/ Aiguille d'Entrèves - abseils / rope length

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Maria Dixon 20 Aug 2019

Aiguille d'Entrèves Traverse (AD- 4c)

We are in Chamonix and thinking of doing the Aiguille d'Entrèves traverse in a day or so when the weather clears.

The Rockfax guidebook refers to a couple of 30m abseils being needed on the descent - can anyone advise whether this is accurate, or whether we can get away with taking a single 50m rope? We don't have a 60m rope with us and don't want to carry a second rope unless we absolutely have to!

Thanks, Maria

kenr 20 Aug 2019
In reply to Maria Dixon:

Helps if you're clear about which _direction_ you're going.

JamieH 20 Aug 2019
In reply to Maria Dixon:

A short down climb from the summit to reach a single bolt abseil anchor, 25m to the next single bolt. Again a short down climb reaches the next single bolt and 25m from this to the shoulder. There is also a relatively new two bolt abseil anchor, down and left, for a final 25m abseil off the end of the ridge, to regain the glacier, which avoids having to make an icy traverse from the ridge end. 

Enjoy yourselves, it’s a mini classic.

tcashmore 20 Aug 2019
In reply to JamieH:

I would agree.  From the summit,  down climb carefully is better than abseiling as it is very awkward and slabby.   Can lower second if want to but down climb is best.   1 25m ab onto glacier from ridge.  Might be able to put crampons so land on glacier fully prepared. Great value and more tiring than you think!

Maria Dixon 20 Aug 2019

Thanks! It sounds like a 50m rope should be fine then.

Maria Dixon 20 Aug 2019
In reply to kenr:

We are planning to do it SW > NE, which seems to be the direction suggested by most guides.

Ed Saint 21 Aug 2019
In reply to Maria Dixon: I second tcashmore's comments above. The abseils after the summit are short/awkward, so often down-climbed for the most part. The abseil to focus on is the drop down to the glacier on the French side of the ridge, just before the ridge ends. The anchor is quite hard to find but 25m was fine for us (albeit it was quite close). We put crampons on before abseiling and this was a good choice! Also, beware of dislodging loose rock when abseiling, as some parties may be traversing below you on the glacier.

Maria Dixon 22 Aug 2019
In reply to Ed Saint:

Thanks Ed. I can see you did it fairly recently - were conditions generally good on the route?

We're planning to head up early tomorrow, from the Courmayeur side. (Driving through the Mont Blanc Tunnel was significantly cheaper than taking the lift between the Midi and Helbronner would be!)

Ed Saint 24 Aug 2019
In reply to Maria Dixon: I’m probably a bit too late if you went yesterday, but for what it’s worth, conditions were good for us. Hard  neve on the glacier and dry on the ridge. Hope you had fun!

mikefergy 25 Aug 2019

Maria and I did the traverse on Friday - nice route, and absolutely fine with a single 50m rope (moved together on the descent, then just under 25m abseil off to the left to reach the snow). Jumping the bergschrund provided some entertainment! (approx 1m across, 3m down)

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