Aiguille de l'Éboulement : SW couloir and traverse

Aiguille de l'Éboulement : SW couloir and traverse

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Associated waypoints

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Map

  • Swisstopo - 46 - Val de Bagnes
  • Swisstopo - 282 - Martigny
  • Swisstopo - 292 - Courmayeur
  • Swisstopo - 1344 - Col de Balme
  • IGN - 3531ET - St-Gervais les Bains - Massif du Mont Blanc
  • IGN - 3630OT - Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc
  • Escursionista - ESC01 - Monte Bianco, Courmayeur

Licence

General

route_types: loop_hut, return_same_way
activities:
durations: 2 day(s)
rock_types: granit
configuration: corridor

quality: fine

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Rating

AD     II 
5.1 / E2
D+ / S5

heights

elevation min/max : 1800 m / 3599 m

height_diff_up: 1250 m

height_diff_difficulties: 500 m

difficulties_height: 3100 m

slope: 50°

gear

glacier_gear: glacier_crampons

Access

lift_access : yes

height_diff_access: 750 m

orientations

E W S N

description

Approach

Early in the season the best way is : From the Leschaux hut, descend onto the Leschaux glacier, and go up on the left, (true right bank). Keep always to the left to overcome a creavassed area at about 2600m then go up a branch of the glacier to the NE, keeping always to the left to avoid the crevasses. The gully is visible slightly to the left at 2900m.
Later in the season : the crevassed zone around 2600m is best overcome on the right. One then traverses back to the true right bank of the upper branch when possible (at about 2750 m).

Route

Overcome the bergschrund, (usually possible by the glaciated rocks on the right bank,) then climb the gully, 45-50° (500 m) until its highest point. From the ridge make a short traverse to the left to get onto the N face. A short passage of mixed climbing, easy but with unstable rocks, brings one to the summit.

Descent

The quickest descent is by the ascent gully if conditions are good. However, the traverse makes a more interesting outing. The descent by the NW is described below.

From the summit to the Pierre Joseph glacier

Gain to the N col de Pierre Joseph (obvious flat area). One starts to go down an easy angled slope to the west. It is very important to keep trending to the right, until the end of the difficulties. Do not go down the first gully, (close to the serac and very steep,) but continue to the right, passing a small pinnacle, to descend the second gully (sling at the top because the the start is steep and often mixed) for 50m. The gully turns slightly to the left and becomes less marked. The terrain also becomes more mixed, traverse to the right on a ledge, at first climbing up slightly to pass a vague crest, then descend to join a large gully which one follows to the left. Once the bergschrund is passed , one finds oneself on the upper plateau of the Pierre Joseph glacier, overlooked by the SW face of the Aiguille de Talèfre.

From the upper plateau of the Pierre Joseph glacier to its N branch

Descend a little then traverse under under a pinnacle (3435m) by a short snow band to gain the glacier bowl overlooked by the Aiguille de Pierre Joseph and the W face of the Petite Aiguille de Talèfre. N.B. depending on the state of the glacier, it is sometimes possible to descend directly, (without going into the N bowl.)

The descent of the true right bank of the glacier

Some metres of steepness, to the N, then down the snow slopes on the true right bank of the glacier. (N.B. it is possible to leave the glacier early by traversing to the right above a rock band.) At about 2750m, go to the right to cross the lateral moraine, (small cairn on the crest,) and join the hut path which goes along a gully (stream) to the right, before going back to the hut on the left (ladders and steps).

remarks

The descent route is complex and is as steep as the ascent gully. However, it is less sustained.

  • It takes steep gullies which are susceptible to snow and rock fall from the mixed slopes above once the sun reaches them.
  • This means the route should be done early in the season, with an early start, despite its northerly aspect.

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

gear

2 ice axes for comfort
Early in the season skis or snow shoes could be useful

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