Aiguille de Toula is a minor summit in the Mont Blanc group situated between Aiguille d'Entrèves to the southwest and Grand Flambeau to the East, along the watershed that divides France from Italy. The north side of Aiguille de Toula descends to the Géant glacier, while the south side presides over the Toula glacier.
Thanks to its proximity to Punta Helbronner--reachable by cable car--Aiguille de Toula is a popular destination. The easiest route to its summit requires nothing more than scrambling up easy broken rocks. The approach, however, is on glacier: proper caution should be exercised.
Some sources call this peak Aiguille de Toules or Aiguille de Toule. The version adopted here appears to be the one in common use in Courmayeur. The origin of the name, on the other hand, is not disputed: In the local dialect, the word toula denotes a rectangular pasture. Since there are two such grassy bands on the south side of the peak, Buscaini, in his Monte Bianco, Volume I argues that the name should use the plural toules.
The elevations reported in this page are the ones on the italian map of Istituto Geaografico Militare (IGM). As is the case with most features along the border, there are small discrepancies with the heights given in the French maps.
Besides the standard route, which is suitable as a gentle introduction to alpine climbing, Aiguille de Toula provides more challenging routes, especially on the steep snow of the northwest face. The Toula glacier, in addition, is often descended by expert skiers.
The easiest approach to Aiguille de Toula is from Punta Helbronner (3462 m), which can be reached by cable car from la Palud, near Courmayeur. Punta Helbronner is also reachable from Chamonix via Aiguille du Midi. Please, refer to the main Mont Blanc GROUP page for general directions to Courmayeur and Chamonix.
From Punta Helbronner, go to Col des Flambeaux (3407 m) and, veering left, reach the Eastern Col de Toula, 3411m, between Aiguille de Toula and Grand Flambeau (3566 m).
An alternate, longer, and more challenging approach to the col from the south starts from Mont Frety (2174 m), the first intermediate station of the cable car. From there it follows the trail for Rifugio Torino until the grassy slopes turn into rocks. At that point it traverses to the left towards the snout of the Toula glacier and climbs it to the Eastern Col de Toula.
From the col the summit is reached by a steep but uncomplicated scramble. The overall rating is F if coming from Punta Helbronner and PD via the Toula Glacier.
No permits are required and no fees must be paid to climb Aiguille de Toula. Since it is on the Italian-French border, carry some means of identification.
When To Climb
The period from mid June to mid September usually offers the best conditions. Access on skis is possible year-round--weather permitting. The rock climbs would be substantially more challenging off season.
A list of possible camping sites can be found on the main Mont Blanc GROUP page. The most convenient moutain hut for Aiguille de Toula is Rifugio Torino. It is quite possible, though, to climb this summit without spending the night at the hut.
Please refer to the very complete list on the main Mont Blanc GROUP page.