/ Mer de Glace solo

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Ellison5690 - on 13 Sep 2016
Hi Guys,

I'm heading to Chamonix in a few weeks on my own. I'd like to go up to the Refuge du Couvercle via the Mer de Glace. Is this something that is sensible to do alone or would I be better trying to find others?

I'm happy enough with my ability and will have my sensible head on. Any help/advice would be great.

Thank you,

Ellison
goatee - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Ellison5690:

It shouldn't be a problem. Its usually dry and any crevasses are easily seen and avoided.
cdpej on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Ellison5690:

i was up there a couple of weeks ago. The ladders on the east side of the mer de glace seem to change each year (I suspect because of rock falls across the path that side). The ladders marked right opposite Montenvers have been taken away. There is a large oil can on the glacier at about 2050m. From there there are now 2 routes. A new set of ladders has been built and thats probably the best way to the Couvercle. Its 2 very long ladders that are marked with a painted square on the rock (as all the ladders off the mer de glace seem to be luckily). From the top of these its a pleasant hour or so walk to the hut. You can also get to the charpoua refuge by going the other way. Alternatively you can continue up the glacier and use the "old" ladders marked on the map at 2230m. I dont think these ladders are overhanging but they can feel like it. Its a short walk from the top of these to the hut.
Petarghh - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Ellison5690:
The Monenvers train is shut until mid December so it will be a longer walk in from the valley.
Post edited at 19:07
The Ice Doctor - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Ellison5690:

Just do it
ianstevens - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to goatee:

> It shouldn't be a problem. Its usually dry and any crevasses are easily seen and avoided.

It often has a lot of water on the surface. If by "dry" you mean snow-free, then yes, it is.
Kevin Duffy - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to ianstevens:
> It often has a lot of water on the surface. If by "dry" you mean snow-free, then yes, it is.

Describing a glacier as dry when it's snow-free is standard mountaineering terminology, exactly the way goatee used it.

Toerag - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to goatee:

> It shouldn't be a problem. Its usually dry and any crevasses are easily seen and avoided.

Even in winter when it's snowed?
Carless - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Toerag:

definitely not - I assume he meant for normal summer conditions

when it's snowy, be on skis/board or roped up
smithaldo - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to The Ice Doctor: that is stupid advice given the guy who died doing the very same thing 3/4 years ago.

goatee - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Toerag:

I think you'll see that the original question was asked about going on the glacier at the start of October. It is normally dry then.
Rob Parsons on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to smithaldo:

> that is stupid advice given the guy who died doing the very same thing 3/4 years ago.

What - walking from Montenvers to the Couvercle in September/October (which is what the question was about)? Nonsense.
ianstevens - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Kevin Duffy:

I'm aware. That doesn't make it correct however.
smithaldo - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons: apologies, I didn't see the original date and thought it was a few weeks from now. A guy did die doing that a couple of years ago though.

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atthedropofahat on 21 Oct 2016
In reply to Ellison5690:

Did the trip a while ago with my girlfriend, see my blog http://atthedropofahatadventure.blogspot.co.uk/

We only put ropes on to practice moving and as an extra precaution when jumping the stream. I would be less cautious now I've had more experience. The ladders are long however id recommend via ferratta leashes for these as they are exposed.

The first set of ladders are indicated by Yellow paint, these are the ones we took, they are new and were in good condition. The second set, mentioned in the Cicerone things to do in Cham guide book, the Echelets are further along.

There is little objective danger en route, crevasses are visible, avoid fast flowing water and take precautions on the ladders and you should be OK. I would suggest you budget 7 hours to get to the Courvercle it doesn't take the 4 suggested!

Enjoy

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