10 Multi-pitch Routes Worth Travelling For Part 2

by Jack Geldard - Consulting Editor Jun/2015
This article has been read 31,944 times

Looking for a long, amazing route to get you psyched for a summer trip? We've compiled a list of 10 of the best in Europe!

Following on from the first five routes in the list - here are the next lot, taking you to the chilly granite of Norway, the red hot limestone of France, perfect friction slabs, the best of alpine rock and one of the most famous and longest ridges in Europe.

To get in to this list the routes have to be multi-pitch and no harder than 6c+ and they have to be good. If you don't agree with these choices, then feel free to come up with your own list of 10 brilliant routes - and if you've got time, we'd love to make an article about them! Get in touch!

5: La Demande - 6a - 320m - 12 Pitches

Well we just had to have the Verdon Gorge in France in this list, and one of the most suggested routes was La Demande. It is an absolute classic, if a little polished. Here's the Rockfax Description for the route:

1) 5+, 2) 5+, 3) 5+, 4) 6a, 5) 6a, 6) 5+, 7) 6a, 8) 6a, 9) 5, 10) 6a, 11) 6a, 12) 5+. THE major classic, it should be on the itinerary of any serious climber who visits the Verdon. Its first ascent, by Joel Coqueugniot and François Guillot, in the autumn of 1968 started the ball rolling in a big way! The route is approached from the Couloir Sampson via the damp tunnels (20/25 mins) - an average team should allow about 5 hours for the ascent, though don't under estimate the effort of a strenuous 300m crack-climb done largely in the sun - benightments are not uncommon. The logistics of an ascent are left for individual teams to work out, though it is worth pointing out that the upper chimneys are a bit of a battle with a rucsack! A UK grade of HVS 5a for seasoned crack-climbers and E2 5b for wall-rats might feel appropriate. Over the years the climb has gradually acquired more and more fixed protection and the once fearsome upper chimneys have lost some their reputation. Nuts and cams up to mid-size are reassuring. © ROCKFAX

Want More Info? Check out the UKC Destination Guide to the Verdon Gorge

In the exit chimneys of La Demande, 199 kbIn the exit chimneys of La Demande
© Heike, Apr 2009

The lower section of the ramp on Le Demande. My fourth time up the route, one trip for each decade of climbing!, 240 kbThe lower section of the ramp on Le Demande. My fourth time up the route, one trip for each decade of climbing!
© SteveSBlake, Sep 2011

4: Le Ticket, le CarrĂ©, le Rond et la Lune - TD+  - 250m - 7 Pitches

Many climbers who visit Chamonix are looking for an Alpine rock adventure, but don't want to cross glaciers or spend many nights in an expensive hut. Personally I love huts (dinner - yes please!), but with the climbs on the fantastic Aiguille du Peigne, you can approach in around an hour from the mid station on the Aiguille du Midi lift, and if you're quick - zoom up the route of your choice and be back for the 'last bin'. If reality hits and you miss that last cable car (ahem... not that I would know...) then it isn't too bad a walk back down to the valley - so - no axes and crampons required, and no night in a hut. Just 250m of perfect granite...

Le Ticket, le Carré, le Rond et la Lune, Aiguille du Peigne, pitch 2., 206 kbLe Ticket, le Carré, le Rond et la Lune, Aiguille du Peigne, pitch 2.
Hilary Sharp, Jul 2010
© jon

Le Ticket... is a classic of the Mont Blanc Massif, and this fearsome granite slab-fest is no push over. At a grade of around 6c these smeary slabs are what the infamous Michel Piola is known for, and this Piola route from 1983 gives you a good idea of just how good this guy is on this kind of terrain! Luckily for any would-be ascensionists the old 8mm bolts on this route have been replaced in 2009 with glue-ins - thanks Michel!

However if this route is a bit too hard, then there is the easier and classic Papillons ArĂȘte which is graded D+ and if I had to have a guess I'd say it is about HVS in UK grades, but mostly much easier. Get it done!

A Grand Day Out, 208 kbThe Papillons Ridge © CUBBO images

3: Flygende Hollender - N6+ (E2) - 250m - 6 Pitches

Text from Viv Scott:

Norway is a land of granite, and while the picturesque islands of Lofoten are rightly renowned, further north still lies arguably the rock climbers jewel in the crown – the island of Kvaløya. Located adjacent to Norway’s largest arctic city – Tromsø – the fjords and peaks of Kvaløya host a huge variety of superb granite climbing, from sport in the valleys, to the ‘mini’ big-wall of Blåmann, and the great cirque of Hollanderen.

Hollenderan, Kvaløya, Arctic Norway, 77 kbHollenderan, Kvaløya, Arctic Norway
© TobyA, Aug 2006

At its right-hand end Hollanderen is terminated by a huge buttress called Baugen – meaning bow (of a boat). Lined with soaring cracks, Baugen’s routes offer perfect rock with glue like friction, perfect protection (double set of cams advised), views from the peaks to the fjords and all the sun going in Norway’s arctic summer.   

Flygende Hollender (the Flying Dutchman) follows the obvious groove line just left of the front of the buttress. The first pitch up slabby grooves (VSish) provides a welcome warm-up before the wall rears to issue five immaculate sustained pitches – all Norwegian 6 (hard E2) featuring everything from technical bridging, fierce laybacks, burly jamming, juggy roofs and delicate smearing – with the growing void snapping at your heels eased by the plentiful and perfect protection. 

The flat summit provides plenty of room to sunbathe and savour, before the well bolted abseil descent speeds you down for another round!

Guidebook / More Info: www.blixt.no/KvaloyaArchives/

photo
Hollenderan, Kvaløya, Arctic Norway.
© TobyA, Aug 2006

photo
Isn't Norway great?
© TobyA, Aug 2006

2: Motorhead - 6a+ (Feels like E2) - 500m - 14 Pitches

Okay, Okay, it has been called THE BEST route in Europe. It looks amazing (I have yet to climb this classic), and it is in a stunningly beautiful part of Switzerland.

Motorhead takes a brilliant line up the large granite slab of Eldorado with trad sections interspersed with the odd bolt. It has laybacks, cracks, smeary slabs and some run-outs! Quality!

Approach info from the UKC Logbooks:

Eldorado is near the Grimsel Pass, 2165m, in the Bernese Alps. Head to Grimsel Hospice 1980m, located on the northern side of the pass. The hospice is also a bus stop, with buses serving both sides of the pass.

And some quotes from the UKC Logbooks:

"One of the best climbs I've ever done superb quality. Used an 80m rope to link pitches and got to the top in under 3 hours, great day totally spent at the end of it." Colesy

"Mind blowing. perfect mix of trad with the odd bolt and some scary run outs on glassy slabs!" Hidden

"Probably the best rock route I have ever done, in just 4.5 hours! Absolutely superb, a shame it isn't in the UK. It is actually only 6a+ (6a obl), not 6b, but is really more like E1/2 - the bolts are only every 15m or so and you need a trad rack." Si dH

Rob Powell on Motorhead, Eldorado, 233 kbRob Powell on Motorhead, Eldorado
© David Barlow, Sep 2013

The amazing 5c "photo pitch" on Motorhead, Grimsel Pass., 176 kbThe amazing 5c "photo pitch" on Motorhead, Grimsel Pass.
© ali k, Aug 2010

photo
Antti on third pitch of Motorhead, Eldorado, Switzerland
© Dave, Sep 2004

1: West Ridge - ED1 - 1000m - 35 Pitches

Well it is certainly a whopper at 1000m!

Here's the Logbook info for the area:

Crag features
A premier alpine rock destination featuring the classic Salbit south and west ridges, plus many other routes accessible from the Salbithütte.

Access notes
The Salbithütte is reached with 900m ascent from car parking at Ulmi in the Göeschenertal, or with a less steep 1000m ascent from the train station at Göschenen.

Summit needle, Salbit., 115 kbSummit needle, Salbit.
© ali k, Aug 2010

And the length of our chosen route means that most parties will opt for a stunning bivvy. But don't take our word for it - here's some of the logbook comments:

"Classic route with plenty of interest all the way, requires lots of different techniques, such as run out slabby arete laybacking, chimneying, face climbing, even a nasty off width, though laybacking being the main flavour for 35 pitches. We opted for the leisurely 2 day option which works well as no rush and plenty of bivvy spots to choose from (though it did rain on us overnight!) Downside is the heavier pack which felt very heavy on first pitch which is a stiff warm up! All free except the A0 bolt ladder, though the 6a+ and 6b pitches are far easier than the sustained old school 5+ and 6a pitches on Tower 2, watch out for them! Being solid at HVS/E1 recommended, lots of pitches at this grade. Worth it's classic status and the hut is a lovely place to stay for a few days too..." Chad123 - AltLd O/S - 26/Jul/13 with Sam

"A stunning ridge line on perfect granite, the best route I have done in Europe to date. Very sustained climbing with alot of pitches at HVS-E1. Many excellent bivy spots. 14 hours on ridge, 3 hours from summit down East ridge and back to the Bivy hut. Heavily recommend this route!" david morse - AltLd - 02/Jul/11 with lole, todd

photo
Salbitschijen West Ridge
© david morse, Jul 2011

photo
Climbers on the perfect cracks leading to the ridge of the 2nd tower, Salbit West Ridge.
© ali k, Aug 2010

Climbers perched on top of the 1st tower, Salbit West Ridge., 157 kbClimbers perched on top of the 1st tower, Salbit West Ridge.
© ali k, Aug 2010

 


Jack Geldard climbing the North Couloir Direct on the Petit Dru, 228 kbJack Geldard climbing the North Couloir Direct on the Petit Dru
© Nick Bullock
About the Author:

Jack Geldard is the Chief Editor of UKClimbing.com and has climbed extensively for over 20 years - trad, sport bouldering and winter. He's currently training to be a British Mountain Guide (IFMGA)

He admits to having never done Jack The Ripper, so if it is crap don't blame him, and he's got at least one of the routes on this top ten list in mind for his summer holidays and will be gutted if it is really busy... did he say top ten? Wait, he meant top nine...

  • You can read a little more about Jack, his climbing, and his guiding on his own website: Jackgeldard.com

 

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