UKC

Rockfax Description
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.

Ticklists

Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif , Chris H's 100 Mega Classic Trad , Rosie's Broken Alpine Dreaming , Alpine Progression

Feedback

User Date Notes
mchardski 3 Aug, 2020 Show βeta
βeta: Beware of the loose rock on the 1st pitch when you get off the snow. If there are groups ahead DO NOT get into the firing line. I got on the rock just right of a group of 2, selecting a very camm-able but slightly more technical crack system rather than the easy chossy ground. This kept us out of the firing line of the group just ahead. I was happy for this decision as they knocked off a killer block. My line was pretty solid but not perfect, esp when topping out the crack at 10m, there is a huge unstable block that you do not want to pull on, instead reach up with axe and hook the solid rock behind the ledge. If this optional is unavailable I would simply back off or wait lower down the couloir until the 1st section is clear of climbers. Above the choss the route is great. Kept technical axe out all day and was a revelation.perhaps cheating but was in constant use for hooks and bringing up my 2nd.
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βeta: Beware of the loose rock on the 1st pitch when you get off the snow. If there are groups ahead DO NOT get into the firing line. I got on the rock just right of a group of 2, selecting a very camm-able but slightly more technical crack system rather than the easy chossy ground. This kept us out of the firing line of the group just ahead. I was happy for this decision as they knocked off a killer block. My line was pretty solid but not perfect, esp when topping out the crack at 10m, there is a huge unstable block that you do not want to pull on, instead reach up with axe and hook the solid rock behind the ledge. If this optional is unavailable I would simply back off or wait lower down the couloir until the 1st section is clear of climbers. Above the choss the route is great. Kept technical axe out all day and was a revelation.perhaps cheating but was in constant use for hooks and bringing up my 2nd.
Webster 21 Jul, 2020 Show βeta
βeta: if in doubt, stay left of the ridge crest before reaching the table, it feels like you are missing out but its the most logical route
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βeta: if in doubt, stay left of the ridge crest before reaching the table, it feels like you are missing out but its the most logical route
GHawksworth 25 Jun, 2019 Show βeta
βeta: A lot of loose rocks which can be unnerving but worth it for the top half! Bring cams (.5-1 and possibly 2) and lots of slings
Show beta
βeta: A lot of loose rocks which can be unnerving but worth it for the top half! Bring cams (.5-1 and possibly 2) and lots of slings

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Style of Ascent
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Route of Interest
Les Courtes Traverse

Grade: AD 2 ***
(Les Courtes)

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