Rockfax Description
III, 700m, 5 - 7 hours. This is a great route for any mid-grade alpinist. The technical difficulties are low but the exposure is breathtaking and confidence in your cramponing is essential.
Approach - From the Helbronner lift, cross the Col des Flambeaux and descend northwest to pass under the Aiguille de Toule. Turn west and gently ascend, passing under the North Face of the Tour Ronde to reach the huge glacial plateau beneath the Arête de la Brenva. The scenery here is some of the best in the Alps and should only increase excitement levels. The plateau can also be reached from the Aiguille du Midi by descending to the Pyramide du Tacul and climbing past the Pointe Adolphe Rey and Grand Capucin. The area around these summits can be heavily crevassed and this approach is an hour longer than approaching from Helbronner.
The Arête de la Brenva looks imposing but the climb to the Bivouac de la Fourche is straightforward enough in good conditions. There are numerous snow couloirs leading to the ridge crest so ensure that you choose the correct one! When approaching the foot of the couloirs, the one you are looking for is to the right of the serac, and the two large, distinctive rock teeth, and to the left of the Col de la Fourche.
The bergschrund often requires the use of two ice axes, but in anything other than very poor conditions should present few problems for a competent team. Climb the snow couloir with sections up to 50 degrees to reach the ridge. The hut is 10m on the right - two hours from Helbronner, 3 hours from the Aiguille du Midi. The view is staggering.
It is also possible to climb the route direct from the Rifugio Torino by climbing the prominent snow couloir which joins the ridge just after the two small towers near the Bivouac de la Fourche. This has the advantage that you don't need to carry a stove and food but makes the day longer and means that you don't get to spend a night in the amazingly positionned Bivouac de la Fourche.
1) From the hut, follow the ridge crest, turning two small towers on the right, until it steepens at a buttress.
2) Climb this to the left of the crest via a snow/mixed gully to regain the ridge and follow it on the snowy crest.
3) Although technically straightforward, the section on the crest is incredibly exposed and features the legendary and often photographed traverse across the 'demi-lune' just before Pointe de l'Androsace.
4) 4c. Turn the Pointe de L'Androsace on the left (Brenva) side and return to the ridge at a small notch. Carry on for 10m along broken rocky ground and descend slightly on the Brenva side to reach a short, awkward crack (4c) which leads to a mixed ramp (or bare rock in late season), which gradually leads you back onto the ridge crest.
5) Follow the ridge crest without any significant obstacles until just below the point where the ridge meets the northwest shoulder of Mont Maudit.
6) Traverse onto the Chamonix side and climb a snowy gully to reach the shoulder and summit ridge.
7) Follow this via an exposed, snowy traverse to the summit of Mont Maudit. The final ridge is spectacular and a fitting end to one of the finest routes in the Alps.
Descent - Retreat from the hut is possible via the line of approach and there are some fixed anchors in the approach couloir to allow sections to be abseiled. Retreat from the route itself would be problematic.
From the summit of Mont Maudit, descend the West Face to join the Trois Monts Route (page §§§) from summit of Mont Blanc. Descend this to the Aiguille du Midi via the Col du Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc du Tacul. The descent of Mont Maudit's west face to reach the Trois Monts Route is only 100m long but it can be icy so taking along an Abalakov threader to create abseil anchors isn't a bad idea. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
Classic ridge traverse. Also called 'Frontier Ridge'.
The approach to the Col de la Fourche Hut can be in very bad nick and as an alternative, from the Torino Hut pass the snow/ice slope that leads up to the Col de la Fourche Hut and climb the snow/ice slope a bit further along (closer to the summit) that leads to the ridge.

From the Col de la Fourche Hut, follow the ridge and snowy snow slope to the snowy ridge that leads under Pt. de l'Androsace. 50 meter descending ice traverse to the left then contour around to snow gully that leads up towards skyline. Up through a bit of mixed climbing, right then back to the left on to the snowy cornice leading up the NE Ridge to the summit tower.

M. von Kuffner with A. Burgener, J Furrer and porter 02/Jul/1887.


Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif , Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif , ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50 , Big Routes , Alpine Dreamz , Big Alpine Routes , Alpine Progression , Alps 22


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High D+
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High D
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Votes cast 27
Style of Ascent
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Route of Interest

Grade: D ***
(Les Dru)

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