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Rockfax Description
IV, 900m, 10 - 12 hours. Quite possibly the best route name in this book, Mark Twight famously quipped that, '...we called it the Richard Cranium Memorial, hoping we'd outgrown him.' The route was neglected until a decade or so after the turn of the millennium and it is nowadays a relatively popular route when in condition. It is not as reliable as the routes on the north face proper (it actually lies on the northwest face) but it is not rare to find good conditions from October until May.
Approach - From the Refuge d'Argentière, descend back onto the Glacier d'Argentière and head directly for the routes.
1) Cross the bergschrund and climb the snow couloir leading to the Col de L'Aiguille Verte. This starts out at 45 degrees and gradually steepens all the way.
2) Where the slope widens, drift leftwards, heading directly for the steep lower pitches of the headwall. The slopes ends up at 65 degrees by the time you reach the headwall.
3) Climb two excellent ice pitches, with a section of 80 degrees on the second one.
4) Continue up 100m of easier-angled ice to a narrow gully. Climb this (85 degrees, often mixed) and step right at the top to reach a ramp.
5) Climb the ramp for 100m and then follow the chimney system above as it goes first left and then back right to reach the summit ridge of Les Droites. The last 40m or so is loose in places and is difficult and dangerous when dry.
Descent - It is possible to abseil back down the line itself using Abalakov threads. This is dependent on ice conditions though. So, if you're planning on doing this, try to get some up to date information before setting out. Alternatively, descend as for The Ginat. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
On the NW face. Big ice slope then finishing up a series of steep runnels.


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Route of Interest

Le Piège

Grade: TD+ 6a+ ***
(Envers des Aiguilles)