Rockfax Description
II, 220m. A great route if you like your climbing traditional.
Approach - From the Montenvers train, take the lower of the two paths (the one that doesn't go via 'Le Signal') heading towards the 'Plan de l'Aiguille'. Follow this for 45 minutes until it meets up again with the higher path at a signpost. (NOTE - this sign says that Montenvers is 1 hour 10 minutes away via both paths. The reality (for when you're descending) is that the higher path takes about that long but the lower path will have you back to the train in a little over 30 minutes).
From the signpost, continue towards the Plan de l'Aiguille for 300m until a vague path leads off left, directly towards the Aiguille de l'M, just before the main path descends slightly. The vague path climbs for 10 minutes and then reaches a boulderfield. Continue straight across this and then begin to look for the cairns which mark the way. Follow the path as best you can (not easily done) as it takes you onto and up the long scree slope below the peak. The vague path from here is rarely clear and at times it may feel easier just to plough on up the scree slope, picking the easiest looking line and heading straight for the foot of the route. Even if you do manage to follow the path, the approach is unavoidably a bit of a grind, but this is mountaineering - it's all part of the 'fun'! Once you reach the foot of the ridge, scramble up easily to a ledge 5m below the bottom of the slab on the first pitch.
1) 4c, 25m. From the ledge, scramble up to the slab and rock over onto it. Follow a crack out right and then come back left more easily to belay beneath a wide chimney.
2) 5b, 45m. Climb easily up to the left of the chimney to reach a ledge. (There is a belay on the right of the ledge if you want to split the pitch but, provided you manage your gear and avoid rope drag, it's better to carry on.) Go to the far side of the ledge and climb the steep wall on the far side of it, clipping a couple of pegs on the way. Step left at the top onto a slab. Cross the slab leftwards and get onto the ridge crest to belay at a block just to the left of a large flat terrace.
3) 5b, 25m. Go onto the north side of the ridge and climb the staggeringly polished corner-crack. This has been the scene of many undignified scrabbles and is one of the classic pitches in Chamonix. Whether you enjoy it much will depend on your tastes but you certainly won't forget it in a hurry. A couple of big cams will ease the pain and there is also a peg on the left wall near the end. Belay at the top on a ledge in the shade.
4) 4c, 30m. Climb the chimney and twin cracks above the belay and then step onto the slab on the right. Climb this for 4m then come back left and head up the thrutchy open groove. Above this, 10m of easy ground leads to a ledge at the foot of a short, steep wall.
5) 5b, 25m. Instead of climbing the cracks directly above the belay, follow the ledge to its leftmost end and head up the crack there, which is marked by some pegs. Above this, go up a layback crack and then cross a slab rightwards easily to belay beneath a chimney with two chockstones in it.
6) 4c, 20m. Climb through the chimney onto the north face by passing between the chockstones. This may involve taking your rucksack off and those of a more 'powerful' build might not fit even without a pack! Once through the chimney, cross a ledge on the north face and belay beneath easy ground.
7) 3c, 50m. Climb the easy ground just right of the ridge crest and then get onto the crest itself and follow this to the summit.
Descent - From the summit, scramble back along the route for 15m to reach a pair of bolts which face east. Make a 25m abseil from these down to a large ledge with a narrow slot between two huge blocks on the right (when facing down). Walk through this slot, which has an awkward chockstone at the far end. Then scramble back around underneath the ledge the abseil took you to via a short, steep step and then an easier, slabby chimney. The steep step could be abseiled but there are no anchors in place so you will need to leave some abseil tat. From the foot of the chimney, go down and left to reach the top of a slab. Make a 25m abseil down this from a cord around a jammed block and then make a final 20m abseil down to the Col Blanc. From here, downclimb the gully leading back to the foot of the route. Until late summer this will be snow and is roughly 40 degrees at the top, so take crampons and an ice axe. When dry it is an easy but occasionally loose scramble. From the foot of the route, descend the approach path. © Rockfax

A. Contamine 24/Aug/1948

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

steve_gibbs 27/Aug AltLd O/S
with Max Meyer
Tony Myers 22/Aug AltLd O/S
watson.b 22/Aug AltLd O/S
with Tony
Michael 18/Aug -
Siongethinhill 28/Jul -
Siongethinhill 28/Jul -
pete1993 19/Jul AltLd

walked from the valley, really good, i now see what they mean by 'traditional'! wouldn't say polished just smooth granite. not the easiest description to follow to get down, overall ace day

with Ben
j.buckley87 13/Jul AltLd O/S
Hidden 13/Jun AltLd
ndraper1 23/Apr Lead

snow made the approach quicker than normal so a good option in spring(1 hr 30/45 from the midi). Snow and ice on ledges to help with gripping that polished ramp and the corner above. Some nice 'intro to granite-moves' follow. Rapped back from the box to make the train. Bon position.

mark schramm ??/2017 -
with tom m
furbrow 28/Aug/16 AltLd O/S

Great rock climbing on route but the way across the moraine from the Plan in late season is dire. May be worth asking at the Guides office about taking the Balcon then up or going via Montenvers. Also the Letter box is not to be underestimated.

with Bruce McC
matty123 17/Jul/16 AltLd
Petarghh 17/Jul/16 AltLd
Hidden 10/Jul/16 AltLd
climbingrick 28/Jun/16 AltLd O/S
with Joe Farnell
Gumery 23/Jun/16 AltLd O/S
with Patrik, Alex Marchant
Mike Roger ??/2016 -
hlegge 22/Aug/15 AltLd O/S

Really fun enjoyable and fairly easy climbing

with Alfie Maun
Alfie Maun 22/Aug/15 AltLd
with Hamish Legge
aljones91 12/Aug/15 AltLd

Awesome route with a tough crux!! Every different type of climbing you can imagine, from granite finger cracks too off widths too chimneys it's got it all. Abbed straight back down the route (much quicker and safer)

with Ben hester
Hidden 07/Aug/15 2nd
Adamski1986 05/Aug/15 AltLd
with James Higgins
Hidden 31/Jul/15 AltLd O/S
jogle03 16/Jul/15 AltLd O/S
Hidden 12/Jul/15 AltLd O/S
Hidden 02/Jul/15 -
Brucemacrosson ?/Jul/15 AltLd

D- 5b trad

with Bryan Rhinn
Hidden 26/Jun/15 AltLd
alexm198 26/Jun/15 AltLd O/S

Cool route. Led evens. Long slogs in and out!

Hidden ??/2015 -
walts4 ??/2015 -
Happy Wanderer 23/Sep/14 AltLd dog

Glaciers totally retreated and route direct across from mid station very difficult at Nantillion 'glacier.' Best to head along Balcon Nord and head up direct to L'M. Route a tough HVS with polished granite. Some in situ pegs but friends and nuts needed.

with Mike D
MD 23/Sep/14 AltLd O/S
with Jo
Hidden 03/Sep/14 AltLd
Debbie Lee 30/Aug/14 AltLd
Hidden 30/Aug/14 -
MrRiley 30/Aug/14 AltLd

Long walk across the moraine, very cold and damp start to the climbing then got off route in the continuation groove above the off-width due to missing the short traverse. Ended up walking back to Cham!

with Lachy Low, Debbie Lee
Gawyllie ?/Aug/14 AltLd
Little AndyH ?/Aug/14 AltLd O/S
Andrew will wilson ?/Aug/14 AltLd

Big walk in and out. From mer de glacé!

DigitalSteak 21/Jun/14 AltLd O/S

Led 1,3,5,7. Solid VS. Crux very polished and thrutchy but some inelegant shuffling gets you up.

peakcaver ??/2014 -
Ly-Cilph 14/Sep/13 AltLd dnf

Snow, snow, and more snow everywhere... bypassed the snowy slab of P1, backed off at the top of P4 due to yet more snow. Lovely climb though!

with Barry S
Hidden 13/Aug/13 Lead
garethsteel 13/Aug/13 AltLd
Hidden 05/Aug/13 Lead O/S
Palindrome 05/Aug/13 2nd O/S
Hidden 16/Jul/13 AltLd O/S
tommytuffa ?/Jul/13 Lead O/S
with Libby
jcw ??/2013 -
Tobias at Home ??/2013 -
Droyd 18/Sep/12 AltLd O/S
with Mark Challoner
Sam Cooke 18/Sep/12 AltLd dnf
with Hal
Hidden 18/Sep/12 AltLd dnf
markfairbank 11/Sep/12 AltLd O/S

Climbed as 6 pitches, after linking 1&2. I led 1,2,3,5 and 7. Climbing was good although we got stuck behind slower parties above. Approached from the Plan but crossing Nantillions glacier was miserable and dangerous (not recommended). The off-width p4 is probably worth UK 4b/4c, much easier with rock boots. Just made the last lift from the Plan with a quick march return along the bottom path :)

Mountain Llama 11/Sep/12 AltLd

Lead P4 and 6

with Mark F
claregardiner 06/Sep/12 AltLd

Led crux pitch

Hidden 10/Aug/12 AltLd O/S
caradoc 08/Aug/12 AltLd

Awkward climbing that was made harder by the weight of crampons and ice axes we should have left at the glacier. Look for ladders on the approach from the Plan. It can be approached without crampons lower down. Unpleasant descent down gully, left side is better. 3 abbs from top using single 50m, downclimbing would be harder than grade 2.

with john b
Aaron Lines ?/Aug/12 AltLd
with stu
CurlyStevo ?/Aug/12 AltLd

gets D+ overall and F5b for the off width pitch now. awesome route. We did it from the train to montenvers. The descent down the morain was very loose and dangerous in its self without the rockfall also comming down from above.

with Kenny
bigbobbyking 30/Jun/12 Lead

Nice route, although offwidth corner is hardest 4c in the world! Almost fell off it. Horrible. Maybe I'm just no good at offwidths. Dan forgot his climbing shoes so seconded the whole thing, allowing me to lead. Massive black clouds threatened rain, but somehow we escaped.

with Dan Guest
csalvage 24/Jun/12 2nd

Led 2nd pitch

with Bryan
R_W_M 21/Jun/12 -
with Harry
Hidden 21/Jun/12 AltLd O/S
Hidden 21/Jun/12 AltLd O/S
Whitty2012 31/May/12 Lead dnf
with Peter Heath, Ian Whitfield
Hidden 31/May/12 -
Joegriff ??/2012 AltLd dnf
with Dave Trueman
_hs_ ??/2012 AltLd
Binder 25/Aug/11 Lead O/S

Good fun though a pretty tough crux corner pitch. Plus nearly got killed by a rock fall crossing the glacier on the way back to the lift.

with Chris L
Hidden 24/Aug/11 AltLd
Liam Ingram 06/Aug/11 AltLd O/S

Well 'ard! May have pulled on some in situ stuff.

Roberttaylor 06/Aug/11 AltLd O/S

Top route, we were the only party on it.

Poco Loco 04/Aug/11 AltLd O/S

Great route, swapping leads with DL. Several groups on it, but no one moving too slowly. The interesting "marble" corner pitch is a little more difficult than it looks from the bottom, tons of in-situ though.

with R. Horler, Bald Eagle
Karl Wooffindin 04/Aug/11 AltLd O/S

Moved together until the crux then switched to alternate leads. Another good climb.

with Ollie Hemstock
Hidden 04/Aug/11 Lead O/S
BALD EAGLE 04/Aug/11 AltLd
with J.Pomeroy
Hidden ?/Aug/11 Lead O/S
Lenny 13/Jul/11 AltLd dnf
with Paul
Hidden 02/Jul/11 2nd
mikespooner 24/Jun/11 AltLd O/S
DanLear 02/Jun/11 2nd
with Steve Gooberman-Hill
masa-alpin 07/Oct/10 AltLd O/S

Completed it in 3 and half hours. P3 was partly covered with snow - had to stamp on snow with climbing shoes. Saw no one except for rescue people doing training. Nice and compact summit!

with Max C
carlh ?/Aug/10 Lead

A fantastic day out. Did the HVS direct finish. Andy struggled to make it back for the last Gondala, but just made it! We managed to keep to the guidbook time and moved well throughout the day as a group of five (a 2 and a 3)

Hidden 03/Jul/10 Lead
Stone Muppet ?/Jul/10 Lead O/S

VS wouldn't be unfair for the offwidth, but I don't see what this fuss is about polish, it's fine!

with ts
knicos ?/Jul/10 AltLd
with James Chesmer, Matt Metcalfe
Hidden 06/Jun/10 2nd O/S
oldgrey ?/Jun/10 -

We did this route up L'M after finding the Couzy route iced up. Lovely climb with a descent that involves abseils, glacier travel and ladders...

with Virgil Scott
Guy Wilson ??/2010 -
roryifinlay 29/Sep/09 AltLd
with Gary Connor, Dave Chalmers
wheelsucker ?/Sep/09 -
Hidden ?/Sep/09 -
reima ?/Aug/09 AltLd O/S

Polished and crowded. There are so many better routes around... The wide crack was fun though.

with Nora, Niamh
Hidden ?/Aug/09 2nd O/S
Hidden ?/Aug/09 -
SWalls 27/Jul/09 AltLd
with Che Gannarelli
cmsg 27/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
with Steve
Hidden 15/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
Hidden 15/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
Hidden 05/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
Bruveris ?/Jul/09 AltLd
JonHarvey ?/Jul/09 AltLd rpt
with Jay Jackson, Jayne Bulbeck
benclimbing ?/Jul/09 AltLd O/S
with Phil Belcher
kleinej 21/Aug/08 AltLd O/S

Fun little climb, felt roughly HS although the cracks above the terrace before the letterbox were a little difficult for some...

with Robert
rd20 21/Aug/08 AltLd

RD led long chimney pitch (in fact a huge corner crack), fell on twin crack pitch, but did final pitch (left hand variation IV)

with Jason
loic.menzies ?/Aug/08 -
with Brian Leite
Franco Cookson OLD 29/Jul/08 Solo O/S


Hidden 25/Jul/08 AltLd O/S
Hidden 18/Jun/08 -
tim20 ??/2008 -
dan gibson 25/Aug/07 Lead rpt
with sam read
tom.e 05/Aug/07 AltLd O/S
tebs ?/Aug/07 AltLd
with Sci
Glyn ?/Jul/07 -

Found quite hard. Took long time and missed last cable car and last bus back to campsite

with Trystan and Perry
Hidden ?/Jul/07 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jul/07 AltLd
Hidden 24/Jun/07 AltLd
Hidden 21/Jun/07 AltLd O/S
31770 18/Jun/07 AltLd

alternate finish out left where you'd go through the squeeze probably VS ish (though felt hard in big boots / rucksack)

Hidden 18/Jun/07 AltLd O/S
Bristoldave ??/2007 AltLd O/S
with douglas
Hidden ?/Sep/06 AltLd O/S
featuresforfeet ?/Sep/06 AltLd O/S
with Steve
gripped01 ?/Aug/06 Lead
with Dan Graves
Andy Clarke 25/Jul/06 AltLd O/S

My first rock route on the Cham Aiguilles. Very enjoyable. Even the mirror finish corner pitch was great fun!

with James
Chris Davids 15/Jul/06 AltLd dog

From the mid station of the Aiguille du Midi cable-car. Very hard work on a hot day. Return via the normal route.

with Mark
Hidden ?/Jul/06 AltLd
dmoir ?/Jul/06 AltLd O/S
with Jon Harvey and Mike Maben
frost ?/Jul/06 Solo
tatz45 ?/Jul/06 Lead
JonHarvey ?/Jul/06 AltLd

Fantastic climbing ,, bit polished in places ,, great day ,,, just about made last cable car!

with David Moir and Michael Maben
ashpreston ??/2006 -
liz j ?/Sep/05 2nd
with neil brodie
dmorgan27 03/Aug/05 Lead
with Terryl
hal ?/Jul/05 -
Kyuzo ?/Jul/05 Lead
David Horwood 21/Jun/05 -
Yyonnx 19/Jun/05 AltLd

A good day out, except that the thunderstorm and lightening show stopped our descent and thus another hike down into the valley after the last train from Montenvers had departed.

with Tom Fralich
fizzy_elephant ?/Jun/05 AltLd
with Rob Williams
SteveM 22/Aug/04 AltLd
with Tobs
Mark A Humphries 11/Aug/04 AltLd O/S

I led the crux off-width pitch and it certainly felt harder than 4b climbing! I cant think of any HS climbers who could manage it...then again, maybe im just a big girls blouse! Awesome route and a great day out.

with Rob Harper
Will Gordon ?/Aug/04 AltLd O/S

Approached from overnight bivi below, great rock route. Caught in sudden storm at the top and had difficulty finding start of ab descent in poor vis. Nantillions glacier was like a bowling alley with rockfall and ice from serac collapse from Grand Charmoz.

with Rich
Marcell ?/Aug/04 -
Danhan ?/Jul/04 AltLd
andybuckley ?/Jul/04 AltLd
with Danhan
John Andrew Simpson ?/Jun/04 2nd dog
with Alex Lai
Tobias at Home ??/2004 -
akhughes ??/2004 AltLd O/S
with Steptoe
rlrs ?/Sep/03 AltLd
Antony Mariani ?/Sep/03 AltLd O/S
with rlrs
Hidden 30/Jul/03 Lead
reg_measures 07/Jul/03 - ?/Jul/03 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jun/03 AltLd O/S
Hidden ?/Jun/03 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jun/03 Lead O/S
mike.moss ??/2003 AltLd O/S
with Alex Cowan
Mark Salter 17/Aug/02 AltLd
with Chris Shorrock
Hidden 28/Jul/02 AltLd
joe king ?/Jun/02 AltLd O/S
with steve petit
Hidden ??/2002 AltLd
clams ??/2002 -
with AD
1202alarm ?/Aug/01 -
Paul-Michael 30/Jul/01 AltLd O/S

From Refuge du Plan. Diccon backed off the diedre/off width (he was wearing winter walking boots rather than mountaineering boots, or as some were shod in stickys). To finish, rather than go through the “Letter Box” I lead the direct finish 10m to summit VI,3 points of aid.

220bpm ?/Aug/00 AltLd

Downclimbed easily instead of abseiling. Still missed the last cable car down but prolly because we didn't start the route until 3pm!

with Dave
bladderedagain ??/2000 Lead
Hidden ??/2000 Lead O/S
Climbster 12/Aug/99 AltLd O/S
with UTMC
Robinl100 ?/Jul/99 AltLd O/S
with Paddy Muir
nige pacer ?/Jul/98 AltLd O/S
the abmmc ??/1998 AltLd
karly54 ??/1998 AltLd
Jim Walton 31/Jul/96 Lead O/S
with Alison Bethal
Hidden ??/1996 -
Hidden 05/Sep/94 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jul/94 Lead
craig h ?/Aug/93 AltLd
with Jim Mellor
kristian ?/Aug/93 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jul/93 Lead
auld al ?/Jul/93 AltLd O/S

with ken

Hidden ?/Jul/93 Solo
Ratfeeder ?/Jun/93 AltLd O/S
with Ed
kennylind ??/1993 AltLd O/S
with With Alan
djdavies 08/Aug/92 2nd
Pete_Frost ?/Jul/92 AltLd O/S

Done in big boots - a hilarious, well pegged offwidth.

with Luc Percival
Hidden 29/Jun/92 AltLd O/S
Yourlead 28/Jun/92 2nd

Thunderstom startedas we were desending and missed last cablecar back.

with Helen Penny, Graham Penny
Jamie Simpson 12/Jul/91 AltLd O/S
with Gavin Maclean
Hidden ??/1991 -
colinthrelfall ??/1991 -
with neil witts
Nick Rundall ??/1990 AltLd O/S
with Dad
michaelb1 ?/Aug/89 AltLd
with Stell, troybison
troybison ?/Aug/89 AltLd
Hidden ?/Jul/89 Lead
johnkeith ??/1989 AltLd
with G. Callander
BigHairyIan 05/Aug/88 AltLd O/S
gallonj ?/Jul/88 -
John Brayshaw 25/Jun/87 AltLd O/S
with Chris
Hidden ?/Aug/86 AltLd O/S
Hidden 17/Jul/86 AltLd O/S
ill_bill ?/Jul/86 -

with Colin Lennox

Lone Rider ??/1986 -
John Marsland 08/Aug/85 -
with Dave Soles
Ali MacDonald 17/Jul/85 AltLd O/S

Excellent day

with Spike Edwards
Hammy 16/Jul/85 AltLd
with Colin Struthers, Jenny le Merle
andy tetsill ?/Aug/84 AltLd
with Ian Bennet,, Joy
Robmwatt ??/1984 AltLd
with Gaz Morgan
andy tetsill ?/Aug/83 Lead
with Joy
John Marsland ??/1982 -
with Eduardo Martinez
alpinist63 22/Jul/81 -
arduff ?/Jul/81 -
with Chris Brown
Hidden ??/1981 -
Richard Weller ?/Aug/80 -
with Richard White
Hidden ?/Jul/80 AltLd O/S
Hidden ?/Jul/80 AltLd
Hidden ?/Sep/79 -
Chris Ellis ?/Aug/79 AltLd
with Dave Crookes
leland stamper ??/1979 AltLd
with Hugh Grandfield
Hidden 20/Jul/78 AltLd
Hidden 19/Jul/78 AltLd
Hidden ?/Aug/77 AltLd
beaumap ?/Aug/77 2nd
with Mick
Andy Chubb 07/Jul/76 -
with Pete Coghill
Bolt Phobia 06/Jul/75 AltLd rpt
with Kit Spencer
Bolt Phobia 26/Aug/74 Lead
with Andrew Heuch
Nigel Bond 25/Aug/74 Lead

Time 4hrs after a bivouac in the boulders below good route

with Dave Jolliffe
pneame ?/Jul/73 AltLd
with Eric Holligan
Climbingspike ??/1972 -
Andy Say ?/Aug/70 Solo O/S
Martin Bennett 31/Jul/66 -
with CJE
uphillnow ??/1963 AltLd

Done several times, usually in bad weather

with Bill Burlton
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High D+
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High 5c
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