Pointes Lachenal : Contamine route

Pointes Lachenal : Contamine 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 - 3630OT - Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc
  • Escursionista - ESC01 - Monte Bianco, Courmayeur



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

quality: great

Download track as


6a+ > 5c

  A1    II    P2+ 


elevation_max: 3613 m

height_diff_up: 500 m

height_diff_difficulties: 250 m

difficulties_height: 3350 m


glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear


lift_access : yes




It was opened by André Contamine, Pierre Labrunie and Robert Wohlschlag on 30 August 1959.


Pointe Lachenal takes its name from Louis Lachenal, the great French guide. He was first to climb an 8000m peak. He died falling into a crevasse at the foot of this summit. Pointe Lachenal has several routes. The Contamine route was the first route opened on this face.


Approach 1h

From Aiguille du Midi, descend the E ridge until the altitude of 3670m. From there, pass the bergschrund and cross the Col du Midi plateau to go between the Grand Rognon and Pointe Lachenal. Descend slightly on Géant glacier and then turn to the right to reach the foot of the SE spur where the Contamine route is located.

Route 4h

Start on the right of a dihedral, via a small crack which leaves directly from the glacier (UK-5a /US-5.8). Climb a slab on the left (UK-4a /US-5.5) to reach a broad crack that you climb until a large ledge (UK-5a /US-5.8). Then climb a small dihedral (UK-5a /US-5.8) to reach a quartz ledge. On the right, a 40m crack in UK-5a /US-5.8 leads to the ridge. Halfway up this pitch, there is a variant via another crack on the left, then on the right, which leads to the same belay, (same difficulty). Stay on the edge of the ridge during one pitch in F4c. You then reach a large ledge on the right of a 50m high slab wall. Traverse to the left (F5c) to reach a crack and use this to climb the wall (2 pitches in UK-5c /US-5.10c or A1, pitons in-situ). Continue near the ridge via 2 pitches in UK-4a /US-5.5. Climb onto the ridge (UK-4a /US-5.5) and follow this to the summit of the route by easier rocks.


There are two possibilities: -
Either rappel down the face, not necessarily via the Contamine route. There are many routes with more or less good belays. Choosing this descent has the advantage that you can leave your bags etc at the foot of the route and climb "light".
Or from the summit, descend via a short steep slope to the N (often in ice at the end of the season). From there it is easy to reach Aiguille du Midi.


The route faces mostly SE and you get the sun during the entire climb.

Downhill only, to get to the foot of the route. 250m of climbing and 250m for the return to Aiguille du Midi. The main difficulties are concentrated in 2 pitches (50m total), for a rating of UK-5c /US-5.10c.
This climb is easily done in a day. It is possible to do this route even if it is cool because it faces SE

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


Crampons and ice axe for the approach, 2×50 m rope, helmet, 1 set of friends and 1 set of nuts, 10 quickdraws, slings.


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