Rockfax Description
III, 800m, 2 days. A long and classic route, which is one of the most clearly visible routes from the valley. The appeal of sitting in town with a beer and telling anyone who'll listen that you've climbed this should not be underestimated!
Approach - Descend from the lift down to the Col des Grands Montets and climb the initial part of the Petite Aiguille Verte's Northwest Ridge. The route description begins from the bergschrund on that route.
1) Cross the bergschrund on the Petite Aiguille Verte's Northwest Ridge and climb easily up to the curved snow ridge just before the exposed snow traverse. Cut off the ridge rightwards and descend slightly for 30m to reach a vague ledge system.
2) Follow the ledge system as it traverses across the Glacier du Nant Blanc side of the ridge. It ascends in places and also descends briefly but the exact line will depend on where you can find the most solid rock, which will vary from year to year. The rock quality is not what it might be, but protection can usually be found throughout and if you pick a good line the whole thing shouldn't feel too dangerous. After crossing a wide gully, descend slightly and then make sure you take the higher of the two ledge systems - don't descend towards the Glacier du Nant Blanc.
3) After roughly 2 hours of traversing, the ledge system ends at the foot of a chimney. Climb this for 60m to reach the notch just to the north of Pointe Farrar.
4) Cross onto the Glacier d'Argentière side of the ridge and traverse broken slabs easily to reach a notch just before the Aiguille Carrée.
5) 5a. Climb the Aiguille Carrée via a deep, thrutchy chimney (which is only graded 5a but, with a rucksack on, can feel pretty physical) to reach some slabs on the Nant Blanc side. Climb a steep crack on the left to reach the true summit of the Aiguille Carrée.
6) From the top of the Carrée, downclimb on the Argentière side to reach an abseil anchor. Make a 20m abseil to the col between the Carrée and Ségogne. Do not climb directly up the ridge, instead traverse horizontally on the Argentière side. Just around the corner is a snow and ice gully (two ice axes may be useful depending on conditions). Climb it to reach a snow patch.
7) 5a. Traverse left on the Argentière side, through a section of bad rock, then go around a pillar and climb steeply around big blocks to reach a good ledge at the foot of a giant slab on the right-hand side of the ridge. Traverse the slab to the distinctive hand-crack and climb it to the crest (5a).
8) To reach the summit and its abseil anchors, traverse right to the crack and climb it easily if it's dry. Alternatively, climb straight up the ridgeline, which means 15m of totally unprotectable 5a slab climbing! Make two abseils on the Argentière side (25m then 30m) to reach a snow slope which leads easily to the Col du Nant Blanc. There are plenty of good bivouac sites, so settle in and get some sleep because you'll need an early start the next day!
If the unprotectable 5a slab is too snowy, or you are pushed for time, it is possible to avoid the Pointe Ségogne entirely by making a snowy traverse on the Argentière side of the ridge from the top of the ice gully described on section 6) to the foot of the two abseils.
9) Drag yourself out of your sleeping bag and climb the summit snow slope (50 - 60 degrees), picking the best route you can find through the various seracs and crevasses. In good conditions this should take 1 - 2 hours. If descending the Whymper Couloir, you should aim to hit the summit at dawn. If heading down the Moine Ridge you can afford a slightly later start but still need to be shifting if you're planning on making the last train down from the Montenvers.
The summit is incredible and enjoys stunning views of virtually the whole massif. Local guides insist that you are not a 'vrai alpiniste' (real alpinist) until you've climbed the Verte so take a minute to pat yourself on the back before commencing the descent.
Descent - Descend either the Whymper Couloir or the Moine Ridge into the Talèfre Basin. The Whymper suffers from rockfall and also needs stable snow, plus an early start - if the sun has been up for an hour or so by the time you get to the top of it, you're probably already too late. Descending the Moine Ridge is long but relatively safe. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
The rocky Grands Montets ridge rise from behind the Petite Aiguille Verte in a long sweep up the the snow slopes of the Verte itself. The route follows ledges on both sides of the ridge turning most of the Points and gendarmes along the way. Route no. 74 of the Rebuffat 100 finest.

P. Dalloz, J. Lagarde and H de Segogne 09/Aug/1925

Ticklists

Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50, Big Routes, Alpine Dreamz

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Logged Ascents

User Date Style Notes & Partners
Cam Bevan 8 Jul, 2018 AltLd
matt3402 29 Jun, 2018 -
with Nashty6
with Nashty6
Nashty6 29 Jun, 2018 Lead
Hidden 19 Jun, 2018 AltLd
Tim Ford 19 Jun, 2018 AltLd dnf A real epic and one that could easily have ended worse than it did. Started off the day well enough just before we go on the route I found a walking axe buried in the snow from last year. From that point we had to traverse snow slopes that had started to soften up, once past them we struggled to see the ledge system that the guidebook described, we decided to stop simu climbing and i started to belay my partner across a gully and onto the rock, which was going fine up until he grabbed a rock at least three times the size of him which proceeded to topple over with him holding it, luckily he fell to the side and grabbed hold of the ledge to prevent him going too far down, he proceeded to carry on the line we had chosen only to find that about 30 meters further on it became blank and too loose, so he down climbed back to the ledge and belayed me over. He needed a well deserved break to i decided to climb up the gully to get a bit higher where i could see potentially another part of the ledge system, this was not fun as the snow kept collapsing under me until i got to the rock. Once i belayed my partner up i started to climb across found some tat and went upwards of it where the line looked best. This had to have been the best climbing i have done to date as the rock was all very loose and b3's don't help a huge amount with grip. We get to the top of the ridge and talk we had been on the route 8 hours and were struggling to get anywhere and with the added addition of the loose rock we were exhausted and decided enough was enough and that we would ab off the route onto the glacier. We started to down climb to the tat we had seen earlier, i went second to clean the route until the last few meters where i went down and clipped into a sling i put round a rock. My partner when climbing down stepped on a rock about the size of me that came down i tried to push it away but it hit me in the jaw, wrist and shoulder, cutting my wrist pretty badly. I bandaged my wrist up and found the rope had been cut in 6 places making it a bit of a dodgy 20 meter rope. We called our mate to see what info he could find on our decent and to inform him what had happened and started our decent doing very short abseils about an hour later our mate called saying if we got onto the glacier there would be a lot of crevasses and a cery difficult descent once off it and that we should call mountain rescue which we did they came for us and winched us off the mountain and we were at the valley floor in 5 minutes. They gave us a lift to the campsite and i needed 6 stitches. Not a route i would recommend at the moment there is a ton of loose rock and the ledge system that the book describes didn't appear to exist although this might have been covered by fallen rock. Very lucky to come back in one piece and a massive thankyou to the french mountain rescue who hauled us back to safety.
A real epic and one that could easily have ended worse than it did. Started off the day well enough just before we go on the route I found a walking axe buried in the snow from last year. From that point we had to traverse snow slopes that had started to soften up, once past them we struggled to see the ledge system that the guidebook described, we decided to stop simu climbing and i started to belay my partner across a gully and onto the rock, which was going fine up until he grabbed a rock at least three times the size of him which proceeded to topple over with him holding it, luckily he fell to the side and grabbed hold of the ledge to prevent him going too far down, he proceeded to carry on the line we had chosen only to find that about 30 meters further on it became blank and too loose, so he down climbed back to the ledge and belayed me over. He needed a well deserved break to i decided to climb up the gully to get a bit higher where i could see potentially another part of the ledge system, this was not fun as the snow kept collapsing under me until i got to the rock. Once i belayed my partner up i started to climb across found some tat and went upwards of it where the line looked best. This had to have been the best climbing i have done to date as the rock was all very loose and b3's don't help a huge amount with grip. We get to the top of the ridge and talk we had been on the route 8 hours and were struggling to get anywhere and with the added addition of the loose rock we were exhausted and decided enough was enough and that we would ab off the route onto the glacier. We started to down climb to the tat we had seen earlier, i went second to clean the route until the last few meters where i went down and clipped into a sling i put round a rock. My partner when climbing down stepped on a rock about the size of me that came down i tried to push it away but it hit me in the jaw, wrist and shoulder, cutting my wrist pretty badly. I bandaged my wrist up and found the rope had been cut in 6 places making it a bit of a dodgy 20 meter rope. We called our mate to see what info he could find on our decent and to inform him what had happened and started our decent doing very short abseils about an hour later our mate called saying if we got onto the glacier there would be a lot of crevasses and a cery difficult descent once off it and that we should call mountain rescue which we did they came for us and winched us off the mountain and we were at the valley floor in 5 minutes. They gave us a lift to the campsite and i needed 6 stitches. Not a route i would recommend at the moment there is a ton of loose rock and the ledge system that the book describes didn't appear to exist although this might have been covered by fallen rock. Very lucky to come back in one piece and a massive thankyou to the french mountain rescue who hauled us back to safety.
Hugh Irving 28 Aug, 2017 AltLd O/S
with davkeo
with davkeo
davkeo 28 Aug, 2017 AltLd O/S Long 2 days. Had to wait out some passing rain under a boulder early on ascent. Went too close to the ridge on 2 occasions & rapped back down to the ledgey traverse. Not obvious & descriptions aren't great. Prob better just following ur nose until Pointe Farrar. Got involved in some quite tricky & loose terrain which is not my favourite combo. Did a chimney pitch which required me to take off my rucksack & stuff it through ahead of me before I cud climb on. Physical. Off route perhaps. The climbing from after the Aig. Carree (crossing a gully) to regain the ridge was just awful, loose, tricky & precarious. Got to bivi on col du nant at 11pm which saw us climbing the slabs in the dark. V good bivi spot. Started late & took just over 2 hours to reach summit. Descent down Moine wasn't as bad as anticipated but was extremely loose. Stayed on route & reached glacier after 5.5hrs downclimbing & abseiling. Walked back down to Cham via the train tracks by 10pm & hitched back to van at GM. A lot of descent!
Long 2 days. Had to wait out some passing rain under a boulder early on ascent. Went too close to the ridge on 2 occasions & rapped back down to the ledgey traverse. Not obvious & descriptions aren't great. Prob better just following ur nose until Pointe Farrar. Got involved in some quite tricky & loose terrain which is not my favourite combo. Did a chimney pitch which required me to take off my rucksack & stuff it through ahead of me before I cud climb on. Physical. Off route perhaps. The climbing from after the Aig. Carree (crossing a gully) to regain the ridge was just awful, loose, tricky & precarious. Got to bivi on col du nant at 11pm which saw us climbing the slabs in the dark. V good bivi spot. Started late & took just over 2 hours to reach summit. Descent down Moine wasn't as bad as anticipated but was extremely loose. Stayed on route & reached glacier after 5.5hrs downclimbing & abseiling. Walked back down to Cham via the train tracks by 10pm & hitched back to van at GM. A lot of descent!
ndraper1 26 Aug, 2017 AltLd This route is sadly overrated. So much choss climbing involved on the ascent and descent. Pretty dangerous overall and a million miles away from all the quality climbing in the massif. Not really recommended unless you can't climb and enjoy walking on gritty ledges. 9.15 from GM to bivi 13hrs from bivi to summit, moine descent and montenvers.
This route is sadly overrated. So much choss climbing involved on the ascent and descent. Pretty dangerous overall and a million miles away from all the quality climbing in the massif. Not really recommended unless you can't climb and enjoy walking on gritty ledges. 9.15 from GM to bivi 13hrs from bivi to summit, moine descent and montenvers.
Hidden 25 Aug, 2017 AltLd
Adamski1986 23 Aug, 2017 AltLd
jimbonfire 22 Aug, 2017 AltLd O/S Over 2days, bivvy in the col nant
Over 2days, bivvy in the col nant
jamieevans 22 Aug, 2017 AltLd O/S Montets ridge is awesome, moine ridge descent however is purgatory, in a perfect world I'd wait for the whymper to be in. Take the rockfax description with a pinch of salt. Shared the route with Adam and Nicky, hope you guys got down okay.
Montets ridge is awesome, moine ridge descent however is purgatory, in a perfect world I'd wait for the whymper to be in. Take the rockfax description with a pinch of salt. Shared the route with Adam and Nicky, hope you guys got down okay.
08nbrierley 22 Aug, 2017 AltLd
Hidden 1 Sep, 2016 Solo
Hidden 26 Aug, 2016 AltLd O/S
Misha 4 Sep, 2015 AltLd dnf Mini epic in snowy conditions. Not sure we got the approach to the 'obvious ledge system' entirely right - dropped over the ridge not far below the Petite Verte summit, which involved about 30m of downclimbing. Had to keep crampons on due to fresh snow and they stayed on all day as we got progressively more snow, making things pretty slow. Didn't use axes but had to climb in gloves. The discontinuous ledge system is sort of obvious once you're on it but you have to keep an eye out for the easiest line. Five and a half hours to the notch before Pointe Farrar. Went round that ok in snowy conditions. The chimney pitch up the Carree took a long time in crampons. Got a lot of drag, best to split it half way or extend everything. Almost a full 60m from the belay in the breche but that includes a scrambling start. Fun 3D climbing on large blocks which were pretty solid. Alex did the next pitch to just beyond the Carree summit and we did three 15-20m abs off in situ tat into the notch before the Segogne. At this point it was 6.30pm so two hours before darkness, the Segogne looked super snowy, we were in the clouds, the couloir on the Argentiere side looked like a possible escape route and there was a two person ledge in the notch. We decided to stop there and reevaluate in the morning - good decision as it soon started snowing and carried on all night. A bit of s miserable bivvy as the snow falling and spindrifting off the Carree started piling up and pushing us off the ledge, as well as getting into our bivvy bags. Managed to get a few hours' sleep though. Still snowing on and off and claggy in the morning plus there had been a big powder Avalanche down the Nant Blanc face in the early hours, so it was clear we had to retreat down the couloir dropping down to the Argentiere glacier (number 288 in the Damilano guide). It looked down-climbable and so it was but it went on forever - about 500 vertical metres to the top of the Rognons glacier and another 100m down that to reach a rising rampline which we hoped would take us to the lift. Mostly steady downclimbing moving together with a piece or two between us on the full 60m rope but there were three sketchy bits which we pitched for all it was worth (stilly dodgy for the person going last). Also an ab at the start and towards the end but no in situ tat so we'd have had no gear left if we decided to ab it. The rampline led straight to the slope below the lift, thankfully without any crevasses. All in cold, claggy conditions with on/off snow, might as well have been in Scotland! All kind of steady but a lot of it and glad to be back at the lift! An experience to remember... Main lesson is don't get on serious routes on less than a good forecast - the snow was meant to come in on the afternoon of the second day but arrived early.
Mini epic in snowy conditions. Not sure we got the approach to the 'obvious ledge system' entirely right - dropped over the ridge not far below the Petite Verte summit, which involved about 30m of downclimbing. Had to keep crampons on due to fresh snow and they stayed on all day as we got progressively more snow, making things pretty slow. Didn't use axes but had to climb in gloves. The discontinuous ledge system is sort of obvious once you're on it but you have to keep an eye out for the easiest line. Five and a half hours to the notch before Pointe Farrar. Went round that ok in snowy conditions. The chimney pitch up the Carree took a long time in crampons. Got a lot of drag, best to split it half way or extend everything. Almost a full 60m from the belay in the breche but that includes a scrambling start. Fun 3D climbing on large blocks which were pretty solid. Alex did the next pitch to just beyond the Carree summit and we did three 15-20m abs off in situ tat into the notch before the Segogne. At this point it was 6.30pm so two hours before darkness, the Segogne looked super snowy, we were in the clouds, the couloir on the Argentiere side looked like a possible escape route and there was a two person ledge in the notch. We decided to stop there and reevaluate in the morning - good decision as it soon started snowing and carried on all night. A bit of s miserable bivvy as the snow falling and spindrifting off the Carree started piling up and pushing us off the ledge, as well as getting into our bivvy bags. Managed to get a few hours' sleep though. Still snowing on and off and claggy in the morning plus there had been a big powder Avalanche down the Nant Blanc face in the early hours, so it was clear we had to retreat down the couloir dropping down to the Argentiere glacier (number 288 in the Damilano guide). It looked down-climbable and so it was but it went on forever - about 500 vertical metres to the top of the Rognons glacier and another 100m down that to reach a rising rampline which we hoped would take us to the lift. Mostly steady downclimbing moving together with a piece or two between us on the full 60m rope but there were three sketchy bits which we pitched for all it was worth (stilly dodgy for the person going last). Also an ab at the start and towards the end but no in situ tat so we'd have had no gear left if we decided to ab it. The rampline led straight to the slope below the lift, thankfully without any crevasses. All in cold, claggy conditions with on/off snow, might as well have been in Scotland! All kind of steady but a lot of it and glad to be back at the lift! An experience to remember... Main lesson is don't get on serious routes on less than a good forecast - the snow was meant to come in on the afternoon of the second day but arrived early.
alexm198 4 Sep, 2015 AltLd dnf Pretty full-on conditions! So much snow that we climbed everything in crampons which made the going pretty slow. Bivvied at the col after the Aiguille Carree, got snowed on for the next 10 hours. Bailed down the North Couloir of the Carree in the morning.
with Misha
Pretty full-on conditions! So much snow that we climbed everything in crampons which made the going pretty slow. Bivvied at the col after the Aiguille Carree, got snowed on for the next 10 hours. Bailed down the North Couloir of the Carree in the morning.
with Misha
davebrox 20 Jul, 2015 AltLd O/S Bivi
with Luke
Bivi
with Luke
Hidden 15 Jul, 2014 AltLd dnf
Hidden ??, 2013 -
Alexandre Buisse 10 Aug, 2012 AltLd O/S Extremely complete climb, with choss, mixed, chimneys, snow, ice gullies, slabs, cracks... you name it. 11h for the rock part, 1h for the glacier to the summit, 5h to abseil the whymper.
Extremely complete climb, with choss, mixed, chimneys, snow, ice gullies, slabs, cracks... you name it. 11h for the rock part, 1h for the glacier to the summit, 5h to abseil the whymper.
reg_measures 13 Jul, 2003 -
with timmy & steve
with timmy & steve
andy_pemberton ?Jul, 1999 - A great 2 day adventure. Day one up cablecar and along ridge to end of rock after the Pointe de Segogne. Bivvy (cold). Then next day up the snow slopes to summit and down Whymper Couloir and a long walk back to the train. It's much better than the write up in the rebuffat guide suggests!
with Jon Scorer
A great 2 day adventure. Day one up cablecar and along ridge to end of rock after the Pointe de Segogne. Bivvy (cold). Then next day up the snow slopes to summit and down Whymper Couloir and a long walk back to the train. It's much better than the write up in the rebuffat guide suggests!
with Jon Scorer
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