Rockfax Description
III, 350m, 3 - 5 hours. A real classic, and a popular 'first alpine north face'. The face is often icy in mid-winter whilst in spring it is regularly skied and can be very snowy. (It is worth pausing on the top snowfield to consider how glad you are to have crampons on instead of skis!) The best climbing conditions are usually found in June and early July before the face gets too dry and icy in the height of the summer heat. Be aware that the face suffers from rockfall when the sun hits the upper slopes, so an early, pre-dawn start is essential.
Approach - From the Helbronner lift, cross the Col des Flambeux and descend west to pass under the Aiguille de Toule North Face. Continue in this direction over the Col d'Entrèves and traverse around under the face - 1 hour from Helbronner lift.
1) Cross the bergschrund (often the crux of the route!) on the right-hand side of the face.
2) Climb the lower snow slope (45 degrees) to reach the foot of the steep gully that splits the face and usually forms the crux of the route.
3) In good conditions the gully will present minimal difficulty and is enjoyable Scottish grade III ice. It can, however, be calf-burning black ice, albeit not too technically difficult. There are intermediate belays on the banks of the gully.
4) Exit the gully by a step right onto the main face and a peg belay. The upper face is straightforward (50 - 55 degrees) but can be difficult to protect in snowy conditions, and it is necessary to maintain concentration despite inevitable fatigue.
5) At the top of the face, follow the excellent airy ridge to a short downclimb and then a mixed traverse around to Southeast Ridge. Follow this to the summit.
Descent - Down the Southeast Ridge. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
The North Face is about 400 m high (10 to 12 pitches) with ice continuously up to 60° with an average of 52°.
In the middle the face narrows to an icy couloir and then opens again for the upper slopes. It is here that it steepens up to 60°.
It is best to stay at the right side close to the rocks to get good belay's.
The summit is normally reached by going left of the rocks and joining the normal route over the south-east ridge

Ticklists: Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif, ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50.

Rob Royle 14/Apr 2nd

Great day, fantastic conditions on the face, moved together for the whole route. Bottom to summit in 2hrs 10min!

with Mountain Guide
janegallwey 09/Jan AltLd
Climbingspike ??/2017 -
piken 29/Dec/16 AltLd

8.30 cable car, 9.40 at the berg, 11.30 at the summit, 12:50 drinking beer. Great day

with Andy
Mr. K 28/Dec/16 AltLd

Alt leads on the two middle chimney pitches, otherwise moving together. Difficult snow and ice conditions on the upper snowfield, that was the crux on the day.

bencoope 18/Dec/16 Lead
andymcronald 16/Dec/16 2nd
Rob Pitt 04/Oct/16 AltLd O/S
with Guy, Lou
guy757 04/Oct/16 -
Hidden 27/Jul/16 AltLd
Mr Fuller 07/Jul/16 AltLd O/S

Big objective ticked! Brilliant route, continuous interest. Moved together on Scottish II for approx 100 m, then 150 m Scottish II/III and then 50 m of Scottish III/IV, before further 150 m of Scottish II (approximately!).

with Scott
Scott Anderson 07/Jul/16 AltLd

My first North Face and the best mountain route I've ever done. Exceptional!

with Matt
Keith Lambley 04/Jul/16 -
with Kate R
Rhys Deane ?/Jul/16 -

Great route, Delayed starting route after finding fresh avalanche at base of route and had difficultly crossing in pitch black.

with Nikos Roidos
Nemo9 23/Jun/16 AltLd

Crux was getting over bergshrund as snow wasn't frozen. Good ice in narrows gave a couple of good pitches by continuing up to the left before traversing on to upper snow field.

with Col
calumhicks 06/Jun/16 AltLd O/S

Simply awesome. We had amazing weather for both the bivy and climb

Hugh Simons 06/Jun/16 AltLd O/S

Moved together the whole way. Started climbing at 05.30, topped out at 8.00am. Stunning day. Great route, one to remember.

ndraper1 28/Jan/16 AltLd

Attempting 'Marite' (90deg M7) which heades directly up from the left of the snow field, but bailed due to loose, chossy summer conditions.

with Mike
Hidden 27/Sep/15 AltLd O/S
Hidden 28/Jun/15 AltLd O/S
paulmck 17/Jun/15 2nd O/S
with Neil Johnston
Hidden 12/May/15 AltLd O/S
danfitz 13/Apr/15 AltLd O/S
with Pete Houghton
Pete Houghton 13/Apr/15 AltLd

Left skis at the bottom, great climbing on the north face, rapped the Gervasutti and walked back to our skis. Missed the last bubble to Montenvers by about twelve minutes, walked back down to Cham on the 80% dry James Bond trail. Solid exercise, top day out.

with Dan Fitzgerald
robgixer 28/Mar/15 AltLd
Big Lee 28/Mar/15 AltLd O/S

Lower face was holding some soft snow, which made going slow, but the ice in the couloir was good and the upper face neve was excellent. Continued to the top.

joelevanschamonix ??/2015 -
easers 31/Oct/14 AltLd

Fantastic conditions on a great looking line

with Doug
Dougbart 30/Oct/14 -
with Iain
winter hill1 24/Sep/14 -
Alpenglow 09/Sep/14 AltLd

Soloed the lower section and pitched most of the rest. Caught out in a small snowstorm. On the descent, we had to leave a rope after it got stuck whilst abbing down the couloir - bit of an epic!

with Tom L
wilkinscl 04/Sep/14 AltLd O/S
morpcat 04/Sep/14 AltLd O/S

As two ropes of two. Clagged in at the top and the route around the back to the summit wasn't tracked in and immediately obvious, which led to some interesting route-finding decisions.

7toes 04/Sep/14 -
with DamianR
Gumery 03/Sep/14 AltLd O/S
with Caroline
Callum Smith 22/Aug/14 AltLd

Pitched middle, went left up gully to final snowfield. Wicked conditions. ��

JHolland 21/Aug/14 -
Tom Campbell 21/Aug/14 -


David Staples 18/Aug/14 2nd O/S
Hidden 17/Aug/14 AltLd
alastairbegley 12/Aug/14 AltLd

First alpine north face, fantastic route! Lots of ice which made the climbing great fun. http://www.masterplan-mountaineering.co.uk/2014/08/tour-ronde-north-face/

Slick 12/Aug/14 AltLd
Timothy Miller 12/Aug/14 AltLd O/S
darcan 07/Aug/14 AltLd
Bristol_Quornstar 06/Aug/14 AltLd O/S
with Paolo Intropido
Roberttaylor 06/Aug/14 Solo O/S

Perfect conditions. Started at 0400, 1h40m from bergschrund to summit. Descended normal route then E face.

Hidden 16/Jul/14 Solo
Hidden ?/Jul/14 AltLd
HosteDenis ?/Jul/14 AltLd O/S
niallsash 18/Jun/14 -
Olli-C 17/Jun/14 AltLd O/S

Lots of spindrift,ice was a little mushy at times. Took a gully to the left after the crux pitches, this felt more difficult.

joe.91 17/Jun/14 AltLd O/S

Great climb, long day. 12hr from Perroux hut back to the midi. Ice rather rotten in places with loads of spindrift coming down the face.

Hidden 06/Jun/14 Lead O/S
Nikolay C.K. Tjøstheim ?/Jun/14 Lead O/S
Hidden ?/Jun/14 -
ndraper1 18/May/14 AltLd

Climbed the difficulties then abbed back to the initial slope due to textbook thickening clouds. Skied the lower steeps in good condition.

with Joel Evans
edek_w 17/Mar/14 -

Entire face in black ice. Hard climbing insted of nice excursion.

with Blazej
mike mo ??/2014 -
joelevanschamonix 15/Jul/13 AltLd β


with alex marchant
James_L88 10/Jul/13 Lead O/S

Descended the normal route.

Rafal Malczyk 05/Jul/13 2nd O/S
with Efe Tunc
efetunc 05/Jul/13 Lead O/S

Perfect conditions on the north face: we simul-climbed with 60m rope stretched in between but set up anchors to belay after difficult sections to protect the second. We did not go through the in-situ bolts after crux but instead climbed a steep ice gully to reach the upper slope. Mushy conditions on the way down and hazardous Japanese guided group on normal route...

with Rafal Malczyk
Hidden ?/Jul/13 2nd O/S
DigitalSteak 30/Jun/13 Lead O/S

After being snowed in at the Torino for 2 days, we'd almost given up hope - then the weather broke for stunning conditions throughout. Moved together the whole way

GuitarGenius92 27/Jun/13 AltLd O/S
with will smith
ray.allwood 22/Jun/13 2nd O/S
with Andy Perkins (Guide)
Jbw 06/Jan/13 AltLd O/S

Moved together except 2 pitches in the narrow gully. Upper field perfect snow ice, started plating towards the summit. Finished in the dark and camped where we'd left our skis at the base.

with Mehdi Cherfaoui
James Thacker ??/2013 -
jcw ??/2013 -
Tobias at Home ??/2013 -
monsteratt 11/Sep/12 AltLd O/S

Moved together for whole route. Tom lead the crux pitches. Found the snow/ice very hard work. Felt much more at home on the final rock pitch. Turned into a long day (14 hours) with walk back across the vallee blanche. Exhausted!

with Tom
demarcation86 11/Sep/12 AltLd O/S

Long day as we went back to the Cosmiques Hut, according to guardian it is quicker to go back to the Torino and take the bus round to Chamonix. Cool route though, crux was probably the bergschrund. We took the direct finish.

with Monty
Hidden 22/Jul/12 -
Hidden 23/Jun/12 AltLd O/S
mark88 18/Jun/12 Lead dnf

Moved together, had to back off halfway up due to bad weather.

with Merlin Andrew
Hidden ?/Feb/12 AltLd
nvalentine760 15/Sep/11 AltLd
danJBA 15/Sep/11 AltLd O/S

Mixed variation by trending left near top

Hidden 11/Sep/11 AltLd
Hidden 29/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
Hidden 17/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
Camdenelectric 07/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
The Bad Cough 02/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
jon22 02/Aug/11 AltLd
Hidden 01/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
tlmarjot 01/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
with Ben Lea
minch ?/Aug/11 2nd O/S
Dunx 31/Jul/11 AltLd O/S
with Rob Stokes, Colin
Hidden 27/Jul/11 AltLd O/S
Timo Austino 16/Jul/11 Lead

Great route - amazing experience. Camped in the Col before the Torino Hut - got lost on the way to the bottom of the route then simu climbed in 2hrs 45..descent is ok but the short descent looked a bit iffy so opted for the longer route back along the ridge which has a great slab / handrail section... In true style my short cut got us lost on the way back too (whoops whoop but at least we checked out the descent for the entenver ridge..) Thanks Nat :)

with Nats
stratfol 02/Jul/11 Lead O/S

Gill's first ice climb, she did not want to move together. Led the face in 8 pitches. Easy 50-60' snow-ice in perfect nick.

with Gill Byrne
Hidden 27/Jun/11 Solo O/S
Jack Loftus 27/Jun/11 Solo
inuklm 26/Jun/11 -
with Kilian
Chris Sieradzki 14/Jun/11 AltLd O/S
with Koen Litjens
BorisVBlade 22/Apr/11 AltLd O/S
with Sam Thompson
Hidden 22/Apr/11 AltLd O/S
Si 19/Mar/11 AltLd
Hidden 12/Feb/11 Lead
loic.menzies ?/Feb/11 AltLd
with John roberts
maxf ?/Feb/11 -
maxf ?/Feb/11 -
Ally Baba 23/Sep/10 AltLd O/S

Qulity route, super easy.

with Kim
Hidden 11/Sep/10 Lead
James S 10/Aug/10 2nd O/S
carl_123 07/Aug/10 AltLd O/S
yellow ?/Aug/10 AltLd
Hidden 13/Jul/10 AltLd
Hidden ?/Apr/10 -
Dave Almond 17/Mar/10 Solo
Tom Livingstone ?/Mar/10 -
basvdploeg ??/2010 -
mike.moss ??/2010 AltLd O/S
with Richard
Guy Wilson ??/2010 -
clams ??/2010 -
with Litros
Misha 31/Jul/09 AltLd O/S

Good conditions yet no one else on the route. Started at 6am and took three and a half hours on the snow and ice section. Simulclimbed all the way with 25 metres of rope out, good screws and the odd nut/friend in the rocks to the side, two belays to swap leads. Direct finish over the summit rock buttress.

Stuart Johnston ?/Jul/09 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jul/09 AltLd
Jim Brooke 23/May/09 -

3:30 from camp to summit, mostly moving together, with a pitch on the steep bit and another for the final rope length

with Matt
mathquirk 23/May/09 Lead

Perfect conditions and weather from camp below the face.

with Jim Brooke
Ben Briggs ?/May/09 Solo O/S

Climbed the face and skied back down it.

with Brendan
sgl 09/Apr/09 Solo
Hidden 23/Mar/09 Lead
Tobias at Home 16/Mar/09 AltLd O/S
with Brian
Daniel Wicks 01/Jul/08 2nd O/S
with Dom
Somerset swede basher 01/Jul/08 Lead
with Dan Wicks
Dave Searle ?/Jul/08 Solo
Adam Booth 19/Jun/08 AltLd O/S
Ed Booth 19/Jun/08 AltLd
Dinger 19/Jun/08 2nd
with Martin Heaton
galpinos 07/Sep/07 AltLd
with Tim, Tim & Chris
HimTiggins 07/Sep/07 -
with Nick
Hidden 25/Aug/07 AltLd O/S
Nicos 14/Jul/07 Lead O/S
Hidden 07/Jul/07 AltLd O/S
dror ?/Jul/07 -
kevburr 20/Jun/07 2nd O/S
with Roger Payne
alpinist63 03/Feb/07 -
Bristoldave ??/2007 -
with douglas
Hidden ?/Sep/06 Lead
David Horwood 28/Aug/06 -
nickdonohue ?/Jun/06 Lead
with Dan Pike
Hidden ??/2006 -
Graham at Aston ?/Jul/04 -

Stunning climb, beautiful situation. One I had always wanted to do. Climbed moving together with a couple of ice screws placed just above the narrows and a couple more on the hard ice on the upper ice field field. Started at 2am from the Torino Hur and down before the snow was softened on the descent. We could hear British parties on the face as we crossed the Valley Blanche to the Midi - far too late to be on the route and they must have had a torrid time.

liz j ?/Sep/02 -
with neil brodie
Alpandy ?/Aug/02 AltLd O/S
with Matt Owen
Mark Stevenson 31/Jul/01 AltLd O/S
with Tim Rook
Hidden ?/Aug/00 2nd
Hidden 31/Jul/99 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jul/99 AltLd
Daniel Wrightson ??/1997 AltLd O/S
with riccardo corbini
Michael ?/Aug/96 -
Hidden 31/Jul/96 Solo
tompercy 17/Jul/95 AltLd
with Amos Preminger
crossleysm 06/Apr/95 AltLd
with Rob Cook
SteveB_NWUK_99 ??/1990 Lead O/S

Climbed without hiring a mountain guide.

pingora 04/Aug/89 Solo
davemhart ?/Aug/89 AltLd O/S
pauldrew ?/Jul/88 AltLd

First longer ice face climb - good conditions.

with John Leeming
Hidden ?/Jul/87 AltLd O/S
Hidden 22/Jul/86 AltLd O/S
Lone Rider ??/1986 AltLd
thlcr1 ?/Sep/85 AltLd

No problems over bergschrund then a rope length of reasonable neve. After that changed to rock hard black ice (argh the burn!) Rock hard ice all the way through the narrows as well so felt like 2-3 rope lengths of continuous Scottish grade III. Upper face melting grapple on top of more black ice. No way the melting layer could hold your weight but did a grand job of stopping axe and crampons from penetrating the ice. Big storm rolled in just as we hit the summit and had an epic on the descent. All in all turned out to be a tough day and much harder than I was expecting.

ukb & bmc shark 18/Aug/85 AltLd
with Phill Dickens
Gerard DANTEC ?/Jul/85 Lead
with Pierre FAVRET
Hidden ?/Jul/85 Solo O/S
Robmwatt ??/1984 AltLd
with Gaz Morgan
Hidden ?/Oct/83 -
Hidden ?/Aug/82 -
Hidden ?/Aug/82 -
Hidden ??/1980 -
Paul Clarke ??/1979 -
with NUMC
Paula Hamilton-Gibson ?/Aug/77 AltLd
with Dorothy Bogg
beaumap ?/Aug/77 2nd
with Mick
Marcus ??/1977 -
Hidden ?/Aug/76 AltLd
Derek Ryden 17/Aug/75 -
with John Kirk
uphillnow ??/1966 Lead
with charlie Tanner
oldmanofmow ?/Jul/61 -
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