In reply to golgappas: It depends on the condition of the Glaciers. If you do solo it start from the Cosmiques and that way things could be well frozen until you reach the summit. The return to the Gouter is relatively trouble free. It is a more realistic proposition to solo via the Gouter route.
I've soloed that in reverse (I went up the Gouter route, then down to the Aiguille du Midi) and the most troublesome section was the descent from the Col du Maudit: it was sheet ice, and I didn't have a rope. This was late season.
If you're a confident alpinist, then there are no particular problems (modulo the weather of course.) But only you can make that judgement.
I've soloed in in late august 2009. It is however a potentially very crevassed route, so I would recommend doing it only late in the season (especially in heavy snow years like this one), when all snow bridges have collapsed and crevasses are obvious.
For earlier in the season, it is a much better option to solo the Gouter, as crevasse risk is fairly limited.
In reply to stuart58: They are not stopping so much as informing people about risks and enforcing wild camping laws. They might try to convince an obviously unprepared solo climber from going but can't stop him from going if he's decided to do it.
In reply to golgappas: Both times I've done this tour I've never roped up, but neither was in the last 10 years, and things change - Jon - where was that shot taken as I don't recall anything like that en route
> (...) and things change - Jon - where was that shot taken as I don't recall anything like that en route
Ha, think you answered yourself there! It was about halfway down Tacul. As with all faces of this type it changes dramatically from year to year. Month to month sometimes... As I said, it's not unusual for it to look like that.
Yes, i've heard about the policing this year but can't imagine them stopping a solo climb ( or would they round up all the soloist and rope them together !!! )... i see the Gouter hut is fully book up now until August so need to find a partner in Chamonix for this route for July
I soloed the three Monts route and descended the Gouter a few years back around mid June. The glacier was well tracked out and snow bridges seemed pretty stable but you never really know..! The ascent up Mont Maudit was perfect Neve. Maybe it wont be quite as easy later in the season but there are fixed ropes if you want to use them.
On the way up I met 4 people and had a really nice remote feel to things, on the way down the Gouter hundreds. Traversing the mountain is a nice way to do it. However, I felt a little at risk passing some parties who were in rag on the way down and also crossing the Great Coulouir was dangerous-pot luck whether you get hit-I didnt like that bit. In retrospect, rather, than descending the same day, I shouldve stayed at the Gouter and crossed the Great Coulouir very early morning.
Maybe best speak to the Office d'Haute Montaigne in Cham about conditions when your out there. Can't recommend soloing on a Glacier to anyone but can say it was a fantastic trip in the mountains for me..
Thanks for the post... i'm very keen to do this route so will check out the office for advice and even a partner
Staying at the Gouter hut seem impossible for July as they are now stressing there are no places for the un-invited
The abri-simmond bivvy hut below the cosmiques used to be an option but im not sure whether its still there?. I got one of the last lifts up, bivvied there for a few hours then headed off. Still leaves the problem of staying at the Gouter over the other end though. If your staying at one of the major campsites it may well be possible to hook up with some folk. Camping mer de Glace is excellent. The three Monts route can be very avalanche prone under certain conditions, the guides office will have a good idea and are great for giving advice on safer alternatives if Mt Blanc is out completely.
> 2) Are there any bivvy hut options in the Argentier basin around the same time or is it just the Argentier hut (winter room with guardian/meals?)
In reply to jon: for argentiere basin that time of year the best bet is to bivi in the gm top station(if you don't want to pay for the hut). If you are very nice to the lifties they might even let you have a bed
> (In reply to Withnail)
> In reply to jon: for argentiere basin that time of year the best bet is to bivi in the gm top station(if you don't want to pay for the hut). If you are very nice to the lifties they might even let you have a bed
thanks for the info- stingy Scotsman always looking to save a few pennies
I spent many a year soloing around MB your hardly ever on your own. You could solo MB via the 3M's you do spend a lot of time above 4000mtrs do your home work and just stick close to the guys in front.
In reply to BigHell: that's true but you are still not on a rope. Sometimes this is fine, with a good track and hard consolidated snow, I have done it a few times and felt comfortable without a rope but in some conditions depending on the year and snow conditions it would be pretty risky without one.
One spring we went up that way putting a track in and one of the groupe was moving slowly , they wanted to come come off the rope so as not to hold every one up, I thought it was a really bad idea given the conditions and carried their bag so they could move faster. So it really depends on the conditions and the level of risk you are happy to accept. I always think with soloing if you have to ask others if its OK you probably shouldn't be doing it, it's a decision you should make for yourself.
Yeah I totally agree I have been up and down the Midi snow ridge loads of times and only roped up once and that was the first time.The reason for my solo antics was that I alway seemed to struggle finding a partner. As a result of this I became more comfortable as each summer passed by,to the point that I shunned the opportunity to actually climb with others. I always had a goal,planning each trip down to the last detail and never taking any chances with the weather. I ran away on more than one occasion. My advice to anyone not familiar with MB would be to go with a guide or an experienced group. Shit can and always will happen so take care. My last trip there was two years ago, I got really fit! Running, climbing, tennis,fell walking, the idea being that having spent years exploring MB (remember I climbed it on my first ever visit ) I would put all that experience together and go and solo the bugger. The plan was to do it over three days. What happened ? I went and broke my foot nineteen days before the trip, I Still struggle to laugh about this ..lol !!!!! I spent the whole two weeks there propping up the bar at The Monkey ....Shit happens !
> You could solo MB via the 3M's........just stick close to the guys in front.
By all means go solo, but to make complete strangers part of your game plan in case shit happens is totally irresponsible. Yes, any decent mountaineer would assist another mountaineer in trouble, but to factor the possibility of taking advantage of this decency into your planning is outrageous.
> (In reply to BigHell)
> By all means go solo, but to make complete strangers part of your game plan in case shit happens is totally irresponsible. Yes, any decent mountaineer would assist another mountaineer in trouble, but to factor the possibility of taking advantage of this decency into your planning is outrageous.
Once again I totally agree but as I think I have said before on MB you are rarely never truly alone!
> (In reply to BigHell)
> So you've never done it, but you're happy to advise others to do it, and the best reason you've got for it is 'why not'....? Seriously?
When I climbed MB in 2003 I had to have a word with a chapie from Manchester, this guy was tail gateing our rope of 3. He was following us! He almost struck my right foot with his axe,I was not pleased !
Now I dont think I said I would happily advise others to solo MB just that many do,I know on my last trip there this was my plan but shortly before the trip I broke a bone in my foot. Anyway shit happens!!! I was told today I have to have another operation,this time to my left knee. Apperantly along with a rip in the meidial miniscus the knee has developed a hole in the back of the knee cap. It dont look good !
Then perhaps "do your home work and just stick close to the guys in front" was not the best thing to write...
posted a similar request back in April asking if anyone wanted to share a rope up this route approx 14th - 17th July but no real response so can anyone comment on going solo
Given the OP'S original question. See above! Doing your home work and sticking close to the guy's in front seems resonable advice. Taken into consideration with the other comments argumented within this thread one may assume the OP will go and get himself a guide. Now f*ck off you irratable young pleb !
Some people don't know when to stop being irritating, Big.
My first ski tour ever was the Haute Route in 1979. We knew nothing. We had huge rucsacs, full of stuff we didn't need - sleeping bag, stove, pots and pans... and none of the stuff we did need - water bottle etc, but worst of all, no map! True we did have a copy of Eric Robert's Haute Route guidebook, but that's all. To my shame we tucked in behind a German guided group and followed blindly. At the end of the second day as we arrived at the Trient hut, one of the two German guides came up to us and said 'I don't mind you following - but don't make it so bloody obvious!' Having now worked as a guide for the last 25 years I've lost count of the people that have followed me and my clients. It's a bit annoying sometimes - especially when someone comes up and berates me when they realise I wasn't going where they wanted to go! But usually I just smile to myself and remember my first Haute Route!
In reply to golgappas: On a very similar note, I've been considering the descent route from Mont Blanc du Tacul and the normal route has some real horror stories about it.
I was considering heading towards the top of the Triangle and then heading down the northwest slope, joining the normal route, hence reducing the amount of time spent on the ordinary route around all the seracs.
Anybody got any opinions? I've got a funny feeling it may even be quicker!
Some people don't know when to stop being irritating, Big.
> My first ski tour ever was the Haute Route in 1979. We knew nothing. We had huge rucsacs, full of stuff we didn't need.
Brilliant ! Brings back so so many memories,I can remember down climbing the far lower left face of Mont du Tacul one morning,cutting steps I was up to my usual solo antics. As I was walking away heading back to the Midi, towards me came a French guide with his two clients, "Have cut your steps for you" I said, pointing back and smiling. He,the guide gave me such a dirty look!
They can be seen on this video, walking up to my obvious route down. A very happy crew ..lol!!! Around 1min 35seconds into the video .
> (In reply to BigHell) This is my point, its hard to descend earlier in the day, after doing a route up the tacul in the morning!
Sorry, Yes I know it is a problem,from my observations climbers do descend the normal route of Tacul throughout the day.My reason for posting the Maudit Avalanche was to highlight that even at such an early hour things can and do go wrong. A few years earlier 2008 I was lucky, I missed the Tacul Avalanche by just a few hours. The weather, it was a Friday, was crap. I turned back halfway up the normal route. The following day Saturday the weather had not improved.That evening in Chamonix it was raining it was very wet and continued into the early hours of Sunday. Sunday morning the weather was fine very sunny,I headed off to the Midi cable car to find it being used by the rescue services. What I am trying to say is that its a lottery up there, you can best check the weather keep looking and listening and above all move fast.
In reply to golgappas: The problem is the seracs. Whilst most people still go by the view that they're safer at night, the fact is seracs can go at any time, as its generally not melting that causes them to go like an avalanche, when seracs fall its simply because the bonds can't hold them any more as the glacier above pushes it over an edge.
I'm planning a few routes up there next month, so I shall try a few different descent routes, including possibly the East ridge, returning to the top of the triangle and then following the slop down from there or the Contamine Negri.
Charming. But still you miss the point. Doing your homework is good. Sticking close to the people in front is just crap advice. You mentioned several reasons why it is crap advice yourself. If you find this irritable, why don't you just man up and deal with it. I hope the OP ignores your ill-judged wisdom, does his homework, and chooses a safe route to solo (be it 3Ms if the conditions allow or something else if not).
> To my shame we tucked in behind a German guided group and followed blindly.
Seems to me that it's one thing for a pair to follow a guided group when they don't know the route (and shameful indeed if it's because they don't know what they're doing), and something completely different for a soloist to stick close to the party in front as a substitute for having a partner...