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Rockfax Description
IV, 1000m, 1 day. This is a great route - wild, remote and serious enough to be respected by even the strongest of teams. The climbing is never desperate (although it borders on it for a couple of moves), but the route has objective dangers and would be very difficult to retreat from. Save this one until you are fit, experienced and acclimatised enough and you will have an amazing time.
Approach - From the Refugio Monzino, go up a scree slope towards the moraine of the Glacier du Brouillard. When the path peters out, go directly to the glacier and follow the right-hand side all the way to the rock spur that the Bivacco Eccles sits on. The glacier can be crevassed, dry, icy and prone to rockfall, so good route finding and the ability to move quickly are vital. Once next to the rock spur, traverse left across broken rock and mixed terrain to reach the Bivacco Eccles. Allow 7 - 8 hours from the car park to the Bivacco Eccles. If this is full, there is a bivvi location at the base of the Innominata.
From the old Bivacco Eccles, climb up the southwest ridge of the Pointe Eccles and then make a single abseil down to the Col Eccles. Allow one hour from the Bivacco Eccles to the Col Eccles. If conditions allow (and they rarely do), it is possible to make a 50m abseil northwards from the hut to reach the Brouillard Glacier and then climb up to the Col Eccles via a 45 degree snow slope. This option is quicker than going up the southwest ridge but is rarely in good condition and the 45 degree snow slope is often blocked by a large bergschrund. If you have solid information that this approach is possible, count yourself lucky and save yourself 20 minutes or so getting to the Col Eccles.
1) 3c. Follow a snowy ridge to the foot of the first rock step and go directly up this (3c) to reach the foot of two red towers.
2) 5b. Climb a tough, 40m long chimney (5b) to reach a ledge just right of the towers. Climb a 5m high crack (4c) just to the right of the first tower and then come back left by passing through a hole under a boulder.
3) 4b. Climb the steep rocky ridge above (4b) and follow it to a narrow and exposed snow ridge which leads to the foot of the second rock step.
4) Climb diagonally up and left to avoid the second step and to reach the wide couloir which splits the first and second half of the Innominata Ridge. Cross the couloir up and leftwards as quickly as possible (it is prone to rockfall) to where it steepens and reaches a snow gully leading up and left. Ideally the whole of the traverse across the couloir should be on snow, but it will involve crossing a couple of rock ribs in anything other than ideal conditions.
4a) If conditions are really poor in the couloir, it is possible to traverse left all the way across it from the point at which you join it. Once on the far side, climb up broken rock (maximum 5b) to reach the snow gully leading up and left. This option is slower than crossing the couloir the normal way but does mean that you are exposed to danger for slightly less time.
5) Follow the snow gully leftwards to reach the ridge crest. Continue up the ridge via snow and mixed ground, which is never hard but sometimes loose, to reach a stunning snow ridge. Go up this to reach the Brouillard Ridge.
Descent - Follow the Brouillard Ridge to a 30m rock step. Avoid this on the left then continue up a stunning but easy snow ridge to Mont Blanc de Courmayeur (4748m) and onto Mont Blanc itself. Descend either the Trois Monts Route, GoĆ»ter Route or Pope Route from the summit of Mont Blanc. © Rockfax

Ticklists

Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif, ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50, Alpine Dreamz, GUMC boys ChaM dREAM holiday

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High TD-
Mid TD-
Low TD-
High D+
Mid D+
Low D+
High D
Mid D
Low D
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High 4a
Mid 4a
Low 4a
High 3+
Mid 3+
Low 3+
High 3
Mid 3
Low 3
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Style of Ascent
Alt Leads
Not Set
Onsighted
DNF
Not Set
Route of Interest

Mer de Glace Face

Grade: D+ 5c ***
(Envers des Aiguilles)