Aiguille du Chardonnet - Aureille-Feutren Gully (III 4+)
Access to the area is easy, we came up on a lift and camped near Albert 1er hut. 1hr from the lift to the hut. The hut is now re-opened and one doesn't need to pitch a tent. In fact, this is not officially allowed.
Approached the start of the route via glacier du Tour from Albert 1er following a track. The route is easy to find as it is an obvious vertical line on the right from Migot spur. There's a berg to be crossed via a snow bridge.
Start of the couloir is steep, and was covered with not very stable refrozen ice over snow. Mixed climbing, pro on rock (small to mid-cams .3-1 BD, nuts). It gets better after 20m or so and ice becomes more stable. It is possible to belay on ice from about mid couloir.
Rock quality is good, it is possible to set up belays on rock. Ice quality varies and improved the higher we were.
After the couloir is very pleasant ice climbing almost up to the summit, not very steep (50deg) and decent belay on ice.
This time of year the couloir never sees the sun and the slope above gets sun in the afternoon. Thus water from the molten snow/ice above flows down and freezes in the couloir.
- Steep Mixed/ice up to 75/85deg 20m
- Ice couloir 3-4 pitches ~60/65deg 100m (bolt belay mid-couloir)
- Ice slope/wide couloir ~55deg 200m
- Ice/snow slope below summit ~50deg 100m
Descended via normal NW ridge with ~8 abseils
Berg on the descent was wide and tricky to descent over as it was dark and vis was poor.
Clear morning - deteriorating later to the point of poor visibility & intermittent precipitation.
Conditions were good for the route - couple of fairly cold days prior to the ascent.
- left the tent at 5am
- 3hr approach to the berg
- 10hr for the route berg to summit - summited at 6pm
- 4hr for descent and hiking back to tent
- arrived back 2.30am (1hr at the top + took a while to cross the berg on the way down)
- total of 22 hours tent to tent (camping near Albert 1er which was closed at the time)
It was our second route for the season and also we weren't on this summit before so it took us a while. We were conservative and always erred on safe side, thus we weren't particularly fast but did the route with good safety margin. Almost all length of the route (560m berg to summit) we belayed each other and only simul-climbed the last ~100m section, as it was very icy. Similarly, on descent we did lots of abseils although it would be possible to downclimb half of this distance, especially if one knows the descent - we didn't.
A note for russian readers, we suggest 5A russian mountaineering grade for this route.