/ Tournette Spur

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cb294 - on 07 May 2013
Bored at work, so thinking about summer holidays.

My current favourite would be the Tournette Spur on MB some time mid August (after 10 days or so of acclimatizing on easier stuff with the family).

Any advice appreciated (e.g. current recommendations for access to Sella hut, where to cross the Miage glacier, etc...).

Cheers,

CB
nbrowne - on 07 May 2013
In reply to cb294:

Had the same objective last summer when I was based for 3 weeks in Courmayeur. Headed up the Miage Glacier with Alek (crazy Russian) towards the Gonella Hut with the aim to cross over the glacier to the Quinto Sella. Walking up the Miage I saw a HUGE ice avalanche down the Mont Blanc Glacier. Aborted any attempt at getting to the Qunito Sella upon reaching the Gonella as it would take at least another 4 hours to reach it. Opted for the South Face of the Bosses (D) as Alek wanted to do a huge ice face. Crossing the glacier the next morning I was glad we opted against the approach to Quinto Sella as the crevasses was massive. Alek nearly fell into one twice trying to jump across them (that said he is a idiot and can't jump to save his life). Subsequently ended up soloing the South Face of the Bosses as there was not deep enough ice to place screws (that said, the steepest part was 70 degree ice for only 5-10m the rest being consistant 60 degree. Pumpy on the calves).

That side of Mt Blanc is really impressive - so secluded. Feels like you have the mountain to yourself... and then you top out on the Bosses ridge to see all the guided parties heading up the Gouter Route.

Assess when you get to the Gonella whether you will risk going to the Quinto Sella in one day. Maybe look to doing the approach in two days. The route looks brilliant - real good fun.

Make sure you acclimatise well - 10 days seems (IMO) quite short for attempting Mt Blanc. Then again, each to their own...

All the best - hope you get on it.

NB
cb294 - on 07 May 2013
In reply to nbrowne:

Thanks for the advice, that is exactly what I am looking for. 10 days should be fine, I cope with hight quite well, and can hopefully sneak in one or two extended weekends beforehand.

I will also have a look at the south face of the bosses, never heard of that route before but sounds interesting.

Cheers,

CB
Luca Signorelli - on 07 May 2013
In reply to cb294:

Hi CB, in snowy conditions, early season conditions the Quintino Sella hut can be accessed directly through the classic route, but the initial glacier slope has become very steep in the last few years. Best thing as usual is to ask in Courmayeur.

You will need a very good phisical form and a good acclimatization to do it properly. It's a very remote place by alpine standards, and while not terribly dangerous, it's still serious
Robert Durran - on 07 May 2013
In reply to nbrowne:
> (In reply to cb294)
> Opted for the South Face of the Bosses (D)....... Subsequently ended up soloing the South Face of the Bosses as there was not deep enough ice to place screws (that said, the steepest part was 70 degree ice for only 5-10m the rest being consistant 60 degree).

Is that the same as Les Bosses South-west Side (Route 65 in the AC guide)? It may not be (in which case where is it?), but if so it was nowhere near that steep when I did it as a cop out (feeling the altitude) from going on the Miage Face in '92. It was ok, but not nearly in the same class as the Tournette which I had done a couple of years earlier. The Tournette is really good, comparing quite favourably with routes on the Brenva Face. Incidentally, do people go on the Brenva Face much these days (not much chat about it) or is the approach too dangerous or something?
cb294 - on 08 May 2013
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

Thanks! I thought going earlier might be better, but school holidays are in August.

CB
nbrowne - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Not too sure, could be. We used the Snow, Mixed and Ice guidebook that year. If you are at the Gonella an are looking over to Mt Blanc, its on that face that faces towards the Hut at the far left hand side. Was quite bare with not particularly fantastic snow ice (was quite warm). The slight 70 degree from what I remember was getting over some protrusion ad only for about 5m.

I wouldn't advocate it as a route - to me it was a bit sh*t. Alek loves pure ice/snow ice climbs. I like to break up the monotony with a bit of rock interspersed - hence why I went to do the Tournette.

Not sure about the Brenva. The seracs on that face a huge. The description of some of the routes coming from the Fourche hut over to that part of Mt Blanc talks about running the gauntlet or else starting very early. Perhaps thats the reason.
Robert Durran - on 09 May 2013
In reply to nbrowne:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> Not sure about the Brenva. The seracs on that face a huge. The description of some of the routes coming from the Fourche hut over to that part of Mt Blanc talks about running the gauntlet or else starting very early. Perhaps thats the reason.

The Brenva Routes have obviously always had a serac risk, but I think the initial traverese from Col Moore was badly affected by a rockfall at some point after I last did it in '90 and became a bit of a no go area.

Simon4 - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: There was a monster rockfall sweeping quite a large area of the Brenva face, but it is probably at least 15 years ago now. I have the impression that the Brenva routes were always pretty hardcore - I firmly decided never to go back there after a storm-swept retreat back across the face some years ago.

Regarding the Tournette, we approached the bivi hut directly from the valley, not via the Gonella which looks very problematic both because of the ground you have to cross and the difficulty of finding your way on the traverse. Even on the direct route we found ourselves on some steep, loose, intimidating ground, but Luca's friend Matteo seemed to know a much better approach then. Luca, presumably Matteo would be a good person to ask before trying?
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Robert Durran - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) There was a monster rockfall sweeping quite a large area of the Brenva face, but it is probably at least 15 years ago now. I have the impression that the Brenva routes were always pretty hardcore - I firmly decided never to go back there after a storm-swept retreat back across the face some years ago.

Sounds scary..... Route Major, and to a lesser extent The Sentinelle Rouge were fairly standard (albeit serious) and relatively popular objectives in the eighties (The Pear is another matter!). Maybe they are just out of fashion now.

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