/ Chamonix beginner route ideas
Am heading back to Cham with some alpine newbies next week. Have just recently found out about the Midi closure, as well as the fact that Planpraz lift is opening on the 16th rather than the 9th. This isn't too much of a problem for me and some of the more experienced of our group as there's a load of climbs accessed from the Plan lift (which remains open till the 17th) that are on our hit-list. But for the lesser experienced climbers I was reliant on the Midi for Laurence Arete/Lachenal traverse/Cosmiques and the Planpraz for the Clocher-Clochetons traverse, etc. and with those lifts now no longer available I'm not sure where to point.
I know there's some pleasant multi-pitch sport at Les Mottets, but given the price they've all spent on their multi-day lift passes they're keen to get high as opposed to "wasting" days doing valley level climbing. Huts could be an option also, but I'm not sure they'll be too keen spending more on top of the lift pass cost.
Any suggestions for semi-beginner alpine/rock routes in light of all this?
Thanks in advance
Try the Courmayeur side for snow/mixed stuff. The Skyway lift takes you to Pointe Heilbroner an there's lots to do from there..
At the end of July last year our Midi plans were put off because of high winds. An adventurous feeling couple of days was to head up to the Albert Premier hut on the Glacier du Tour. Bit of a slog, but there's some nice bivvy spots on the rocks overlooking the glacier. From there you can get to the South Ridge of Aiguille Purtscheller pretty easily, and if there's time left in the day tick off the Normal route and Northwest ridge of Tete Blanche and Petite Fourche before heading home.
I've been to Chamonix loads of times and personally, I've never bought a lift pass - rather individual tickets as/when needed (though to be fair my priority is staying at high huts). With all the closures, won't they give you some kind of refund? I think it might be a mistake to feel obliged to use the lifts and become a slave to your lift passes, especially given the closures.
Having said that, there are many good routes utilising them. I'm not sure what makes sense this early in the season (I usually go much later), but some ideas that are not too hard:
Aig de l'M voie normale
Petit Aiguille Verte - various options / variations on voie normale
Aig Crochues traverse
Aig du Belvedere
Les Mottets (sounds like you're already familiar) - these long multi-pitch routes are great if it's the sort of thing you're looking for; I think it would be a mistake to miss these just to use lift passes if they are otherwise suitable for your group. Via Corda Alpina and Voie Caline are perhaps better known than Princesse (similar to the others with a very slightly harder crux pitch).
Go to Montenvers, either just for a wander on Mer de Glace or to the huts above. Couvercle is obvious (Les Courtes, Pointe Isabelle), but also the Requins Hut is a lovely less visited hut (sometimes used as a long route to Mont Blanc via Aig du Midi without using telepherique - anyway, can be used as a way to get higher up).
is a very useful link. This gives links to many more pages, including Chamonix Mountain Conditions and route reports.
Hope some of that's helpful!
Indeed. Couvercle hut, amazing location, smelliest toilets and access to a whole range of stuff. The easier routes up Aig. Moine would be a good experience for novices.
Thanks for the responses everyone! Would love to do Courmayeur, but the individual lift price tickets plus a return bus from Chamonix are a little too much cost wise - we're on a pretty tight budget. The lift-pass company have given us an opportunity to refund our tickets, so I'm thinking of going with that and using our saved money towards the Couvercle, Albert Premier and Requins huts. Weather for next week is unfortunately looking dire - hopefully it improves later in the trip!
Week before last with the lift shut we did the "North East Ridge of the Aguille de LM" You can take the train up, or save money and walk up the evening before and bivi somewhere!
For anyone's info the descent as in the book is a little confusing. From near the summit there are 2 abb stations, go for the 3 bolt one that's slightly lower, If you have 2 x 60m ropes you can make the col in 2 straight abbs without climbing through the gap and down the groove after the first abb, the second abb station was marked by a small cairn on a rock. Fun route if you like you climbing varied!!
At the risk of sounding like a broken record between this thread and a couple of others, there's plenty that would suit you off the Glacier du Tour and the Trient Plateau - easily enough options to spend a couple of days based at the Albert 1er, and easily accessible without taking a single lift.
The normal routes up the Aiguille du Tour are good fun whether dry or covered in snow, and are not at all serious. If your novices get on well on that you could then take a look at either of the ridges on the Tete Blanche and finish up the Petite Fourche with a very easy descent back to the hut, and if all is still well there are a few more challenging mixed objectives that might be suitable depending on their previous axe and crampon experience, and confidence. There are also a few bits of rock about - the South Ridge of the Purtscheller, for example.
Obvious usual caveat of check the conditions beforehand, take a trip to the OHM, etc.
Thank you for the suggestions!
Albert 1er is looking like the one for us - tons to go at as you say, and I'd like to have a go at Forbes or Migot at some point too. Everything sounds in pretty good nick as well (according to La Chamoniarde).
Tricky part is finding a weather window long enough to justify a few nights there as the forecast isn't looking great
> Thank you for the suggestions!
> I'd like to have a go at Forbes or Migot at some point too.
The Migot Spur looks like a fantastic line, doesn't it? It's very high up on my alpine wishlist, but typically the year everything is in fantastic condition I'm incapable of climbing. About this time last year it was already dry and well out-of-condition!
Such a contrast of winters. Climate change is a worrying thing.
> . The lift-pass company have given us an opportunity to refund our tickets, so I'm thinking of going with that and using our saved money towards the Couvercle, Albert Premier and Requins huts.
Definitely go for the refund if its still on offer & used the cash on the above accessed via the Montenvers train to the huts, buying singles as & when you need them.
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