III, 800m, 2 days. A long and classic route, which is one of the most clearly visible routes from the valley. The appeal of sitting in town with a beer and telling anyone who'll listen that you've climbed this should not be underestimated!Approach - Descend from the lift down to the Col des Grands Montets and climb the initial part of the Petite Aiguille Verte's Northwest Ridge. The route description begins from the bergschrund on that route. 1) Cross the bergschrund on the Petite Aiguille Verte's Northwest Ridge and climb easily up to the curved snow ridge just before the exposed snow traverse. Cut off the ridge rightwards and descend slightly for 30m to reach a vague ledge system.2) Follow the ledge system as it traverses across the Glacier du Nant Blanc side of the ridge. It ascends in places and also descends briefly but the exact line will depend on where you can find the most solid rock, which will vary from year to year. The rock quality is not what it might be, but protection can usually be found throughout and if you pick a good line the whole thing shouldn't feel too dangerous. After crossing a wide gully, descend slightly and then make sure you take the higher of the two ledge systems - don't descend towards the Glacier du Nant Blanc.3) After roughly 2 hours of traversing, the ledge system ends at the foot of a chimney. Climb this for 60m to reach the notch just to the north of Pointe Farrar.4) Cross onto the Glacier d'Argentière side of the ridge and traverse broken slabs easily to reach a notch just before the Aiguille Carrée. 5) 5a. Climb the Aiguille Carrée via a deep, thrutchy chimney (which is only graded 5a but, with a rucksack on, can feel pretty physical) to reach some slabs on the Nant Blanc side. Climb a steep crack on the left to reach the true summit of the Aiguille Carrée.6) From the top of the Carrée, downclimb on the Argentière side to reach an abseil anchor. Make a 20m abseil to the col between the Carrée and Ségogne. Do not climb directly up the ridge, instead traverse horizontally on the Argentière side. Just around the corner is a snow and ice gully (two ice axes may be useful depending on conditions). Climb it to reach a snow patch.7) 5a. Traverse left on the Argentière side, through a section of bad rock, then go around a pillar and climb steeply around big blocks to reach a good ledge at the foot of a giant slab on the right-hand side of the ridge. Traverse the slab to the distinctive hand-crack and climb it to the crest (5a). 8) To reach the summit and its abseil anchors, traverse right to the crack and climb it easily if it's dry. Alternatively, climb straight up the ridgeline, which means 15m of totally unprotectable 5a slab climbing! Make two abseils on the Argentière side (25m then 30m) to reach a snow slope which leads easily to the Col du Nant Blanc. There are plenty of good bivouac sites, so settle in and get some sleep because you'll need an early start the next day!If the unprotectable 5a slab is too snowy, or you are pushed for time, it is possible to avoid the Pointe Ségogne entirely by making a snowy traverse on the Argentière side of the ridge from the top of the ice gully described on section 6) to the foot of the two abseils. 9) Drag yourself out of your sleeping bag and climb the summit snow slope (50 - 60 degrees), picking the best route you can find through the various seracs and crevasses. In good conditions this should take 1 - 2 hours. If descending the Whymper Couloir, you should aim to hit the summit at dawn. If heading down the Moine Ridge you can afford a slightly later start but still need to be shifting if you're planning on making the last train down from the Montenvers. The summit is incredible and enjoys stunning views of virtually the whole massif. Local guides insist that you are not a 'vrai alpiniste' (real alpinist) until you've climbed the Verte so take a minute to pat yourself on the back before commencing the descent.Descent - Descend either the Whymper Couloir or the Moine Ridge into the Talèfre Basin. The Whymper suffers from rockfall and also needs stable snow, plus an early start - if the sun has been up for an hour or so by the time you get to the top of it, you're probably already too late. Descending the Moine Ridge is long but relatively safe. © Rockfax
UKC Logbook Description
The rocky Grands Montets ridge rise from behind the Petite Aiguille Verte in a long sweep up the the snow slopes of the Verte itself. The route follows ledges on both sides of the ridge turning most of the Points and gendarmes along the way. Route no. 74 of the Rebuffat 100 finest.
P. Dalloz, J. Lagarde and H de Segogne 09/Aug/1925.
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