Rockfax Description
V, 900m, 1 day. One of the great alpine climbs. Aid was used on the first ascent and most teams still climb it this way but it can be free climbed at 7a+. Given the physical nature of the climbing on the crux pitch, and the fact that you're at nearly 4500m, your ethics will need to be as strong as your arms if you're to attempt a free ascent!
Go to the northern end of the Col Eccles, follow a line of fixed abseil anchors down towards the Frêney Glacier, and then traverse above the bergschrund to the foot of the pillar. Getting onto the Frêney Glacier and crossing it is extremely serious and exposed to rockfall. Ideally the approach to this route should be done in the dark so as to minimise rockfall danger.
1) Scramble up a snow/mixed ramp to reach a detached flake which marks the start of the route proper.
2) 4b. Climb a pitch up the left-hand side of the flake (4b) and then continue up two further 4b pitches to reach a snowy ledge. Scramble up this ledge and some blocky mixed ground above it to reach the next belay, beneath a left-leaning slabby ramp system.
3) 5b. Go up the ramp system for 35m (4c, excellent) to a stance below and right of a chimney. Climb the chimney (5b, physical) and follow it through an overhang, which is marked by countless pegs, to reach a snowy couloir
4) 4b. Climb up the snowy couloir (4b, very condition-dependent) and branch left out of it by following a line of weakness up and left (4b). This line comes back right and finally left again, to reach a right-leaning crack.
5) 5b. Climb the crack (5b) to reach the famous snow arête which separates the lower part of the pillar from the Chandelle - the steepest and toughest part of the route. Teeter across the snow ridge and scramble up and left to the foot of a corner marking the start of the Chandelle. Possible bivvi here.
6) 5c/A1 or 7a. Go up the corner (5c) to a ledge. Climb the steep crack (5c, with quite a bit of A0/A1 aid - 7a if done free) to the left of the ledge to belay beneath the crux overhangs. Go straight up to the overhangs and then traverse out right (7a if free, 5c/A1 for mortals) underneath a roof to a staggeringly exposed stance in a chimney system. Climb the steep peg-filled groove that leads into wide, overhanging, crack/chimney. Battle up through this by pulling on various bits of old gear to a stance above the overhang, with a superb view of the pitch you've just climbed. The pitch gets 5c/A1 but reputedly goes free at 7a+ for those finding aiding it too easy. It can be icy as it is one of the few parts of the pillar which is mainly in the shade, but it is so full of in-situ gear that (unless you're trying to free it) a bit of ice isn't a big problem.
7) 5b. Climb a 5m wall to reach a ledge and follow this leftwards to a chimney. Go up this (4c) and the slab above (5b) to reach the top of the pillar.
8) Make a short abseil down onto mixed ground and follow this to the Brouillard Ridge.
Descent - Follow the Brouillard Ridge to a 30m rock step. Avoid this on the left then continue up a stunning but easy snow ridge to Mont Blanc de Courmayeur (4748m) and onto Mont Blanc itself. Descend either the Trois Monts Route, Goûter Route or Pope Route from the summit of Mont Blanc. © Rockfax

Ticklists: Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50, Alpine Grande Courses.

piken 13/Aug/16 AltLd dnf

Too much snow......All the easy ledges and belays were covered with loose sugary snow

with Andy
walts4 ??/2013 -
daveyzxcv 28/Aug/12 AltLd
James Thacker 19/Aug/12 -
with Keith Ball, Tim Neill
Hidden 19/Jul/10 -
Hidden ??/2010 -
lukehunt 06/Aug/09 Lead O/S
with Tom Ripley
hamish2016 06/Aug/09 AltLd O/S

Climbed with Jack but luke and tom also on the route with us. LONG queues on the chandelle. Beautiful way to summit mont blanc.

with Jack Metcalf, (Tom Ripley, Luke Hunt)
Hidden 06/Aug/09 AltLd O/S
Hidden ?/Aug/89 AltLd
frank ramsay ??/1988 Lead
Gerard DANTEC ?/Jul/87 AltLd
with Patrick de RAED
Neil McA 11/Jul/85 AltLd O/S

My best ever day in the mountains? Started at midnight from the Col du la Forche bivi and got to the col on the peuterey before dawn, brewed then crossed to the pillar. As it was dark we had not noticed how snowed up it was! We ended up climbing the route in our plastic boots as all the ledges were covered in deep soft snow. At least we had the whole route to ourselves! Clouds, lower temps and wind caught us on the last 2 pitches of the chandalle and Andy slipped off the last move of the last pitch and took a 30+m head first fall going straight past my belay into the cloud. He got back on and re-led it, good effort! The mixed ridge above was very snowy and hard work and we eventually bivied in some rocks on the summit of Mont Blanc du Cormayeur after 23 hours on the go. Brilliant memories!

with Andy Perkins
Simon Richardson 14/Jul/82 AltLd
with Roger Everett
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