of Pointe Gaspard) then climb steeper to start up into the wide gully/couloir along its N side (much snow in early season, often still some snow/ice later) which ascends (mostly 35-40 degrees, perhaps steeper in the last 20m) roughly W up to the Col des Crochues (2701m).

After going up a little in the gully/couloir, it may be safer (less time exposed to rockfall) to move R to its N side, toward the bottom anchor bolts of the climbing route "Lux", later back L into the gully.

Route

From the Col do not take the line of the ridge but make a traverse (slightly rising) along the NW side about 60-80m to an obvious chimney/dihedral (slanting a bit L). Climb this (about 30m, could be split into two pitches) to a terrace (3c/4a).
Ascend the easy rocks and ledges on the NW face, at first trending L, later perhaps R (to maximize enjoyment, or perhaps more L to save time) up to the narrow ridge/arete. Climb along the ridge (3a/3b) until reach a break (the second one?) with two anchor bolts. Descend the steep NW side by a rappel/abseil not more than 15m (or down-climb on positive holds 3a/3b). Soon after that, cross over to the SE side of the ridge. See a horizontal path along that side, but do not continue on that. Instead, after about 2m climb up the SE face to regain the narrow ridge/arete again.

Continue following the narrow ridge/arete (3a/3b) roughly NNE. A short wall and easy ledges on the NW side lead to the (highest) South summit of the Aiguilles Crochues (or this summit can be bypassed to save time). From here descend easily to a niche and climb the ridge to the middle summit. Descend to the NE and then back upwards easily to the North summit of the Aiguilles Crochues.

Descent

Several possibilities depending on conditions and desires:

  • (for those who prefer food and drink, and avoidance of steepness) Descend to the Refuge de Lac Blanc. Continue at most a short ways N down the ridge, soon turn E down a scree slope at first narrow, then opens wide (with some snow, more in early season). Can try to avoid so much on snow by trending more toward R (S side of slope) staying closer the ridge going ENE down from N summit of Aiguilles Crochues. Down roughly NE, then E, then SE to the Lac Blanc (2352m) and around its N shore to reach the Refuge. (Side Trip: after descending a short ways, could then traverse N and climb to the summit of the Aiguille Belvedere by normal route, then return to this descent route to Lac Blanc). From the Refuge, follow the signed path roughly S back to the top of the Flegere lift.
  • (for the shortest distance) Descend on the side facing Lac Blanc in the direction of the Tour des Crochues, which you keep on your right, to the top of a steep gully of loose rocks. Climb down this and the scree slope below to the path leading back to the Index chairlift.
  • (for additional interesting moves on a new narrow ridge/arete) Continue N along the ridge to the Col des Dards (3b/3c with much down-climbing) - (careful of more loose rock, because less frequently climbed), then down NE and E then SE to Lac Blanc and the Refuge).
  • (for additional interesting moves on the old narrow ridge/arete): Reverse the route, which might include a 20m rappel/abseil in the first chimney/dihedral.
  • (to avoid the upper snow slopes and small glacier) It is possible to descend (3b/3c with much down-climbing, loose rock) via the Col des Dards to the Lac Blanc.

remarks

  • Bolts or pitons are rather sparse. Most of the protection is either by the cleverness of the leader running the climbing rope around opposite sides of (the many) rock horns, or wrapping slings around rock horns.
  • Ideal for practicing basic alpine ropework (provided someone in the party understands how to do it).
  • Two ways to "play the game": (a) minimize time and effort by avoiding difficulties; or (b) make your moves as close as possible to the crest: maximize time of "balls over the razor".
  • This ridge is often done in reverse, especially by parties descending form the E Face or the Voie Ravanel

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

gear

  • 30-meter rope if doing the rappel (perhaps shorter if doing the down-climb)
  • ice axe at the beginning of the season
  • 2 quickdraws
  • some long slings to wrap around rock horns
  • rock climbing shoes not necessary

external_resources

Book: The Aiguilles Rouges 1 - Opposite Mont Blanc (English version), by Michel Piola - page 166 - see also page 132 for helpful diagram of the Approach.
book: Escalade Plaisir: Alpes Françaises du Nord, by Hervé Galley (www.Olizane.ch 2005) - page 40.

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