Rockfax Description
IV, 450m. A breathtaking line that does what it says on the tin - finds a plumb line straight up the towering east face. As with its neighbour, the first ascensionists did not use bolts to find their way up this steep and imposing route. Even harder for the modern climber to comprehend is that they will also have been without large cams, which you will be glad you carried! Having a lightweight axe is also recommended as some of the cracks on the final few pitches are often iced up, even in the height of summer, as they are on the north face and receive very little sun.
Start immediately below and right of a large overhang, 35m up the wall.
1) 5a, 25m. Slabby ground leads to a stance in a notch.
2) 4a, 30m. Step left out of the notch and follow the wide crack.
3) 5c, 20m. Continue up the crack and belay just left of a small overhang.
4) 6b, 25m. Climb the fantastic corner to belay on a block.
5) 6a, 35m. More of the same but slightly easier. The corner keeps on coming with sustained, superb climbing. Belay below the two roofs which split the face at roughly 1/3 height.
6) 6b, 30m. Climb the slab to join pitch 8 of the Bonatti-Ghigo.
7) 6b, 20m. Continue up steep cracks and climb past an overhang by avoiding it on the right. This is pitch 9 of the Bonatti-Ghigo.
8) 6c, 20m. Follow a curving crack right to a stance below an imposing, wide corner-crack.
9) 6c, 40m. Climb up to reach the corner and follow this out rightwards via some strenuous moves, at which point those big cams will not seem nearly as much of a burden. Above, easier moves lead up and rightwards to the large ledge where the route once again meets the Bonatti-Ghigo.
(In order to avoid the upcoming cold and often icy pitches on the north face, many teams finish up the Bonatti-Ghigo. This allows you to continue climbing in the sun but does mean that you have to tackle some pretty stiff climbing, which is arguably harder than anything you will have done thus far).
10) 6a, 30m. The wide crack above the ledge is easier than it first appears, luckily!
11) 5c, 30m. Continue up the crack system on slightly easier ground, passing just right of a small overhang, to move onto the fairly inhospitable (especially in rockboots!) north face.
12 - 14) Climb cracks on the north face, finding the line of least resistance and ice to join the low-angled terrain that the Bonatti-Ghigo takes to reach the summit. The exact line will vary but you shouldn't encounter anything harder than 6a. If everything is dry, climb 10m to the right of where the north face meets the east face, up a series of wide chimneys. These will be desperate when icy and you may be forced to venture further right in search of something climbable.
Descent - The best descent is by abseil down the a combination of the belays of Voyage selon Gulliver and a neighbouring (undescribed) line called L'√Člixir d'Astaroth. It takes a direct line and has well-equipped belays which lead you back to the end of pitch 4 of the Swiss Route, from where it is possible to descend via the line of ascent. 2 x 50m ropes are necessary for the abseil lines. The peak is covered in many other routes so there are belays everywhere. Try to stick to a line when descending in order to avoid getting a rope stuck or abseiling into overhanging terrain. It is also possible to abseil down O Sole Mio, an undescribed route to the left of the Swiss Route. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
Big crack system on rhs of east face

Boivin, Bellin, Moioli Jul/1983

Ticklists: Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif, Euro Alpine Rock.

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Neil McA 02/Jul/86 AltLd

Great route. Our biggest cam was a friend 3 which was not big enough allowing us to fully enjoy some additional commitment on the wider crack pitches. The top 2 pitches can feel cold in the shade.

with Andy Perkins
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