Aiguille du Plan : Arête Ryan

Aiguille du Plan : Arête Ryan


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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: traverse
durations: 2 day(s)
rock_types: granit
configuration: edge

quality: medium


4c > 4c

    III    P3 


elevation min/max : 2523 m / 3673 m

height_diff_up: 1150 m

height_diff_difficulties: 550 m

difficulties_height: 3150 m


glacier_gear: glacier_crampons


lift_access : yes

height_diff_access: 630 m




A grand classic, which sadly now has an awkward approach/start due to the dry conditions in recent years and so has become much less popular.

Approach 1.5 -2h

From the Envers Hut go S over scree to the N branch of the Envers de Blatiere glacier. Cross this going first below the SE ridge of the Pointes des Nantillons then the long SE ridge of the Blaitiere heading from the Dent de Requin. Reach the much bigger S branch of the glacier and walk up it, crossing one or two large crevasses/bergschrunds, (can be very awkward), until below the E ridge and alongside the N face of the Pain de Sucre.


Cross the bergshrund, this can be very variable and is usually easiest very early in the season. After the bergschrund, it is easiest to climb the Pain de Sucre gully for a pitch before gaining the rock. There is, however, a serious risk of stonefall and it is best to do this before sunrise. This leads easily to a traverse ledge, identifiable by a detached flake of rock. This ledge marks where the angle of the ridge steepens, (bivvy sites on the L). Follow a second ledge rightwards to where it narrows into a corner (3b) and leads to the Plan-Crocodile Gully. Climb this quickly for several pitches on rotten rock (unpleasant and exposed to rockfall) to a shoulder. Do not try and leave the gully too early (e.g at a piton on the left).
The good climbing starts from this shoulder and route finding becomes easier. Follow the crest to the first step and climb it by 2 cracks (4b) to a deep chimney (4b). Now follow the crest directly climbing a series of cracks and chimneys, one of which, a slanting corner, is the famous Grand Mere crack (4c). A little before the final step, avoid a vertical Y shaped crack by the overhanging crest of the ridge on the L (4b). The step above is climbed entirely on the L side. Climb a crack (4c) to a ledge that slopes down to the R, then take a chimney that leads up to a ridge. In the upper section of this chimney move L (4c) to easier ground and follow it for three pitches to a Y shaped crack in the upper part of the step. Reach this by a chimney system on the L with two jammed blocks (4c). Take the L branch of the Y (4c) and follow easy ground to the summit (550m, 8-10h from the hut.)

Descent 2h

The easiest option is to descend to the Requin Hut by Envers du Plan glacier. It is also possible to follow the Midi–Plan ridge to the Aig du Midi cable car. (Allow 3-4 hours)


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


Crampons, ice axe, ice screws, nuts and friends.


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