/ February alpine ice climbs around D/D+/TD- grade?

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pawelx - on 23 Sep 2013
Can anyone please recommend medium-length (so not short climbs such as those on the Mt Blanc Tacul) in this grade range?
I’ve searched and could only find AD+/D- graded climbs which are the north faces of Tour Ronde and Gran Paradiso. All harder climbs seemed to be fairly serious undertakings such as The Shroud on Grand Jorasses (TD), north face of Matterhorn, etc. I guess I’m after something in between.

I’ve done the Chere Couloir which theoretically is D+, but ideally I’d like something in the same grade range, but longer (which implies that it would have to be less technical, too).


Tyler - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to pawelx:

The Austrian Route on Les Courtes
frqnt - on 23 Sep 2013
TonyM - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to pawelx:

Before you jump on the big N faces, I guess the natural progression is some of the abseil-descended goulottes. Stuff like the already mentioned Ravanel-Frendo (and the multiple alternatives R of it all the way along that ridge from tne Aig Carree back towards the Grand Montets station), Petit Viking, Charlet Route on Mt Dolent, Gabarrou-Albinoni, and NW Gully of Frebouze.

But, they are longer and/or harder than Chere Couloir.
And February can be very cold in the high mountains. (technical climbing below -15C in the shade is no fun at all IMHO. I prefer late March or April.)
And there is the likelihood of deep snow with all the ski-only access, avalanche risk, etc. issues.

Personally, at that time of year, you can have more enjoyment doing some of the long icefalls in places like Cogne (e.g. Cold Couloir) or Ecrins (e.g. Freissineires has plenty of 300m+ routes). Develop your ice climbing skills. Being able to climb WI5 is a pretty valuable skill to possess on any alpine ice route, since you'll go faster and not get so easily halted by tricky impasses.

I'll not get into the vagaries of traditional alpine grades, but it is part of the reason why you can't find what you are looking for.

Hope useful.
bdgm on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to pawelx: How about the N.E. face of Lyskamm from Zermatt. We did the Norman-Neruda route to the East Summit in late March. 700m and D+.
Also did a route on the North face of the Ebnefluh ( close to the Jungfrau ) at similar time of year. Similar length and grade. Easy but long descent on skis or snow shoes.
JXM - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to pawelx: Via Oppel, Antelao is on my list.

frqnt - on 24 Sep 2013
David Rose - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to pawelx: Swiss Route on Les Courtes is better than Austrian, and not at all hard. Scottish IV max, for one pitch at most. Given TD - but really D+ in good conditions. Also a straightforward descent down the NE slope, though you do need to be careful. Y Couloir on Argentiere is AD+/D. Couturier on Verte (D). Mallory - Porter on Midi (AD+). Gabarrou Albinoni is easy for its grade (I think TD) and very well protected. Also Lafaille. Dolent Charlet route is excellent at D+. Abseil descent. As ever, it's all about conditions.
pawelx - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to davidoldfart: thanks everyone for replies and suggestions.
smithaldo - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to pawelx: when you say Mont Blanc du tacul I assume you mean the triangle as some of the east face routes are very long so I wouldn't dismiss those.

I would also use the damilano grade for the chere, not d+.

Also the ravenal frendo and frendo ravenal are two different routes near each other. The frendo ravenal is the one most people do.

Would reccomend la pepite as a starter route with a bit harder climbing than chere colour but good intro to that type of stuff then move onto longer routes. You also want to ski in and out to save time in feb! And as tony says it can be horribly cold and miserable in feb.
Dave - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to pawelx:

A couple of routes around that grade that I've enjoyed in February have been the N. couloir of the Col du Plan and the Albinoni Gabbarou on Mt Blanc du Tacul. Both a bit longer and more involved than the Triangle routes but still not too out there and very accessible.

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