Rockfax Description
III, 800m, 6 -7 hours. A magnificent mixed traverse that is a serious undertaking.
Approach - From the Refuge du Couvercle, traverse scree, rock slabs and snow towards the Jardin de Talèfre (a large rock buttress in the middle of the Glacier de Talèfre) and pass under this. Once level with the Col des Droites, cut up directly to the snow slope at the start of the route.
1) Climb the 400m long, 40 degree snow slope and cut right at the top to go up a short couloir that gives direct access to the Col de la Tour des Courtes.
2) Follow the wide snowy ridge to the summit (turning the rock buttress halfway up on the left). Although most of this is low angled (roughly 30 degrees), it is stunning, with huge views across pretty much the whole of the Mont Blanc Massif. In good conditions, it should take roughly 5 hours from hut to summit.
3) 4b. Go down the snow ridge leading from the summit to the Aiguille Chenavier. Climb this (4b) and then make a 30m abseil down a chimney on the Talèfre side of the peak.
4) Stay on the Talèfre side of the ridge and traverse across mixed ground to pass under the Aiguille Croulante. Get back onto the ridge just past this and follow a narrow snow arête to the foot of the Aiguille Qui Remue.
5) Go onto the Argentière side of the ridge and traverse underneath the Aiguille Qui Remue, then return onto the crest once past it.
6) Follow the ridge to a sharp rock tooth, 50m above the Col des Cristaux.
Descent - Downclimb 30 - 40 degree snow and mixed ground, drifting gradually right (when facing down) to reach the Glacier des Courtes at the foot of the couloir that comes down from the Aiguille Croulante. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
Significantly more difficult and involved than the PD+ grade suggests. Aptly described by one individual as "one of the most convoluted and complicated PDs I have ever done" - great though!

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

rashwell 25/Jun/15 2nd

More like AD in those conditions!

Sam Hunt 25/Jun/15 AltLd O/S
Timothy Miller 09/Apr/15 AltLd O/S
Uisdean hawthorn 09/Apr/15 AltLd
Tim Rodgers 08/Sep/14 -
Hidden ?/Jul/14 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jun/14 -
bencoope ?/Jun/14 -
with tim seers, tom wheeler
Hidden 13/Jul/13 AltLd dnf
James Thacker ??/2013 -
Hidden ??/2013 -
solfreak 28/Jun/12 Solo dnf
Will Homoky 04/Jul/09 AltLd β

Ascent via SW Slope of the Col de la Tour des Courtes. Descent via SW Face (II PD). Excellent traverse and view of Argentiere Basin. Good visibility helped pick line of descent.

with Tom Hindson
Hidden ?/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
heist182 ?/Jul/09 AltLd O/S

A fantastic route but as others suggest harder than PD. Set off at 2 to get to the top for sunrise then blast the ridge and try to get to the descent slope whilst it's not too sloppy. Beware that in bad conditions (especially on the descent) the route can take around 15 hours.

with Jamie Tattersall; Wendy Couch
Matthallinan ?/Jul/08 -
Hidden ?/Jul/08 2nd
Tom Stoddart 16/Sep/07 -

Took longer than the guidebook suggested it might. Took twice as long, in fact... this was partly due to laziness the night before (when we neglected to locate the start of the route) and partly due to the poor conditions (very little snow). Excellent route though; amazing views and a real sense of wilderness.

with Iain Leverett, Tom Slade
RobScotland ?/Sep/06 AltLd O/S
with jonnyb
clams ??/2005 -

With Ben and Liam

with AD
gallonj ?/Jul/88 -
John Marsland ?/Aug/87 Solo

from summit to Col des Cristaux

with Dave Soles
Nigel Coe ?/Jul/79 -
with John Walmsley
Rob Davies ?/Jul/75 Solo dnf

Climbed SW face (mainly snow, PD) of Les Courtes below Col des Cristaux (3600 m) with intention of climbing Aiguilles Ravanel / Mummery. Took 5 h to get this far (guidebook time 3 h) and rocks were snow-plastered, so reversed back to Couvercle Hut.

with Niall Macfadyen
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