Rockfax Description
IV, 1700m, 1 day. Sometimes known as the 'Italian Normal Route' or the 'Route des Aiguilles Grises', this is a superb but serious journey for the low-grade alpinist. First 'de-scensionist', Achille Ratti, went on to become the Pope in 1921, hence the adopted name of this route. We are unaware of any other popes to have pioneered new alpine routes. The route starts from the Rifugio Gonella.
1) Go due north from the hut, across exposed scree and snow slopes (which are worth looking at the night before) to reach the Glacier du Dôme.
2) Climb the glacier (on the left initially) before moving out into the middle. Then come back left to reach the Col des Aiguilles Grises. The exact line taken here will depend on conditions on the glacier, so plenty of experience of route finding in crevassed terrain is vital. If conditions are very dry, it is possible to climb on the rocky ridge of the Aiguilles Grises itself to reach the col.
3) Follow the stunning and occasionally narrow snowy ridge to the Piton des Italiens.
4) Continue along the snowy ridge (which can be corniced so take care) to the Dôme du Goûter.
5) From here the route joins the Goûter Route to the top of Mont Blanc. Descend gently to the Col des Dômes, at the foot of the Bosses Ridge.
6) 100m of steep snow leads up to the Bivouac Vallot.
7) Having passed to the right of the Bivouac Vallot, a short, steep snow slope leads to the two distinctive 'bosses' (humps) which mark the beginning of the Bosses Ridge. Go over the Grande Bosse and the Petite Bosse (which, confusingly enough, is the higher of the two) and follow the stunning and exposed snow ridge to the summit, staying mainly on the west side of the ridge.
Descent - Descend either the Goûter Route or the Trois Monts Route. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
Also known as Aiguilles Grises Route and the Italian Normal Route.

Ticklists: Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif.

tmwltn 29/Aug/16 -

Great route although very long. The condition of the glacier was just about okay, although we didn't fancy descending back down it in the afternoon, so opted for the traverse down to the Tete Rouse hut.

Hidden 08/Aug/16 -
Hidden 04/Aug/16 -
Michael 29/Jul/16 -
Nic DW 18/Jul/14 -

Quite sketchy- Lots of seracs and crevasses to pass!

with Joe Garret
Hidden ??/2011 -
Hidden 19/Jul/06 2nd O/S
sacdenouilles 27/Aug/05 Lead
with Aurelie guinard
Hidden 15/Sep/03 AltLd
Maarten2 ??/1988 Lead

Wonderful climb, very scenic - with a very scenic hut approach the day before. A lot of crevasses in the dark - full moon did help. The ridge is great at least until you hit the French Normal Route - then just plodding on. hut was nice & quite - no hassle. Can really recommend it, but glacier, may have changed... Need to check date details. Descended to mid-Aiguille Station

bobelvedere 31/Jul/85 -
with Claus Sabroe, Helle Wulff Christensen
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