Mont Blanc du Tacul : Ice Gully Gabarrou-Albinoni

Mont Blanc du Tacul : Ice Gully Gabarrou-Albinoni


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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: return_same_way
durations: 1 day(s)
rock_types: granit
configuration: goulotte

quality: great


TD   4+  M4    III  X2    P3 


elevation min/max : 3842 m / 4248 m

height_diff: +600 m / -3200 m

height_diff_difficulties: 500 m

difficulties_height: 3400 m

slope: 85°


glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear




Climbed for the time first on the night between 4 and 5 July 1974 by Jean Pierre Albinoni and Patrick Gabarrou.


Climbing Mont Blanc du Tacul via Goulotte Gabarrou-Albinoni already demands a certain technical level as well as a substantial high mountain experience in this type of route. This ice gully is located between Pilier Martinetti (on the right) and Pilier Cecchinel (on the left).

Approach 1h30

From Aiguille du Midi, descend the ridge completely to the E 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. Skirt the S face of Pointe Lachenal and head towards the base of the ice gully. It is located to the left of Pilier Martinetti (the one that descends the lowest on the E slope of Mont Blanc du Tacul).

Ice Gully Gabarrou-Albinoni.  General view.
Ice Gully Gabarrou-Albinoni. General view.

Route 4-6h

Pass the sometimes steep and open bergschrund. Then go up the snow slopes plumb with the ice gullies (300m at 55° with possibility of a steeper section at 70°).
Belays are located on the true right bank. Do not take the ice gully first on the right (it is the more difficult Goulotte Modica-Noury), but skirt Pilier Cecchinel for 100m until a widening dominated by a rocky wall, belays on the left (while climbing).
From this belay, continue the ice gully by traversing it to get to the true left bank. The latter section is steeper (85°) and may have less ice depending on the season and conditions, belays on the right or left.
Continue then either directly (risk of stone falls), or trending to the right, then by a runnel to reach the E ridge of Tacul.
From there, continue easily to the summit (4 to 6h).


From the summit, follow the "Voie Normale". Head towards the shoulder of Mont Blanc du Tacul and around 4080m, descend completely N then in the direction of the base of the triangle of Tacul by passing successively 2 bergschrunds which can be steep depending on the conditions or the season. From here it is easy to reach Col du Midi then to go back up to Aiguille du Midi (2h30).
It is also possible to return by abseilling in the gully at the top of the difficulties. Nevertheless, it is a shame not to top out to the summit.


The entire gully faces E, so it gets the sun from when it comes up. You need to take this into consideration when deciding when to start. At the altitude of 4000m, you arrive on the ridge which leads to the NNE facing summit. This route is generally carried out in winter conditions which can pose problems descending the normal Tacul route where there can be wind plates.

There are 200m of height gain to reach the foot of the gully, 500m for the gully itself, (the steepest section is at 85° for around 10m and is in the last third,) and 250m to reach the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul. To that, add 250m for the return to Aiguille du Midi, for a total of 1200m.

Even if the majority of the mountaineers do this route with the first cable car, it is preferable to start sooner because of its orientation.

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


Crampons, 2 technical ice axes, 6 to 8 ice screws, pitons, nuts and friends, slings, karabiners, helmet, 2×50 m rope, abseil tat.


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