Mont Blanc du Tacul : Supercouloir

Mont Blanc du Tacul : Supercouloir

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Associated waypoints

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Map

  • 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

Licence

General

route_types: loop
activities:
durations: 1 day(s)
rock_types: granit
configuration: goulotte

quality: medium

Rating

ED-  
5c
  5  M6    IV    P2 

heights

elevation min/max : 3200 m / 4248 m

height_diff_up: 1000 m

height_diff_difficulties: 800 m

difficulties_height: 3450 m

slope: 85°

gear

glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear

orientations

E W S N

route_history

Climbed for the first time between 18 and 20 May 1975 by Jean Marc Boivin and Patrick Gabarrou.

description

Climbing Blanc du Tacul via Supercouloir is so a very serious undertaking, it requires a very good technical level and substantial experience in high mountains with this type of route. Supercouloir is one of the most beautiful routes of this type in the Mont Blanc massif. This ice gully separates Pilier Gervasutti (on the right) from Pilier des Trois Pointes (on the left). This corridor is very long, very narrow and very steep. There is not any snow or ice in the summer and there are numerous stone falls. So this gully needs to be climbed in ice conditions, generally at the end of winter or in spring.

Supercouloir
Supercouloir

Ascent

From Aiguille du Midi, descend the ridge completely to the E until the altitude of 3670m. From there, pass the bergschrund and go between the large Rognon and Pointe Lachenal. You reach the corrie of the ENE slope of Mont Blanc du Tacul between the central spur resulting from Mont Blanc du Tacul and Pyramide du Tacul. Go up the glacial scoop on the left of the central spur to the foot of Supercouloir (2h).

There are two possibilities to begin the climb of this ice gully: - Start directly plumb with the corridor by two beautiful pitches in mixed (5c/a1), often surmounted by a snow overhang that is passed on the left (1 piton in-situ). - Start via the two first pitches of Pilier Gervasutti (5a/5c). A traverse on the left via a snowy ramp makes it possible to reach the corridor.

From there, belays are located on the left bank, except the last (to the top out of the ice gully) which is on the right bank. Then climb the gully for around 500m. In the middle and at the end of this part, you encounter two steep pitches with long sequences at 85°. Climb the last pitch on the left. At this point, it is possible to rappel down and the real difficulties are finished. Nevertheless, an outing to the top is much more aesthetic.

Then follow the gully which flattens and widens. Continue pulling to the right to reach the foot of Tour Rouge. Go up easy rocks (sometimes difficult because of ice) until the notch above Tour Rouge. Pass a small notch via the right (NE slope) to reach the final ridge via an easy mixed section. You run into a crest where you go around several rocky gendarmes on the right. Scale the last one via the edge (30m/5b) or avoid it by a small rappel to reach the easy mixed terrain then the summit of Tacul. If you climb the gendarme, you reach the summit via a short snow slope. This climb takes 8 to 10 h.

Descent 2h30

If the slopes of the normal route of Mont Blanc du Tacul are covered with too much snow, it is advisable to only climb the ice gully part of Supercouloir, i.e. the first 600 meters. Then rappel down using the belays in-situ. Take pitons and cord to strengthen the belays which are often damaged by stone falls in the summer season. But Supercouloir would not bear this name without passing via the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul. From the summit, head towards the shoulder of 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.

remarks

The entire gully faces NE. So it gets the sun once it comes up. You need to take this into consideration when deciding when to start. The ice gully top out directly at the summit of Blanc du Tacul at 4248m. This route is carried out in winter conditions which can pose problems descending the normal Tacul route where there can be plates.

There are 200m of HD to reach the foot of the ice gully, 800m for the ice gully (steeper sections are at 85° for 2 pitches). To that add 250m to reach Aiguille du Midi, for a total of 1250m.

It is possible to do this route in a day, however, it is more advisable to start very early because of the orientation of the ice gully.

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

gear

Crampons, 2 technical ice axes, pitons, nuts and friends, slings, 2×50 m rappel bits.

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