UKC

450m, 13 pitches.

Rockfax Description
II, 450m. Start at the foot of a black streak on the glacier-polished lower slabs. There is a single bolt to belay off but the glacier levels vary so there is no guarantee that the bolt will be in reach. There can also be a fairly sizeable gap between the glacier and the foot of the route so you may need advanced bergschund crossing skills!
Once on the route there are enough bolts to keep you on line, which is handy because the first ascensionists sought out the best climbing rather than the most logical or aesthetic line.
Approach - The route is relatively close to the Montenvers train and a very fast team can do it by walking in and out on the same day. Take the Montenvers train up from Chamonix and descend the ladder system onto the Mer de Glace. Walk for roughly 45 minutes up this, over hard blue ice and scree, to reach a ladder system on the right of the glacier where the moraine ends and some huge, glacier-polished slabs begin. The ladder system is relatively mellow by local standards and leads, in 15 to 20 minutes, to a path which climbs for the first 20 minutes and then levels out at which point the route is on your right. Cut directly up to it. Allow 90 minutes from the train. If approaching from the hut, reverse the hut approach for 30 minutes until directly under the route, then go straight up to it.
1) 6b. Climb diagonally up and left along a crack to reach a small ledge.
2) 6b+. Go up and right across a slab then come back left to a belay beneath a large flake.
3) 6b. Climb the flake as it leads you gently leftwards. At the top of the flake, step out right then climb a crack leftwards to a roof. Go through the roof and then up the remainder of the crack.
4) 6b. Follow a corner rightwards then drift back left on a slab.
5) 4c. Climb a vague pillar left to a series of ledges.
6) 3c. Zigzag easily up the ledges.
7) 6b+. Climb the furthest right of three cracks above the belay. The crack gradually steepens as it comes back left.
8) 6b. Ignore the off-width on the right and climb the corner-crack above the belay.
9) 6b. Head directly up the corner/crack above. There are no bolts on this 45m pitch so conserve your gear!
10) 7a. Climb the crack leading rightwards. This begins at 6a+ and gets gradually harder. The toughest part can be aided, but the pitch still requires 6b+ free moves if you do this.
11) 6b+. Cross the slab rightwards, passing under a roof.
12) 5c. Climb out right then up a wall with two bolts in. Then finish up a corner on the right.
13) 6c+. Head up the tricky slab, which is (thankfully!) bolted.
14) 4a. Follow the ridge easily to reach a small pinnacle.
Descent - Abseil down the route. © Rockfax

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Route of Interest

Ma Dalton

Grade: ED2 7b+ ***
(Aiguille du Midi)
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