UKC

Rockfax Description
II, 170m, 3 - 4 hours. The route begins with the famous Etala Chimneys.
Approach - From the Plan de l'Aiguille, take the path to Lac Bleu then follow a vague track climbing eastwards, directly towards the Petits Charmoz. Cross the moraine beneath the Glacier de Blaitière following the line of least resistance (and the occasional cairn) to reach the ridge coming down from the northwest ridge of the Aiguille de Blaitière. Cross the next bowl (more boulders but easier than the Blaitière moraine) in the direction of the Charmoz to reach the ridge overlooking the foot of the Nantillons Glacier. The glacier is extremely prone to rockfall and, although it can be crossed high up, it is usually worth the extra effort of descending slightly and crossing level with the southwest ridge of the Aiguille de l'M - whichever way you cross, don't dawdle. Having crossed the glacier snout, head towards the Grands Charmoz before turning left and scrambling up the loose but straightforward ground beneath the Col de L'Etala.
1) Climb the right-hand chimney with as much style as you can muster to reach a large ledge. There are two well-placed pegs protecting the tricky moves. Climb the corner on the right before stepping left onto a slab and climbing the steep and tight chimney above (easier than it looks) which has a good peg.
2) Follow easy but loose ground to the Col de l'Etala.
3) 4c. Head north towards a pyramid of red rock on the ridge leading to the Petits Charmoz. Climb this, initially on the left, before moving back right to head straight for the 'livre ouvert' (open book) pitch. This is the technical crux of the route and features a physical rockover onto a ledge which is well protected by pegs.
4) Follow the crack above to a good ledge and then stick to the ridge crest, or just off it on the Mer de Glace side. Follow easy but exposed scrambling for 50m to reach a distinct notch with a superb view down to the Nantillons Glacier.
5) At the notch, pass onto the Nantillons side and reach a slabby ledge beneath the summit of the peak.
6) 4a. Climb to the summit via a steep, polished (but technically easy) chimney, a left-leaning corner and a short slab.
Descent - Abseil back down to the slabby ledge in one 25m abseil (fixed anchor on the summit). A combination of downclimbing and abseils (fixed belays of varying quality) leads you to the couloir coming down from the Col de la Bûche. This can be joined at various stages, so follow your nose. Stay on the left bank of this to where it becomes a good path. Follow this to the top of the ladders which take you back to the glacier. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
A highly reccomended little route which is extremely popular. The granite, though sound, is often very polished and the ascent to the Col de l'Etala provides a classic initiation into the delights of the typical 'Chamonix' chimney!

M Pasteur, J Wicks and C Wilson 05/Jul/1898.

Ticklists

Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif , Rosie's Broken Alpine Dreaming , Alpine Progression , Alps 22

Feedback

User Date Notes
Webster 5 Aug, 2020 Show βeta
βeta: approach from montenvers, not plan de l'aguille as the guide book suggests. its much more straightforward and (especially in mid to late summer) safer. descent from the top is in 3
βeta?
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βeta: approach from montenvers, not plan de l'aguille as the guide book suggests. its much more straightforward and (especially in mid to late summer) safer. descent from the top is in 3
FreeloaderJoe 16 Sep, 2019 Show βeta
βeta: The approach to this route via the glacier and moraine is utterly miserable. Not sure it is worth doing with conditions as they are. Don't be tempted by the endless cool lines/chimneys/gear/tat and other misadventure on the way up to the first Col - you will regret it. Difficult route finding on way down. Make sure you know where you are in relation to the rouge gendarme before attempting descent.
βeta?
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βeta: The approach to this route via the glacier and moraine is utterly miserable. Not sure it is worth doing with conditions as they are. Don't be tempted by the endless cool lines/chimneys/gear/tat and other misadventure on the way up to the first Col - you will regret it. Difficult route finding on way down. Make sure you know where you are in relation to the rouge gendarme before attempting descent.
rurp 26 Jul, 2019 Show βeta
βeta: Don’t downclimb far. Turn right facing out (west) and head to the col with the m then easy down from there
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βeta: Don’t downclimb far. Turn right facing out (west) and head to the col with the m then easy down from there
iainJ 11 Jul, 2019 Show βeta
βeta: Ab back down the slab from the top (one pitch) then scramble down rather than doing three abbs off the back of the summit.
βeta?
Show beta
βeta: Ab back down the slab from the top (one pitch) then scramble down rather than doing three abbs off the back of the summit.

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Route of Interest
The Rochefort Ridge

Grade: AD 2 ***
(Aiguille de Rochefort)

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