II, 450m, 5 - 6 hours. A famous route, mainly because it is a superb line on a popular peak, taking in one of the most unusual mountain features you're ever likely to see. The table after which the route is named is a huge lump of rock that toppled off the ridge many years ago but miraculously stayed perched there instead of rolling down to the glacier below.Approach - Best approached from the Refuge Albert Premier. Gain the Glacier du Tour and climb up the east side of the glacier under the Aiguille du Tour. Head towards the Col Purtscheller and, 500m before the col, go up and left towards the couloir.Conditions - Good conditions have become increasingly hard to find in the couloir. In early summer, before the heat really kicks in, there should be plenty of snow and all you will need is a good overnight freeze. Without this the couloir will be difficult and dangerous, so try to get a conditions update and a reliable forecast before setting out. The Arête de la Table is climbable when completely dry, but you need to climb part of the couloir in order to reach it. You can avoid the couloir by getting onto the ridge low down on the left but this is loose and unpleasant and not recommended. A better alternative is to do the South Ridge of the Purtscheller.Start at the foot of the Couloir de la Table.1) Climb the lower section of the couloir to reach a ramp-line leading leftwards to the ridge.2) Climb the ramp-line over some occasionally loose rock and crest the ridge just below a large golden tower.3) 4b. Go around the tower on the left and then follow the ridge crest (or just off it) to the Table itself. The final move onto the ledge which houses the Table is tricky (4b) but otherwise the terrain is quite steady.4) 5a. Take a minute or so to ponder the Table - it really is a bizarre and miraculous feature. Having pondered, go to the wall against which the Table is resting and climb onto it via a very physical pull. There are pegs in the wall and sticking a sling in one to act as a foothold is a good idea but there's no getting around the fact that a bit of grunt is required! The move was graded 4+ in old school grades most people agree on roughly 5a in today's money.5) 4b. Step off the Table and climb the wall behind (4b, excellent). From here, follow the superb and exposed ridge to just above the col where the ridge joins the top of the Couloir de la Table. Downclimb (4b) or make a 5m abseil to reach the col.6) Continue along the ridge more easily, dropping off to the right if anything looks too tricky, to reach the south Summit of the Aiguille du Tour.Descent - The routes can be descended back to the Trient Plateau, usually down the East Face route. From there it is possible to descend back to either hut via the approach route. Alternatively, intead of doing a return trip you can complete a traverse by crossing either the Col Supériuer du Tour or the Col du Tour and swinging back to the Refuge Albert Premier. © Rockfax
UKC Logbook Description
It is worth noting that when heavily snowed up the route is an interesting mixed climb around Scottish II/III and probably worth AD+. Obviously be aware of any avalanche danger in these conditions.
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