Rockfax Description
III, 700m, 5 - 7 hours. This is a great route for any mid-grade alpinist. The technical difficulties are low but the exposure is breathtaking and confidence in your cramponing is essential.
Approach - From the Helbronner lift, cross the Col des Flambeaux and descend northwest to pass under the Aiguille de Toule. Turn west and gently ascend, passing under the North Face of the Tour Ronde to reach the huge glacial plateau beneath the Aręte de la Brenva. The scenery here is some of the best in the Alps and should only increase excitement levels. The plateau can also be reached from the Aiguille du Midi by descending to the Pyramide du Tacul and climbing past the Pointe Adolphe Rey and Grand Capucin. The area around these summits can be heavily crevassed and this approach is an hour longer than approaching from Helbronner.
The Aręte de la Brenva looks imposing but the climb to the Bivouac de la Fourche is straightforward enough in good conditions. There are numerous snow couloirs leading to the ridge crest so ensure that you choose the correct one! When approaching the foot of the couloirs, the one you are looking for is to the right of the serac, and the two large, distinctive rock teeth, and to the left of the Col de la Fourche.
The bergschrund often requires the use of two ice axes, but in anything other than very poor conditions should present few problems for a competent team. Climb the snow couloir with sections up to 50 degrees to reach the ridge. The hut is 10m on the right - two hours from Helbronner, 3 hours from the Aiguille du Midi. The view is staggering.
It is also possible to climb the route direct from the Rifugio Torino by climbing the prominent snow couloir which joins the ridge just after the two small towers near the Bivouac de la Fourche. This has the advantage that you don't need to carry a stove and food but makes the day longer and means that you don't get to spend a night in the amazingly positionned Bivouac de la Fourche.
1) From the hut, follow the ridge crest, turning two small towers on the right, until it steepens at a buttress.
2) Climb this to the left of the crest via a snow/mixed gully to regain the ridge and follow it on the snowy crest.
3) Although technically straightforward, the section on the crest is incredibly exposed and features the legendary and often photographed traverse across the 'demi-lune' just before Pointe de l'Androsace.
4) 4c. Turn the Pointe de L'Androsace on the left (Brenva) side and return to the ridge at a small notch. Carry on for 10m along broken rocky ground and descend slightly on the Brenva side to reach a short, awkward crack (4c) which leads to a mixed ramp (or bare rock in late season), which gradually leads you back onto the ridge crest.
5) Follow the ridge crest without any significant obstacles until just below the point where the ridge meets the northwest shoulder of Mont Maudit.
6) Traverse onto the Chamonix side and climb a snowy gully to reach the shoulder and summit ridge.
7) Follow this via an exposed, snowy traverse to the summit of Mont Maudit. The final ridge is spectacular and a fitting end to one of the finest routes in the Alps.
Descent - Retreat from the hut is possible via the line of approach and there are some fixed anchors in the approach couloir to allow sections to be abseiled. Retreat from the route itself would be problematic.
From the summit of Mont Maudit, descend the West Face to join the Trois Monts Route (page §§§) from summit of Mont Blanc. Descend this to the Aiguille du Midi via the Col du Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc du Tacul. The descent of Mont Maudit's west face to reach the Trois Monts Route is only 100m long but it can be icy so taking along an Abalakov threader to create abseil anchors isn't a bad idea. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
Classic ridge traverse. Also called 'Frontier Ridge'.
The approach to the Col de la Fourche Hut can be in very bad nick and as an alternative, from the Torino Hut pass the snow/ice slope that leads up to the Col de la Fourche Hut and climb the snow/ice slope a bit further along (closer to the summit) that leads to the ridge.

From the Col de la Fourche Hut, follow the ridge and snowy snow slope to the snowy ridge that leads under Pt. de l'Androsace. 50 meter descending ice traverse to the left then contour around to snow gully that leads up towards skyline. Up through a bit of mixed climbing, right then back to the left on to the snowy cornice leading up the NE Ridge to the summit tower.

M. von Kuffner with A. Burgener, J Furrer and porter 02/Jul/1887

Ticklists: Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif.

Stickle Tarn 02/Sep AltLd O/S

2am breakfast, 2:45 departure from Torino hut. The route was totally out of condition, really dry and any snow/ice was super soft. This resulted in a long days climbing, never an epic but very slow. Made it to the shoulder and abseiled down to the Col. I counted six abseil stances all around 50m apart and some in need of renewal ! We backed up and left some cord on the dodgy stances. Disappointing not to summit Mount Maudit. Must try the route again earlier in the season !

piken 28/Aug -

Early start from the midi. Past a tank like Boulder under grand cap. Very soft at the start- 20ft of steep soft ice snow slush. Once on the route conditions were mint. Climb route in crampons. Finished over MB and down to Les Houches which was nice. 13 hrs from midi to les houches

with Andy
davkeo 16/Aug Solo O/S

Simul solo. Started at 2am from midi. Brought 1 axe & 2 would have made the ridge approach slope (150m) more enjoyable. Snow/ice was very good but lots of it being knocked down on us by parties above. One chunk hit me square in the balls. Clear night sky & no wind. Perfect snow conditions all the way to mount Blanc. Decended via the gouter route which is the biggest pile of shite u could never wish to climb. 14hrs total moving time. Decent took 4.5hrs of that and it was arduous.

Richard Kendrick 16/Aug Solo
with davkeo
Paul Collins 16/Aug Solo
with davkeo
benwmorgan 13/Aug AltLd O/S
mike.moss 13/Aug AltLd O/S
Hidden 08/Aug AltLd
Hidden 04/Jul AltLd O/S
Matt Harmon 04/Jul AltLd O/S

Moved together for all, easier than expected

with ben coope, Harry Lewis
elm 04/Jul AltLd
bencoope 04/Jul AltLd O/S
Hidden 04/Jul Lead O/S
CameronH 04/Jul -
hamishfrost 07/Sep/15 -

Late season, very dry. What a route!

QuentinSu 28/Jun/15 AltLd O/S
joelevanschamonix ??/2015 -
Hidden 15/Sep/14 AltLd
joe_lancs 15/Sep/14 AltLd
Hidden 29/Aug/14 AltLd O/S
Hidden 25/Aug/14 AltLd
Hidden 25/Aug/14 -
simondunf 25/Aug/14 AltLd O/S

highlight of the trip

with caspar
ndraper1 08/Aug/14 -

Cosy night with 16 people in the fourche(!) 6hrs from hut to maudit summit, Tim and I continued to Mont Blanc(2hrs) and then reversed 3 Monts to the midi(5hrs). Huge day, amazing exposed ridge. Moved as a slick three for all of kuffner. Great conditions and biggest distance/altitude covered to date!

with Tim, Joel Evans
Hidden 08/Aug/14 AltLd
joelevanschamonix 08/Aug/14 -

with ndraper1, Tim Oliver
Hidden ?/Aug/14 AltLd
Tim Davies 26/Jun/14 Lead

Bivouac empty and cold! Excellent track up the route. Moved together apart from one short pitch beneath Androsace. Absolutely knackered by Tacul. Not a route to underestimate and not an easy one to escape off either. A four star experience. Tower ridge on steroids?

MSchobitz 22/Jun/14 Lead dnf

Forecast was great, but we met whiteout conditions when we left the fourche bivy at 3:00am. Moved along the ridge very fast/efficiently, but bailed when the weather worsened and abbed off the route.

Hidden ??/2014 -
Hidden ??/2014 -
beckycoles ?/Aug/13 AltLd
Si ?/Aug/13 -
Jezzer 26/Jul/13 2nd

From Torino hut with guide. 8h10m to Maudit summit. Did the Androsace tower to the right with a couple of harder rock moves and some interesting abseils

Keith Lambley 12/Jul/13 -
with Kate R
HarryB 05/Jul/13 Lead O/S
with Al
Hidden 02/Jul/13 AltLd O/S
Hidden ?/Jul/13 -
Hidden 26/Jun/13 AltLd O/S
Mike Hood 26/Jun/13 AltLd
with jordan
Hidden ??/2013 -
walts4 ??/2013 -
jcw ??/2013 -
edek_w ??/2013 -
James Thacker ??/2013 -
Dave Searle ??/2013 -
Hidden 30/Jul/12 -
jhw 22/Jul/12 Lead

Perfect conditions and no routefinding difficulties although we had some problems when we tried an alternative route below Pointe de l'Androsace to get round a slow party in front. This cost us some time but we still made guidebook. Started from Fourche where we stayed the night before.

Ken Applegate 10/Jul/12 AltLd

Spent night with 14 others in La Fourche Bivi Hut, which was cosy to say the least. Busy day on the ridge, but everyone moving at similar pace, so it all worked out fine. Abseiled to Col Maudit after difficulties, as weather was closing in fast.

with Scott Kirkhope
Hidden ??/2012 AltLd O/S
Christian Beck 30/Sep/11 AltLd O/S

Hard approach to hut due to lots of black ice , a long but memorable day out with black/rotten ice and lots of loose rock due to warm conditions. JUST! got down to town thanks to the service car taking pity on two VERY! tired climbers racing up the midi arete just in time!...awesome!

Hidden 14/Sep/11 AltLd dnf
Adam Booth 30/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
gowla 30/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
with adam booth
MikeLell 28/Aug/11 AltLd dnf

Reached Fourche Bivouc in dark at 10pm knackered. Descended back to glacier using multiple abseils off a single 60 m rope after breakfast the following morning.

with Lee Harrison
Hidden 28/Aug/11 -
Hidden 13/Aug/11 AltLd
jonnie3430 12/Aug/11 Lead O/S

2.45 from the hut to the ridge on Mont Maudit, excellent neve and tracks from earlier parties (we left an hour later (4,) avoided the hut faff and had a bit more light for the route. Chuffed.

with Nina
d_meacher ?/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
with Edvin Mellergard
Drew M ?/Aug/11 AltLd
Pete Graham ?/Aug/11 -
Dave Latimer ?/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
benclimbing ?/Aug/11 AltLd O/S

Classic, but a knackering day out!

RKernan 16/Jul/11 AltLd O/S
with Conor Gilmour
HimTiggins 15/Jul/11 AltLd O/S
with Bart
tebs 14/Jul/11 AltLd

Excellent. Easy climbing but tiring. Cruxes were the horrible out of condition approach to the bivi and a tricky little traverse around the bottom of Pointe Androsace.

with Tim
Ben Briggs 12/Jul/11 Solo
with Jon
Hidden 04/Jul/11 AltLd O/S
Petarghh 04/Jul/11 -

Awesome !

Jack Loftus 04/Jul/11 -

moved together for the whole route, Epic.

dtilly ?/Jul/11 -

Arrive at the Fourche bivi hut with just two beds left for us, at 10pm. Fairly arduous walk in. Left for the Brenva Spur at 2am. Fortunately our ropes got snagged and wouldn't pull down after the abseil. A huge serac carved off down the Gussefldt Couloir so we promptly sacked it off and headed back up to the ridge to do the Kuffner. Started finally about 4.30-5am on the ridge. Snow coniditions we sugary and solid placements were impossible at times. Very long day out! At the top we didnt do the summit as it was 5pm and headed down. There are fixed abseil points to rap down Maudit to the usually well trodden path up to the Tacul. You can also down climb this section if careful. Got back to the Midi station at 7.05pm. Amazingly the lift was still running. Thank god! Guide book time of 5-7 hours is not realisitic if conditions are warm. We were both fit and climbing well and it took us 12 hours from hut to top out under Mt Maudit. Amazing day out though.

tskelhon ?/Jul/11 AltLd O/S
with chris davis
alkira ??/2011 -
masa-alpin 13/Oct/10 AltLd O/S

Completed in 3.5 hours from Fourche Bivouac, even though we were slowed down by offering a help to a Bulgarian pair stranded in the steep rocky summit ridge. Our 2.5 hours effort to make a trail on soft snow on the previous day well paid off. My best alpine experience ever!

with Max C
Matt Bennett 26/Aug/10 AltLd O/S


with Lewis Grey
Hidden 26/Aug/10 AltLd O/S
Ally Baba 21/Aug/10 Solo O/S

Amazing route. 1st 4000er

stuart34 11/Aug/10 AltLd O/S
with Kim Ladiges
yellow ?/Aug/10 AltLd
carl_123 ?/Aug/10 AltLd O/S
tumbling wizard ?/Aug/10 -
with andrew marshall
LozM 21/Jul/10 -

Did not finish. Caught in storm on ascent to La Fourche Biv. hut. Had to wait in hut for two days before retreating due to bad weather.

with Mark J
Cardi 07/Jul/10 Lead O/S

Started at the Fourche. Approach gully to the hut a bit dodgy. Superb day, good snow conditions on the whole. Finished on Mont Maudit.

with Mike Wild, Mark Vet
mark_chal 07/Jul/10 2nd O/S
dannyboy83 ?/Jul/10 -
with Floris
Ben Briggs ?/Jun/10 AltLd O/S
with Brendan
thebigeasy ??/2010 -
Hidden 16/Aug/09 2nd
Hidden 06/Aug/09 -
Hidden ?/Aug/09 AltLd dnf
JonHarvey 29/Jul/09 AltLd O/S

Best ridge I've ever climbed, superb!

Hidden 27/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
andyinglis 26/Jul/09 -

Great route. Pity bout the cramped Fourche experience!

with Neil Adams and Ross Barnes
Neil Adams 26/Jul/09 Lead O/S
Rob84 14/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
with Chris James
Ross Barnes ?/Jul/09 -
with Andy I, Neil A
Hidden ?/Jul/09 -
Cham32 ??/2009 -

climbed from the Torino - left at 2am - summit section lovely - summitted at 12.30

Hidden 19/Aug/08 2nd
stevepotter 14/Aug/08 -
with Andy T
robertporter ?/Aug/08 -
Hidden ?/Aug/08 AltLd O/S
blouise ?/Aug/08 -
with James Gordon
Hidden 28/Jul/08 AltLd rpt
Misha 22/Jul/08 Solo

Got last lift up to the Midi to go to the Fourche Bivouac for the night and realised had forgotten the rope, so turned into a solo! Excellent conditions though a bit windy. Unfortunately the alitude got the better of me and I started slowing down, so decided to descend from a subsidiary summit not far from Mt Maudit, while Art carried on to the summit and caught me up on the way back. Left hut at 6.50am and I started descending at 10.30am, though didn't get to the Midi till 2pm as was taking it easy. Altitude is such a pain!

Hidden 10/Jul/08 AltLd O/S
Hidden 10/Jul/08 AltLd O/S
Neil D ?/Jul/08 Lead O/S

+ Robert Porter

Joubert ?/Jul/08 -
Hidden 20/Jun/08 Solo
springaren ?/Jun/08 2nd
with Christian
Hidden 15/Sep/07 AltLd O/S
Hidden 11/Sep/07 AltLd
Jules C ?/Aug/07 -
smollett ?/Aug/07 -
lazyhopkins 31/Jul/07 AltLd O/S
with Jon Lynch
jl 31/Jul/07 AltLd O/S

in 5 hours

with Brad
Stefan 14/Jun/07 AltLd O/S
with Dave
Bristoldave ??/2007 -
with Rich
RobScotland 29/Sep/06 AltLd O/S
with jonnyb
feilx ?/Sep/05 -
with Ian Lovatt
Yyonnx 19/Jul/05 -

Great climb, white out conditions coming over from the Aig. Midi had us sitting on our packs trying to get a fix where we were when finally the mist parted and Doog saw the north face of Tour Ronde which got us orientated. The climb up to the Col de la Fourche Hut was in great condition due to a 10cm snow fall the night before and was some of the best couloir climbing we did all summer. The hut was great, eight other people, beautiful setting. The climb was in good condition with the right amount of snow. The descending ice traverse under Pt. Androsace was the sketchiest bit and it wasn't bad as we protected the traverse with three ice screws. The upper parts were good and by the time we reached the col the wind was howling around our helmets, ready to head down. 6 hours to the col from the hut.

with Doog
sgl ?/Jun/05 AltLd
with Jo and Konnie
Hidden ?/Jun/05 AltLd O/S
Hidden 17/Sep/04 -
Hidden ?/Sep/04 Lead
Hidden 02/Aug/01 AltLd O/S
timmy-ts ??/2001 -
nickdonohue 02/Sep/00 AltLd

mostly moving together. difficult conditions when we did this, fresh snow and delicate cornices; 1 bivi on ridge in stormy conditions

with Mark McCarthy
Hidden 06/Aug/98 AltLd O/S
Hidden ??/1997 -
Andy Clark ??/1997 -
with Burnsie
crossleysm 07/Jul/95 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jun/94 AltLd O/S
Hidden ?/Aug/93 AltLd
NeilGriffiths ?/Aug/93 -
with Paul Tucker, Phil Kendon
Tim Sparrow ?/Aug/93 -

Marvellous route. Hut a tad crowded - 24 of us. A few divvied outside too. I lay on the bench. Awoke to a disgruntling noise, another Brit slumped comfortably but cold and damp on the snow pile in the corner.

with Chris D
Simon4 ?/Jul/92 -
with Wayne Horsfall
aged_ape 18/May/92 AltLd O/S
with Rob B
frost ?/Jul/91 AltLd
with Stone
Pete_Frost ?/Jul/91 AltLd O/S

Route was in good nick and so was I, despite having to go look for my second axe which I dropped on the way to the hut. Getting over the bergschrund to the hut was the hardest bit. Best alpine route to date.

with Stuart Turnbull
Hidden ?/Jul/89 -
Hidden ??/1986 -
John Marsland ?/Aug/83 -
with Andrew
granitbahn ?/Jul/71 AltLd
oldmanofmow ??/1961 -
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