/ Mer de Glace to Aiguille Du Midi

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sbc_10 - on 14 Jul 2013
I was wondering how feasible it would be to work your way up the Mer de Glace and end at the Aiguille cable car station. Essentially this is the Vallee Blanche in reverse. Cannot seem to find any route descriptions for the trip or photo-logs. Does this mean it is not done, or is it not worthwhile or is it too risky in Summer?
Has anybody done it ? I was thinking of it as a training trip for my mate. With glacier skills lower down, then a high camp, then topping out with a spectacular ending...and not forgetting a nice cable car descent.

Any advice most welcome.

Many thanks.
Sean.
Pursued by a bear - on 14 Jul 2013
In reply to sbc_10: I've done it, though not as you describe. We went up the south face of the Aiguille du Plan then along the ridge to the Midi, so doing the classic traverse backwards.

Decent day out, but it was 25 years ago and the conditions going up the Plan will have changed significantly so getting some info on that will help.

T.
sbc_10 - on 14 Jul 2013
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

Thanks PbaB, I will check that route out.
I've googled a bit more, avoiding mention of Vallee Blache and got this, which is the route I'm after.

http://www.odyssee-montagne.com/mer-de-glace-and-3-mont-blanc-traverse.html#first

It's that bit after the Refuge du Requin, image 7 of 17, I wonder if there is sufficient traffic for a trail to be established. I don't fancy hacking around or in that ice-field for any great length of time.
Strachan on 14 Jul 2013
In reply to sbc_10:
This route appears in the book "easy ascents and glacier climbs" for the mont blanc range. I cant remember the author but it's quite easy to get hold of. It gets F or PD, over several days with huts. I think the arete into the midi would be the most exciting bit!
pneame on 14 Jul 2013
In reply to sbc_10:
That's a great slide show
It looks like this -
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=155156
and this
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=170040
But that was a long time ago. I'm sure it's MUCH worse now.
JLS on 14 Jul 2013
In reply to Strachan:

I did it following the description in that guidebook which suggests a night in the Requim hut.

This was 2006, no problems apart from some active rock falls a few hundred metres past the hut, occasional small bits of back tracking in the ice fall and a few hundred metres of difficult glacier conditions in the basin above the ice fall.
Murko Fuzz - on 14 Jul 2013
In reply to sbc_10: To be honest I find going up the Mer de Glace a right pain, let alone going all the way up. A huge amount of ball-achery with seeming never ending crevasse negotiation.
lizard-16-07 - on 15 Jul 2013
In reply to sbc_10: As mentioned it's in the "Mont Blanc Easy Ascents and Glacier hikes" book as a two day route. Did this two years ago, stopping at the Refuge du Requin then making our way round to the Midi. Word of warning though: check the snow conditions and ask the guides in Cham, as well as the guardians at the Requin, what they recommend. We did it when the route was out of condition and the second day turned into a very, very long snow plod. Otherwise, I recommend the book anyway - there are plenty of easy two day routes (if that's what you're after,) usually with a walk in, overnight stop then an easy peak, Tete Blanche etc
lizard-16-07 - on 15 Jul 2013
In reply to sbc_10: "It's that bit after the Refuge du Requin, image 7 of 17, I wonder if there is sufficient traffic for a trail to be established. I don't fancy hacking around or in that ice-field for any great length of time"

Exactly that. We, along with another group, appeared to be the first people on the route when I did it. Breaking trail was HARD and would have been doubly so without the other group doing their fair share as well.
kevinroet - on 15 Jul 2013
In reply to sbc_10: We did a walk in reverse, we started in the Valleee Blanche, went down the Geant Glacier, then the Tacul Glacier, then the Mer de Glace, then the Montevers train back to Cham. Very beautiful walk, heavily crevassed in places, stone fall that you would need to watch out for, and ice fall from 1-2 glaciers above.

If you'd like to go for a scenic walk, definitely worth it, just keep your wits about you.
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Bruce Hooker - on 15 Jul 2013
In reply to sbc_10:

As said it's best to go up to the Requin hut rather than try to go straight through the Géant ice fall. From there there is usually a track traced going up towards the Tour Ronde for example and you can head up right towards the Midi.

http://www.windmillweb.info/climbing/alps69/images1/requin_icefall_big.jpg

Where not to be when the sun is up!

http://www.windmillweb.info/climbing/alps69/images1/glacier_du_geant_big.jpg

http://www.windmillweb.info/climbing/alps69/requin.htm

Alternatively climb up from the refuge towards the Midi/Plan traverse - I've done this coming down a couple of times. You go up behind the hut and then head towards the Col du Plan... finding the way might not be too easy in the dark though, which is when you will be doing it.

Best to check out in Chamonix first especially late in the season and make sure to zero isotherm is low enough for a good freeze at the height and start really early or you'll be floundering about in mushy snow for hours - something we did on my first day in the Alps! In any case it's a long slog, have you a particular reason for wanting to do it?

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