Rockfax Description
IV, 600m. A neglected but wonderful route.
Approach - Follow the path west past the Tour Verte and onto the small glacier just beyond this. Go up the glacier until you're underneath a large crack below and left of a deep-cut chimney.
1) 5b. Cross the bergschrund, which is rarely problematic, and then follow a glacier-polished slab to reach a good ledge - take your crampons off here. Cross to the far right end of the ledge and climb the large crack (5b) which is tough to protect. Move up and right to climb the grassy, deep-cut chimney (5b) you were aiming for on the approach. Go left at the top to belay.
2) 4c. Go diagonally up and left across 100m of easy (4a max) broken ground. Continue for another 100m of more solid but still straightforward slabby climbing (4c) leading rightwards to the foot of a deep right-facing groove on the crest of the ridge.
3) Climb just right of the groove, up the crest, to reach the foot of the stunning and distinctive big slab, which is the route's most easily identifiable feature.
4) 6b. Step onto the left side of the ridge and onto a large ledge with two chimneys rising from it. Climb the right-hand one with considerable difficulty (6b, with several pegs) before stepping left at the top to belay. Continue up a wall (5c), a chimney and then another wall and another chimney (6a, pegs) to regain the ridge crest.
5) 6a+. Climb an exposed 15m 5c slab just to the right of the ridge crest and then get back onto the crest at the end of this.
Follow the ridge easily for 100m over some superb scrambling terrain, turning anything difficult-looking on the right, to reach the foot of a large gendarme of rock. Climb a wonderful 6a+ chimney on the left of the ridge to gain the top of the gendarme and then traverse above it (4c) to reach an abseil point.
6) 5c. Make a 10m abseil onto the left-hand side of the ridge then climb a chimney leading rightwards followed by a wide crack (5b) taking you back left. Move right and go straight up the ridge to reach a curving crack that goes left then back right (5c) and leads onto a large ledge, passing a few slightly worrying loose blocks en route.
7) 6b. Climb the superb flake (6a) straight above the ledge and finally a long, steep crack (6b) to reach the summit.
Descent - Descend northwards to the col at 3385m that separates the Bec d'Oiseau and the Aiguille du Grépon by scrambling/abseiling down moderate ground. From here, descend ledges easily to the Col des Nantillons (3292m) and go down the Nantillons Glacier. The major problem with this descent is that the Nantillons Glacier is increasingly prone to rockfall as the summer progresses, so check before leaving that conditions are reasonable, and even if they are, get it done as quickly as possible.
Alternative Descent - If you have previously climbed Le soleil a rendez-vous avec la lune then reach the col at 3385m and climb up to the summit ridge of the Grépon by reversing its descent route. From here, abseil Le soleil.... Don't choose this option if you haven't climbed the route since you will not be able to find the belays. © Rockfax


Big Routes , Alpine Dreamz


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Route of Interest

Grade: TD+ 6b+ ***
(Mont Blanc du Tacul)

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