Rockfax Description
IV, 950m, 10 - 12 hours. This was a long-standing neglected line but it has become popular in recent years and now has teams on it almost any sunny day when it is in condition. The climbing is fantastic and, if you're good at making Abalakovs, the descent is relatively easy by the standards of long, hard winter routes. There are steep ice and rock pitches so take a full rack, including a large cam - you'll be glad of it at the crux! Follow Vivagel until halfway between the Couturier Couloir and crux gully and then branch off rightwards and climb two mixed pitches up 60 - 80 degree ground to reach the foot of the gully proper.
1) 3, 20m. Climb up and rightwards to belay beneath a huge orange block.
2) 6/A1, 50m. Climb up to the block and then traverse rightwards underneath it to reach a corner. Either climb this or the crack to the right, which has several pegs for protection but is hard and pumpy (M6+). Freeing either the corner or the crack on the right is difficult and most teams resort to pulling on the odd bit of gear to get through this. Whichever combination of left or right, free or aid, you eventually end up on a 15m section of thin ice leading to a small belay ledge right of the main gully.
3) 5, 50m. Traverse left back into the main gully system and climb some thin ice and mixed ground over two short bulges to a fixed belay right of, and just below, a large square roof.
4) 4+, 50m. Step right and climb the stunning runnel of ice. This can be thin in places so you may well be glad of a couple of short ice screws.
5) 4, 20m. The angle of the gully eases but the quality doesn't! Continue straight up to reach a belay in the snow couloir above the crux gully of Vivagel.
6) Either abseil back down from here or go right and climb the snow gully (50 - 60 degrees) for 250m and then branch out of it leftwards to reach the east ridge of the Grande Rocheuse. Scramble up this to the Grande Rocheuse Summit.
Descend the Grande Rocheuse west ridge to the top of the Bettembourg - Thivierge Gully either by downclimbing or by making a 25m abseil just to the right of the ridge crest. © Rockfax

R Jasper, J Heller 16/Feb/1994.


ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50 , Alpine Grande Courses , Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif


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Route of Interest
Dru Couloir Direct

Grade: ED2 ***
(Les Dru)

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