Aiguille du Moine : Face S - Voie normale

Aiguille du Moine : Face S - Voie normale

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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: 2 day(s)
configuration: face

quality: medium

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Rating

PD  
3c > 3c

    III    P2 

heights

elevation min/max : 2687 m / 3412 m

height_diff: +725 m / -725 m

height_diff_difficulties: 400 m

orientations

E W S N

description

Approach

From the Couvercle hut follow the path, (cairns,) to the Moine glacier. Go straight up the glacier to the highest point, (crampons useful, especially for the last 50m.)

Route

Climb a short pitch, (2), to a platform where the S ridge classic and the normal route separate. One can leave the crampons and ice axe here if there is no snow on the route.

Go up a chimney on the extreme right of the platform then traverse to the right to a commerative plaque, (3b), abseil point during the descent. Climb a second chimney, (3b)

Continue by an easy and cairned path. A little higher easy sections are interspersed with scrambling up to grade 2. At about 3050m, a path goes to the left and passes through a gap, (large cairn nearby,) to reach a gully. Make sure you go to the gully and do not follow a series of easy ledges, marked with cairns, which lead to the SE ridge and the Gendarme du But Héréditaire.

Having got into the gully, (the difficulty is finding the right place,) climb up the rocks, (well worn by climbers,) to the right of the gully, not difficult at first, then a typical Chamonix corner at a good 3c, which leads to a belay, (peg and sling) used for abseilling in descent. Follow a ledge leftwards, (cairn,) then climb another little corner, (also awkward,) to reach a platform above the gully.

Go up to the left of the gully then up the face, sometimes moving together. To finish there are several alternatives: get to the summit by the SE ridge, fairly strenuous, follow the SW ridge, as indicated in the guidebooks, or lastly up the S face, various lines possible.

Descent

Basically follow the ascent route, with abseils only necessary at the 3c corner and the chimneys at the foot of the route.

For those that do not want to follow their ascent route:
From the summit follow the SW ridge for a few metres only, then climb down a short chimney, which slants to the left. Take the easiest line as dictated by the terrain. In each case it is best to traverse the gully at the same place as during the ascension. A 50m abseil descends the 3c chimney and reaches the cairned path.
Another option is to go towards the pinnacle that is situated between the gully and the S ridge. At the pinnacle follow a series of easy ledges, (cairns,) straight down at first then diagonally to the left to cross the gully. (a slab to down climb or abseil, slings in place.) Cross the gully at the level of a large boulder, (which forms a shelter on the true left side of the gully.) Climb over a crest just below this boulder, two horizontal cracks, one for the hands the other for the feet. The rest of the descent is easier; follow the cairns and/or your instincts.

remarks

The main challenges are the length of the route, the route finding and being at ease down climbing.
Remember if you are too long on the route, especially the down climbing, you risk to miss the last train from Montenvers.

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

gear

50m rope, some nuts and friends.
Crampons and ice axe for the glacier, (not always necessary.)

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