L'Évêque : Normal route from the Couvercle hut

L'Évêque : Normal route from the Couvercle hut


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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)

quality: medium


5c > 5b

    II    P2 


elevation min/max : 2687 m / 3469 m

height_diff_up: 800 m

height_diff_difficulties: 160 m


glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear




Glacier approach, snow couloir at 45-50°, nice crack climbing and a superb location makes for a great outing.


From the Couvercle hut, folllow the foot of the Ecclésiastiques ridge, (on snow,) until just under the gap between the Nonne and the Evêque, (3306m). Pass the bergshrund and climb up to the gap, either by the couloir if the snow is OK, or by the rocks on the true right bank, (loose rocks near the top.)


Identify the chimney above the gap. It is on the S face and ends at a little gap in the SSE ridge of the Evêque. Get to this chimney, firstly by a descending traverse to the left then traversing back upwards to the right.
The difficulties start from a good ledge, belay with nuts/friends.
Climb the chimney until the little gap, (see details below) : About four pitches, with a passage at 5c, some pegs, and quite a few belay points with in-situ gear, (use those on the true right bank, more sheltered from falling stones or ice.)
After the little gap continue more easily, mainly on the face between the two ridges, by the chimney cracks near the SW ridge.
The last 10 metres are exposed, (view towards the Charpoua.) The top here, W pinnacle, (climbed on the left) is not the highest point It is about a metre lower than the true summit, (E pinnacle,) This, however is rarely climbed because it is technically difficult (5c/6a, exposed for 5m.)

Chimney in detail
Set up a belay on the good ledge.
L1 (40 m) Leads to the first belay on pegs in a large crack at the foot of a little chimney. The first part of this pitch is a little delicate, (4c) the rest is easier.
L2 (40 m) Leads to the second belay on pegs at a terrace to the left of the chimney. The first moves are delicate in a little chimney, (3c/4a ?) or bypassed on the left (4c), the rest is easier (3b).
L3 (20 m) : The crux pitch. Do not be tempted to climb directly above the belay, but go to the right into the depths of the chimney. Climb up for about 8m (5c, 2 pegs, easy to protect with friends) then go obliquely right to the third belay, on a good terrace.
L4 : Traverse to the left and reach some ledges at the level of the little gap, which you pass through, (belay on a spike.)


In five abseils, from bolted points:
First two abseils (45-50 m) get you to the second belay at the foot of the crux pitch.
Three more abseils (40-45 m, the last being the shortest) get you back to the Nonne-Evêque gap.

Descend the couloir either in the middle on snow or on the true right bank. For this two abseils could prove useful.
First abseil, (in-situ gear,) of 45m from just below the gap, leads to a faint, cairned path on the true right bank of the couloir.
Second abseil, (again in-situ gear,) of 20m down the rocks on the true right bank allows one to cross the bergshund.


  • The chimney does not get the sun until late. Can be cold, humid, (or even verglaced.)
  • The couloir below the Nonne-Evêque gap, on the contrary, gets the sun early, careful to avoid a late descent.
  • It is also possible to do this route from the Charpoua hut, by gaining the Nonne-Evêque gap from the N. This increases the overall height gain but not the difficulty.

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


Abseil rope 2×50 m


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