Aiguille Verte : Couloir Couturier

Aiguille Verte : Couloir Couturier

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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 - 3630OT - Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc

Licence

General

route_types: traverse
activities:
durations: 1 day(s)
rock_types: granit
configuration: corridor

quality: great

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Rating

D   2    IV    P4 
5.4 / E2
ED / S6

heights

elevation min/max : 2771 m / 4122 m

height_diff_up: 1350 m

route_length: 1.664 km

height_diff_difficulties: 950 m

difficulties_height: 3170 m

slope: 52°/850m (55°) + 45°/50m

gear

glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear

orientations

E W S N

route_history

First ascent: M.Couturier, A.Charlet and J.Simond on 1 July 1932 via the ice.

description

This involves a clear corridor behind the rocky side supporting the Cordier corridor. Access is fairly simple after the Grands Montets tram. It involves gliding along the foot of the Grands Montets ridge (45 min to 1h00 on foot from Grands Montets, be careful of the Cordier corridor seracs). Be careful, this course is very crevassed. You can also access it after Argentière refuge.

181364

Access to Argentière refuge

From Grands Montet summit (3233 m) descend on the Glacier des Rognons and descend the Rognons moraine (2754 m) towards the summit by taking the rocky Rognon to the 3000m via the right or left depending on the snow cover. Take the slope towards the right, to the south-east and you reach the glacier at an altitude of 2580m. Go back up glacier on its left bank, which is less crevassed, to an altitude 2650m where you traverse diagonally towards the right bank and the refuge, perched at the foot of the moraine under Aiguille d'Argentière. 1H30 from Grands Montets (be careful of glacial formations). Access in 3H30 from the Lognan intermediate station, difficult in summer, follow the track (summer is the same as winter) until the altitude 2338m, then skirt the glacier via its left bank. Traverse the moraine of the Rognons using the ladders then a trail to reach point 2580m on the level part of the glacier. Access is easier with snow in winter, skirt the moraine of the Rognons via the glacier. Access in 5H00 from Argentière by going up the Pierre à Ric track.

The Couturier Corridor From the bergschrund to the summit: 3 to 6 hours..

From Argentière refuge, go back up to the foot of the corridor and depending on snow cover, pass the rocky Rognon located below the corridor on the right or on left (1h30 to 2h00 from Agentière mountain refuge). Pass the bergschrund as best as you can, which can be very difficult some years, and start the 45/50° corridor. Two-thirds up it, it pulls to the right and thus leaves the routes of the north face of Grande Rocheuse on the left and right above the Bettembourg-Thivierge ice gully. The slope then becomes appreciably steeper (55°), while the corridor shifts towards the right (be careful for ice falls from rope parties in the Bettembourg) then again towards the final slopes (45°) that you go up steeply to the right until the summit ice cap. You arrive at Grande Rocheuse pass and at the summit of the Whymper corridor. Follow the ridge towards the right as far as the summit of Aiguille Verte.

Outing variants

It is possible to top out also on the right (easier) and directly to the summit (if snow conditions allow it).

Descent

Descent via the Whymper corridor

Route to be undertaken only if the snow and ice conditions are appropriate. From the summit return to the Grande Rocheuse pass and enter the Whymper corridor (600m, 50° max). Rappels are fitted on the left side of the corridor, check that they hold before using them! In a last quarter of the descent pull more to the left (directions of the descent) to reach a secondary corridor, which leads to the bergschrund. There is a rappel fitted on the left. Once on the Talèfre glacier (very crevassed) you reach Couvercle refuge by taking the right bank of the glacier and traversing under Aiguille du Moine. The conditions and technical situation dictate the time span. From 55 min to 7h00 according to a study by F.Labande for the Vallot guide.

Descent via the Moine ridge

This descent route should to be used when Whymper is too dry or in poor condition. The route, mixed and never difficult but long and unrelenting, starts directly under the summit in the direction of the Moine ridge, to the South. Do not take the more or less fitted out rappel line on Talèfre slope. Pass a pointed gendarme via the Talèfre slope, then stay on this slope, under the ridge until 3850 m. Descend a chimney corridor, 1 rappel on maillon, then to continue via slabs and snow bands. Traverse on the right until a small pass, but do not descend in the deep corridor, then a small second pass on the secondary ridge. Continue traversing on ledges towards the right (S). You then head in the direction of the bergschrund of Talèfre glacier, the slope gets steeper, pull to the left (possible rappels to get your footing on the glacier). Once on the Talèfre glacier (very crevassed) you reach Couvercle refuge by taking the right bank of the glacier and traversing under Aiguille du Moine. 4h00 to 6h00 from the summit to Couvercle refuge.

remarks

Be careful Aiguille Verte is a summit which is difficult to climb but also to descend. The simplest descent route is the Whymper corridor, but its orientation requires starting the descent before it gets to heated by the rising sun (facing east). So you need to leave very early in order to begin the descent before the first rays of the sun. Otherwise, you will have to descend by the Moine ridge or wait until it freezes again!

One of the main difficulties of this route is to remain vigilant during the 1000 m of the climb. Only start in the corridor if it is in good conditions, the presence of fresh ice transforms this elegant route quickly into a long and painful tour pulling pitches.

Splendid glacial corridor, one of the most beautiful ones for reaching the prestigious summit of the Verte.

Access:
Chamonix > Argentière. Park at the Grands Montets tram parking lot. Take the tram as far as the summit of Grands Montets. Tel: 04 50 54 00 71. For the descent, get information on the schedule of the Montenvers train. Tel: 04 50 53 12 54.

Accommodation:
Given the very early morning start, a night at the Argentière refuge (2771m) is preferable. Tel: 04 50 53 16 92.

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

gear

Technical ice axes, some ice screws. Snow flukes (deadman) may be very useful to make belays in bad snow. Some slings for fixing the Whymper rappels. In winter skis can be a nice way to finish the day by a descent via the ice sea. Snow safety kit: Arva, shovel and probe.

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