Aiguille du Peigne - Face SW du gendarme rouge 3078 m : Contamine Vaucher Route

Aiguille du Peigne - Face SW du gendarme rouge 3078 m : Contamine Vaucher Route


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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 - 3530ET - Samoëns/Haut-Giffre
  • IGN - 3630OT - Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc



route_types: return_same_way, loop_hut
durations: 1 day(s), 2 day(s)
rock_types: granit
configuration: face

quality: great


6a > 5c

    III    P3 


elevation min/max : 2300 m / 3078 m

height_diff_up: 800 m

height_diff_difficulties: 400 m


glacier_gear: crampons_req


lift_access : yes




Classic route on excellent granite. Easier angled lower down, more sustained near the top.

Contamine Vaucher
Contamine Vaucher

Approach 1h

From the Plan de l'Aiguille, take the path towards Papillons Ridge and go along the moraine on the true right bank of the Pélerins glacier. Continue up until the foot of the little glacier/ snow patch of the Peigne. Go up to the top of this, (no crevasses, 35-40°), aiming for the left of the face and the foot of the Boeuf gully. The route starts up some runnels 10m to the right of this gully and to the left of an obvious overhang.

Route 4 to 7h

Care is needed to follow the right line as two modern routes have been put up nearby.
The first few pitches are not sustained and provide a pleasant warm-up.
P1 - P2 4b/4c Runnels slightly to the left.
P3 2 15m traverse, walking.
P4 - P7 5b max Go up the corners separated by ledges, mainly to the left, to reach the foot of a huge, obvious boulder.
P8 - P9 5b/5c Steep climbing to reach the foot of a large blade of rock then a chimney and so to a good ledge.
P10 4c Continue leftwards, (cracks) for 25m and then traverse to the right to reach a good ledge.
P11 6a Climb a crack to the right then traverse to the right, (avoid going too high) until a good ledge, pegs.
P12 - P14 5b Climb up the obvious line of weakness, (small flakes, cracks.)
P15 5b You are now near to the top of the Tour Rouge. Aim for the gap to the left of the Gendarme 3078, firstly by traversing to the right then up a slab.
You reach the gap (3043m) by following the ridge to the left, (ledge) then easy downclimbing (2).

Some route finding clues :
Pitch 3 is 30m of grade 2. The traverse is 15m and is walking.
50m after climbing the blade of rock, traverse to the right
The blade of rock is an awkward 5c with a rucsac, but can be protected.

From the top of the Gendarme 3078 to the Summit of the Peigne:
By going on to the summit of the Peigne you add 150m of superb climbing.
Go up the W ridge until a sandy gap, by finishing up a wide crack, (4b).
Classic finish
Re-descend slightly and aim for a white, quartz ledge visible from the 3043m gap, (on the side towards the Col du Peigne) (3).
Follow the ledge and go up corners/cracks to the left to reach the summit ridge, (4c)
Follow the exposed ridge, (with a difficult down-climb, abseil possible,) to the summit.
Lépiney Crack finish
Climb to the right of the ridge by a crack system which leads to the crest of the ridge. (Belay on 3 pegs, 2 of which are bad!)
From here the choice is:
Either, traverse horizontally to the right for 30m (belay) then go straight up easy cracks to reach the crest of the ridge.
Or, Climb directly up the crest of the ridge.
From the broad ridge, you can clearly see the (double) Lepiney crack. Climb it, (large peg and a wire) and take a intermediate stance at a bolt (5c/6a).
Continue by traversing to the left for 10m then straight up using thin cracks 5c/6a, to reach the summit.


From the top of Gendarme 3078m
12 abseils down one of the modern routes, (keeping to the left, looking down, of the Contamine,) brings you back to the bergschrund. (This is preferable to going down the "Maillon Manquant" as recommended by Piola because you can leave your snow/ice gear etc here.)
From the summit to the 3043m gap
Follow the description for the normal route
N.B. if you drop too low, i.e. below the level of the Lépiney crack, (because you made the wrong abseil) it is possible to make a further 3 abseils, but you reach a point a little below the gap.
From the 3043m gap
You descend via the Papillons gully. Follow the description for the normal route.


Preferably climbed on a warm day because the sun does not reach the route before noon.
The route is less popular than it used to be 10 years ago; very little in-situ gear except at certain cruxes and the belays.
Bivouac possible at the Plan de l'Aiguille.

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


Crampons, ice-axe for the approach
A set of nuts and some friends


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