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Rockfax Description
IV, 200m (in addition to the normal route), 7 - 8 hours. The Traverse is not climbed often but those who have done it are usually full of praise. The description begins from the east summit, where the Normal Route finishes. In good conditions virtually all of the terrain other than the ridge crest should be snowy, albeit with plenty of rock around to provide protection. The technical grade for pitch § is highly conditions-dependent. The route is exposed throughout and covers a lot of ground - allow at least 14 hours for the round trip from the hut.
1) Follow the ridge crest easily down to some beautiful rock teeth. Pass onto the right of the ridge to get round these and then come back onto the ridge after the final one.
2) Make a 30m abseil down a chimney onto a snow/mixed slope beneath the Brèche des Droites.
3) Traverse under a triangular pinnacle and then scramble back onto the ridge crest.
4) Follow the crest, avoiding anything too technical by dropping off to the right of the ridge, to the west summit.
5) Scramble south down a short a gully and then make a long mixed traverse across the top of the south face, under the Tour des Droites, to rejoin the ridge at a wide col.
6) Continue down the ridge to the eastern end of the Col de l'Aiguille Verte.
Descent - Descend the 40 degree snow/mixed couloir which leads from the eastern end of the Col de l'Aiguille Verte down to the Glacier de Talèfre and comes out near the foot of the Whymper Couloir. This descent is threatened by rockfall in hot conditions so climb them on a cooler day, get up early and bail if you aren't making good time.
Descent from Bêche des Droites - The couloir dropping down the south face from the Brèche des Droites can be abseiled from fixed anchors on 2 x 50m ropes. This is the most popular descent off the north face routes and also a bail out option from the Traverse. © Rockfax

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Route of Interest

Écandies Traverse

Grade: D- ***
(Pointe des Écandies)