UKC

DESTINATION GUIDE: BMG Route Card: Supercouloir - Mont Blanc du Tacul

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 UKC Articles 03 Feb 2011
Dave Green romping up the Supercouloir, 3 kbIn this feature from the British Mountain Guides, a qualified and experienced guide recommends a classic and favourite route for the current time of year.

"It's a classic, it's uber-famous and it's a fantastic line. It has earned the reputation of being "one of the finest couloir climbs in the Alps", and rightly so..."

Ric Potter takes us on the Supercouloir, Mont Blanc du Tacul

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3426

In reply to UKC Articles: Publishing this article this morning has got me a bit psyched!

The supercouloir is looking super fat at the moment.

Jack
 francoisecall 03 Feb 2011
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: I had just emailed a friend about it!!!! If you see a fat middle aged lady in there it is probably me. Please be patient.
 francoisecall 03 Feb 2011
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Last ime I did it I started at the direct start. I was seconding behind a superstar. So I don't know the Gervasutti start. Is there still a fixed rope on it? Can you protect the traverse from the Gervasutti pillar to the Supercouloir? Do we need a few friends or are there bolts/belays for the rock part?
Ric Potter 03 Feb 2011
In reply to francoise call: hi francoise. when we did it there were odd bits of old and worn fixed rope, so apart from a few in situ pegs it was all nuts and friends to protect as we didn't fancy hauling on the ropes much. the traverse across is quite easy - an exposed snow ramp.
Kane 03 Feb 2011
In reply to ric potter: Hi Ric, What decent would you recommend if you continued to the summit at this time of year?
Cheers,
Kane
 JR 03 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

We were planning on doing it early next week! Now we'll be doing it with the world and his climbing partner by the looks of things. What condition is the direct in at the moment?
 Rubbishy 03 Feb 2011
In reply to francoisecall:

Hi Francoise

It is one of those routes I have wanted to do for years - along with the Shroud.

I hope to be out a little late in the season if you are around - my only caveat is that I am a crap skier


and a punter :P

 Jon Bracey 03 Feb 2011
In reply to JR: The direct start is looking very dry at the moment so prob best to start up the Gervassuti pillar
 Aly 03 Feb 2011
In reply to francoisecall: I did the Gervasutti start last season although there didn't seem to be any way onto the rock as per the guidebook (which says access the rock from up and right a bit) so we followed the crest of the ridge from the very bottom (couple of rather thin mixed pitches until we were back on route). There are plenty of pieces of fixed gear where you need it (and peg/bolt belays), although a set of wires certainly wouldn't go amiss. No fixed ropes (this must have been March/April) when we were on it.

From the top of the rock pitches (just above the narrow corner) an easy snow traverse (~60m) leads over to the base of the ice, you will have no problems with that section if you've got there.
HTH
In reply to John Rushby:
>
> along with the Shroud.
>
Why do you want to climb 1000m of Scottish II/III... I've done it and it was hideous.
 Aly 03 Feb 2011
In reply to Tom Ripley:
> (In reply to John Rushby)
> [...]
> Why do you want to climb 1000m of Scottish II/III... I've done it and it was hideous.

Without wanting to be insulting, why did you climb it then? I'd like to do the Shroud too. Why? Well, it's an impressive line on a pretty spectacular mountain. And to climb it you have to prove that you are not only a competent climber, but that you are also a competent mountaineer - able to access a fairly remote route, and safely get yourself off the summit of a mountain without an obvious 'voie normale'.
 francoisecall 04 Feb 2011
In reply to John Rushby:

I don't walk. So you can go the night before, set up a fixed rope on the rock climbing bit, leave all the ice climbing equipement at the beginning of the ice pitches - I am bit nervous about rock climbing with my ski touring boots -, then bivvy at the bottom. There is a snow slope you can make a platform on. In the morning I will come with the first cable car with some fresh croissants and coffee..... We can then jumar up to the ice.

 Michael Ryan 04 Feb 2011
In reply to Tom Ripley:
> (In reply to John Rushby)
> [...]
> Why do you want to climb 1000m of Scottish II/III... I've done it and it was hideous.

What may be hideous for you, maybe a complete joy to others. Why start judging?

 mattrm 04 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

Out of interest what do you do with your skis? Carry them on the climb? Or stash at the bottom of the route? I've never done any alpine stuff and this always seems like a problem to me. I can't imagine it's fun to climb with the ski's on, but I can't imagine it's fun to get to the bottom of the route without them.
 southern sam 04 Feb 2011
In reply to Tom Ripley:
> (In reply to John Rushby)
> [...]
> Why do you want to climb 1000m of Scottish II/III... I've done it and it was hideous.

Congratulations on coming across as a condescending know it all moron again Tom!
Ric Potter 04 Feb 2011
In reply to Kane: Hi Kane.
The descent down the normal route (NW slopes) is often straightforward as long as there is no/low avalanche risk . I would recommend checking that there is a track in - which you can see when you descend from the midi station - or check with the ohm in chamonix re conditions.
Ric Potter 04 Feb 2011
In reply to mattrm: It's always tricky - but with this route I think it's easiest to leave your skis at the bottom and either abseil back to them or walk back round to them (If you go over the top). Now that mountaineering boots are lighter I have taken to carrying them to climb in and leaving my ski boots with the skis.
In reply to Aly:
> (In reply to Tom Ripley)
> [...]
>
> Without wanting to be insulting, why did you climb it then?

Because it is pretty much the easiest route on the best looking north face in the Alps.

All I can remember is it was a fairly mundane, calf pumping trudge. There is no gear on it either, it's all snow ice, so you might as well solo it.

To be fair it was one of my earlier alpine routes and I made a lot of mistakes. If I went back there now, fitter, with the right partner I'd probably have fonder memories.

Still I'd rather do the Colton-Mac...
 Simon Caldwell 04 Feb 2011
In reply to Tom Ripley:
> Why do you want to climb 1000m of Scottish II/III... I've done it and it was hideous.

1000m of II/III sounds fantastic - thanks for the suggestion!
 Rubbishy 04 Feb 2011
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Well done you.

I suspect if you were chocolate, you would eat yourself.

Maybe when your voice breaks and your balls drop you might understand people climb for a variety of reasons, not necessarily to push a grade or wave their cock in the MBC.

In reply to John Rushby: Jesus... all I said was I'd done it and wouldn't recommend it... Go and climb the Shroud, by all means, I'm sure it will amazing for you.
Kane 04 Feb 2011
In reply to ric potter: Cheers. Any suggestions if the VN is not an option? A high avalanche risk seems to be quite common on it during Jan/Feb.
 Rob Jarvis 04 Feb 2011
In reply to Jon Bracey:

Nice one Ric, I have uploaded a photo of the Supercouloir including a very dry direct start, taken from the Vallee Blanche today, it should appear on my UKC gallery soon:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/author.html?id=12247

There is a team on the 2nd ice pitch.

When fellow BMG Guide Mark Thomas and myself did it at Christmas quite a few years ago we took full winter bivvi gear and bivvied at the top of the couloir.....for about 45 minutes. After a packet of soup we got a bit cold and bored and started climbing again!

There was a bit of helpful ice on the direct start then and it gave two excellent pitches of Scottish VI. It's a great route and an amazing feature of this impressive face. I've always thought it was worth topping out on although it is a bit of a 'ball ache' compared to rapping back to your skis and popping down to Chambre Neuf!

 francoisecall 04 Feb 2011
In reply to ric potter: You wold not either climb wih ski boots or ski with mountain boots?
Ric Potter 05 Feb 2011
In reply to Kane: rap down after the steep parts if so
 Milesy 05 Feb 2011
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Good climber you maybe but you have a lot of maturing to do. What a crap attitude. Not everyone climbs at, or wants to climb at a higher grade. I would love to do the Supercouloir.
 nb 05 Feb 2011
In reply to Kane:

Go down the north ridge to the top of the Triangle then down-climb and rap the Chéré couloir. It helps (a lot!) if you've done the Chéré and know the rap line.
In reply to Tom Ripley:
> (In reply to John Rushby) Jesus... all I said was I'd done it and wouldn't recommend it... Go and climb the Shroud, by all means, I'm sure it will amazing for you.

Actually that isn't what you said at all. You said you'd done it and "it was hideous", and implied that it was a bit easy to be of any consequence. Which is a clever way of nearly saying the same thing, whilst coming across as a condescending arse. Well done.
 francoisecall 05 Feb 2011
In reply to nb: Very hard to find the line from the top! Because even if you have climbed the Chere loads of times how often does one top out? Me never.
 francoisecall 05 Feb 2011
In reply to victim of mathematics: Actually Tom has go a point: a long snow plod (not that I have done the Shroud!) can be incredibly boring. I remember practically falling asleep on some. Very tedious, very repetitive. And an incredible feeling of exposure. I have done lesser routes that I have then skied and I thought they were much more challenging than harder technical routes where you always a rope and some protection.
 Simon Caldwell 05 Feb 2011
In reply to francoisecall:
> Very tedious ... And an incredible feeling of exposure.

To me, these two statements are contradictory!
 ColdWill 05 Feb 2011
In reply to victim of mathematics:Hideous - adjective
grossly offensive to decency or morality; causing horror; subjected to outrageous cruelty; a hideous pattern of injustice; horrific conditions in the mining industry;
so extremely ugly as to be terrifying; a hideous scar; a repulsive mask;
synonyms
horrid, horrific, outrageous, repulsive

I don't think this implies it was easy for him and of no consequence. The shroud could be a killer, not the place to have a crampon come off or drop a tool, in fact probably not good for anyone with any doubt in their own competence.

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