Aiguille de Roc : Subtilités Dülfériennes

Aiguille de Roc : Subtilités Dülfériennes


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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: 2 day(s)
rock_types: granit
configuration: face

quality: fine


6b > 6a

    III    P3 


elevation min/max : 2550 m / 3406 m

height_diff_up: 700 m

height_diff_difficulties: 500 m

difficulties_height: 2900 m




Beautiful face, not very steep in the lower part but superb atmosphere higher up.

Approach 30min

From the hut, go up the true left bank of the glacier, passing in front of the Tour Verte. There are two obvious chimney corners, (in the shade in the morning). The start is at the foot of the one on the left. The bergshrund can present problems.

Route 8h

General line : The second belay, (after the 6a slab,) is next to a great flake which extends high up the face. The route « Tout va mal » uses the slabs just to the left of this flake. “Subtilités Dulfériennes", often close to « Tout va mal », takes the cracks to the left of the slabs of “Tout va mal”. After the corner of pitches 9 and 10, Subtilités Dulfériennes goes straight up above.

L1 : 5c, 40m : Take the chimney corner, (sometimes damp) rounded holds, but easily protected, 1 bolt in the pitch. Belay on exiting to the left on bolts (shared with "Tout va Mal").

L2 : 6a+,15m : Traverse a slab to the right (bolts, 6a) to gain a platform (Second belay also shared with "Tout va Mal", on bolts).

L3 : 4c, 48m : Go upwards for several metres, (also"tout va mal") passing a bolt. At the peg above, traverse a slab to the left, (descending to start with,) then traverse obliquely to the left, still on the compact slab. Belay with two pegs linked with bits of tat. (It is also possible to reach this belay by continuing up the initial chimney.)

L4 : 5b, 45m : Climb up above to a corner, the right side which is made up of little vertical flakes. After 8m in the corner, (2 pegs) exit to the right to traverse to the start of a superb banana shaped crack. Climb this for several metres until it is possible to take a belay.

L5 : 6a, 40m : Climb the rest of the crack then the double crack which follows, (technical), then some grassy ledges, passing a bolt on "Tout va Mal". Belay on two bolts.

L6 : 5c, 40m : By some cracks, to the left of the bolts of "tout va mal". Make a belay.

L7 : 5a, 45m : Gain some terraces on the left and climb up in the direction of a large chimney crack, belay on a large spike or higher up on a belay of "Tout va Mal". (On the right is a superb quartz vein which "Tout va Mal" follows.)

L8 : 5c, 40m : Climb the chimney crack.

L9 : 5c, 40m : Follow the cracks above, ( there is a choice of two cracks, the one on the right is within reach of the bolts of "Tout va Mal"). Continue to the foot of big and attractive corner.

NB : At this point there are some doubts about the grading of the pitches. There are in fact two corners. The one straight ahead is very steep and it is not clear how it could go at the Piola grade of 5c. The one on the left, also appealing, is partly used by the "Voie des Mousquetaires". The three pitches of this lefthand variation are described below as Lg1 to Lg3 and lead to level with the traverse described in L12 of the main description.
Variante des Mousquetaires :
Lg1 : 15m, 5b : Climb the first part of the corner using two cracks, belay on a large spike on a ledge.
Lg2 : 50m, 6a+ : Traverse to the left then layback the continuation of the corner, (1 peg at the start,)) until it ends under a steep section. One can see to the left in a gully/corner (= Voie des Mousquetaires) an old belay with slings, do not go there, (steep slab) Climb straight up to find a good peg with a metal ring, continue above for several metres, easily protected, until it is possible to traverse leftwards for 5m to gain the gully/corner of “Voie des Mousquetaires” and a good belay with two pegs.
Lg3 : 35m, 5c : Climb a large crack in the corner for about 8m (often damp) until one can traverse right then straight up (passing an old wire nut) before it is possible to traverse right again by a good flake for the hands which leads to a detached pillar forming a very good crack. Pass under this pillar and reach a ledge with a spike/flake and a crack to make a belay. (The slings visible below are at the top of pitch 12.) If one continues to traverse to the right one gains easily "tout va mal" which passes through a gap. If not climb straight up

L10 : 5c (or 6b?), 30m : Climb the corner
L11 : 5c (or harder?), 40m : Exit the corner then regain it with difficulty
L12 : 5c, 45m : traverse to the right then some difficult cracks
L13 : 5c, 30m : cracks, then traverse under a roof then flakes, magnificent.
L14 : 6b, 45m : beautiful corner exiting to the right then a difficult crack (hand jamming).
From there two obvious pitches up cracks (5c and 6a+) lead to the exit of the pillar Cordier, descent possible by the E face (Children of the Moon) or the SE ridge (abseils and down-climbing).

Descent 2h

From the belay at the top of pitch 13 one can descend by abseiling down "Tout va Mal".
See above for the descent from the top of pitch 15/16.


It is not a typical Piola route. There is very little protection in place (some pegs and slings), and you often have to set up your own belays.  
The base of the route gets the sun at 9h and the upper part keeps the sun until 17h.  In the event of a storm the lower part becomes a waterfall. 
The route is often close to "Tout va Mal", It is possible to combine the two, for example miss out pitches 5,6 and 7 by climbing "Tout va Mal", more difficult and sustained. 
A lot of people reckon the grades given by Piola are lower than the reality, (e.g. 5c becomes 6c).  Compared with other routes in the Envers area this route is undergraded.

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


A complete set of friends, (perhaps 2x Camalot No3 and the smaller sizes.)  A dozen friends in all.  
Complete set of wire nuts (10)
No need for pegs
2×50 m abseil rope is sufficient


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