Rockfax Description
III, 300m, 4 - 6 hours. A wonderful alpine ridge finishing on a very scenic summit - this route really should see more traffic. That it doesn't is probably due to the long approach and the remoteness of the route; the technical difficulties are low but retreat is difficult and the descent from the top is no pushover even in ideal conditions.
Approach - From the Refuge d'Argentière, head northeast, past the Aiguille du Génépi, to reach the Glacier des Améthystes. Follow the left-hand side of this to reach the foot of the initial snow ramp, 400m west of the Col du Tour Noir.
Start at the foot of a wide, snowy couloir, below and left of a distinctive rock pinnacle.
1) Climb the snowy couloir and follow it to the ridgeline via a short mixed pitch at the end.
2) Pass right around the first tower via straightforward but exposed scrambling.
3) Continue on the ridge crest and then descend a 20m chimney (can be abseiled).
4) Traverse snow and broken rock on the Argentière side of the ridge, taking the line of least resistance but staying 20 - 50m below the crest, to reach the snow couloir leading up to the Flèche Rousse itself.
5) Follow the couloir until just before it crests the ridge, then turn left and follow snowy mixed ground to the foot of the Flèche Rousse summit tower.
6) 5a, Depending on your crack climbing ability, this can be climbed in a number of places but is best tackled by the wide (body width) crack (5a, 30m) which splits two sections of grey rock, below and left of an imposing orange overhang.
7) Move left above the crack and scramble easily to the Flèche Rousse summit. The route from here is only visible once you get there.
8) Head in the direction of the Aiguille d'Argentière and make a 20m abseil onto the north side of the ridge.
9) Downclimb, or abseil, another 5m to reach a col at 3827m, then follow easy and extremely well-positioned ground to the summit of the Aiguille d'Argentière.
Descent - Descend either the Whymper Route or the Glacier du Milieu, depending on what the Refuge d'Argentière guardian recommends. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
From Argentiere hut up Amethystes Glacier and then turn left up a snow slope to the arete - follow this with long sections of II/III rock, including a tight post box, 15 metre abseil off the Fleche Rousse (avoidable as don't need to go to Fleche Rousse), from there to the summit and down one of the glaciers as per one of the Normal Routes.

G.H.Masse, J.H.Wicks, M.C.Wilson 03/Aug/1893.


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Style of Ascent
Alt Leads
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Route of Interest
East Ridge

Grade: AD ***
(Aiguille du Bionnassay)

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