Rockfax Description
III, 450m, 3 - 4 hours. An excellent mid-grade alpine route which is a perfect place to check whether you are moving well enough to tackle some of the longer routes in Chamonix. None of the terrain is especially hard but equally, not much of it is walking. Being efficient with transitions and rope work is vital if you are to make good time. Plenty of climbers have underestimated this route - don't be one of them!
This line also serves as the best descent off the Moine but descending it is no pushover. There is a lot of terrain to cover and much of it quite exposed, so allow plenty of time and keep concentrating all the way down.
The route is vague and many variations are possible. Although this route description should be useful, route finding skill is vital. Should you find yourself slightly off route, just try to take the line of least resistance to the next clear landmark on the route.
Approach - From the Refuge du Couvercle, follow the high-level path back to the Montenvers train for 50m and then cut right up to the foot of the tiny glacier/snow patch at the foot of the south face. This takes 20 minutes from the hut.
1) 3b. Cross the bergschrund and climb up 50m of glacier-polished slabs and runnels to reach a long ledge system leading out left. This is where the South Ridge Classique goes up leftwards. Go to the right end of the ledge system (3b) to a bolt belay (used as an abseil anchor on the descent) and climb the chimney above this.
2) Continue on moderate ground, much of it walking, some of it easy scrambling, up the gully at the foot of the face until cairns and the terrain lead you out left and through a gap to another, even wider gully.
3) 4b. Climb well-worn slabs and steps up the right-hand side of the gully to a typically difficult Chamonix chimney, graded 3c in the old guides and 4b by us. In reality, if you're good at chimneys it is easy; if not, it will feel desperate.
4) Above the chimney, follow a ledge system up and left to another short corner (slightly easier than the lower one) to reach some exposed ledges overlooking the wide gully.
5) Zigzag left up ledges and short steps to reach a final steep wall beneath the summit. Go around this to the right and clamber onto the top.
Descent - Descend the south face. Most of the descent is exposed downclimbing and requires concentration. It is possible to abseil virtually all of the technical sections using fixed anchors (some of which might require backing up). The ability to keep up a good pace while downclimbing safely and making the transition between abseiling, soloing and moving together on the way down is the key to getting off the peak efficiently. All of the abseils are shorter than 25m so a single 50m rope is sufficient for any of these routes. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
The normal route, one of the most popular in the range and highly suitable for novice alpinists. Surprisingly the face is rather featureless, the climbing straightforward and not particularly interesting. The route is quite short and an early start is unnecessary. 3 and a half hr from hut

Ticklists: Rosie's Broken Alpine Dreaming.

Hidden 29/Aug/17 -
Felicity Eperon 29/Aug/17 AltLd O/S


with Luke Bounds, Ed Wheatcroft
janegallwey 23/Aug/17 AltLd dnf

Rockfall while simuling in gully, cracked helmet, got the hell out of there.

steve_gibbs 28/Jul/17 AltLd dnf
with Ali D
Hidden 22/Jul/17 AltLd O/S
Hidden 14/Jul/17 AltLd
Rob Exile Ward 07/Jul/17 AltLd

Great day; started slowly and with some inevitable route finding issues, took our time. Actually enjoyed the descent! And even the walk down, stopping for a crafty beer at the Buvette de Mottets. Top tip: rope up for the Couvercle ladders. It will turn a frightening full body pump into a pleasurable VF experience!

with George
JFT 22/Jun/17 AltLd dnf

Mini epic... Got off route and found ourselves in a fairly nasty gully that was chossy and wet. Rockfall resulting in a smashed helmet made us decide to bail. With Iain and Jud

DigitalSteak 18/Jun/17 Lead O/S
Climbingspike ??/2017 -
BobHoliday 24/Aug/16 -

Walked in from Montenvers with all food and water needed for 3 days, 2 nights. Turns out Couvercle takes visa, sells beer, and has a tap with potable eau! Being pack horses up the ladders was probably good for us though. Made the summit from the schrund in 4 hours. Beat a guide and client! Moved together almost the whole way. Climbing much better than expected. Highly enjoyable. Summit stunning. Descent took longer than ascent. Schrund a little awkward but manageable. Leave your crampons/axes at the top of the first pitch, not at the bottom, because the best ab station is not above the most obvious first pitch, potentially necessitating a teeter along the schrund in your rock boots!

with WillyB
Hidden 06/Aug/16 -
10029759 30/Jul/16 AltLd O/S
hairy51 30/Jul/16 AltLd O/S

Bloody long and easy to get lost, but a great day out never the less!

JezzaCat 29/Jul/16 Lead
with Stella
Mike Roger ??/2016 -
Tim Sparrow 13/Aug/15 -

In descent. 3 abs near base. Axe dropped into schrund but retrieved!

with Geoff Thomas
Hidden 12/Aug/15 Lead O/S
adam088 07/Aug/15 AltLd O/S
with Steven Gibbons
Webster ?/Aug/15 AltLd dnf

backed off about a third of the way up due to moving too slowely

Mark Salter 10/Jul/15 AltLd

In descent

with Chris Shorrock
derryclimbs 04/Jul/15 -

in descent. following cairns

Hidden 18/Aug/14 -
JackM92 17/Aug/14 Solo
Hidden 25/Jul/14 AltLd
Richard Alderton 03/Jul/14 AltLd dnf
with Ellie
EllieWoods 03/Jul/14 AltLd dnf
with Rich
Hidden 01/Oct/13 -
Hidden 01/Aug/13 AltLd O/S
Harry Ellis 07/Jul/13 AltLd dnf

turned back as mistakes were adding up to a frying

with Chris Cox
Jim Brownlow 15/Aug/12 AltLd

In descent

with Nigel Edley, Iain Mount
Hidden ?/Jul/12 AltLd O/S
Ben Briggs 29/Feb/12 Solo O/S

4th ski descent of the route.

with Luca
Hidden 23/Aug/11 AltLd O/S
Binder 23/Aug/11 AltLd O/S

Descent after climbing South Ridge

with Chris L
NB Pixel 23/Aug/11 AltLd O/S

Descent only

with JT
Teappleby ?/Aug/11 AltLd dnf
with Sarah, dad
Roberttaylor ?/Aug/11 AltLd O/S

Simul climbed pretty much everything, were within 10 mins of guidebook time for route and descent. Climbed after an abortive attempt at the East face.

with Muir
georgenvk 10/Jul/10 AltLd O/S

AD-,tricky route finding,pitches f III.

with Pavel
mark-abz 14/Aug/09 Lead
with Alex
Hidden ?/Aug/09 AltLd
SteveM 21/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
with Tobs
MoWalker3 16/Jul/09 -
with Quiet Ian
rd20 19/Aug/08 AltLd dnf

Difficulty finding route on this featureless mountain, particularly grade III chimney - headed up another much steeper one and had to downclimb. Weather started to come in so turned back 100m or so from summit - epic return journey!

with Martin
smolders 19/Aug/08 AltLd dnf

Route finding difficult.

Fabian001 17/Aug/08 2nd
david0811 03/Jul/08 -

In descent

with Mark Reid
Peter Metcalfe 24/Sep/07 Solo
Hidden 03/Sep/06 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jul/05 Lead
Hidden ?/Jun/04 -
Antony Mariani ?/Sep/03 AltLd O/S
with rlrs
rlrs ?/Sep/03 AltLd dnf
innes ?/Aug/99 Solo


with Jim
NickBrown ?/Jul/99 AltLd O/S
tompercy ?/Jul/96 -

In descent

with Amos Preminger
auld al ?/Jul/95 -
Hidden 23/Aug/94 Lead
mike fenwick ?/Aug/93 Lead
with Steve Bryce
Hidden ?/Jul/91 -
Hidden ??/1986 -
Bolt Phobia 09/Jul/75 AltLd

Descent route

with Kit Spencer
Rob Davies ?/Aug/74 Solo

Descent after S Ridge. Skidded on patch of ice, but stopped after a few feet.

with Joseph Cullen (ICMC)
mikej ?/Aug/68 Solo

During the descent I met Pete Boardman who was still at school.

with John Hamilton
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