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Aiguille du Refuge

Aiguille du Refuge

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Aiguille du Refuge

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: France, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.95204°N / 6.99413°E

Object Title: Aiguille du Refuge

County: Haute Savoie

Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer

Elevation: 10030 ft / 3057 m


Page By: AlbertoRampini

Created/Edited: Dec 15, 2013 / Jul 9, 2017

Object ID: 879789

Hits: 2152 

Page Score: 89.77%  - 30 Votes 

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Aiguille du Refuge m. 3057

Breathtaking view to Droites and Verte from Aiguille du Refuge

Aiguille du Refuge is one of the fine rocky satellites of Aiguille d’Argentière, built in the superb Mont Blanc reddish granite and lying on the right orographic side of Glacier d’Argentiere, opposite to the famous stunning mountain scenery given by Mont Dolent and Triolet on the left and by the majestic Northern faces of Les Courtes, Les Droites and Aiguille Verte, just in front of. On the South wall of this sunny and amazing peak run different routes, but the best known and the classic one is “Le Gateau de Riz”, a medium grading trad climb on first class granite. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking; for this reason, the quality of the rock and the closeness to the Refuge d’Argentiere the route is often attended, even in late winter or early spring, approaching it by skies.

Aiguille du Refuge m. 3057 from Glacier d'Argentière
Aiguille du Refuge (on the left) seen from Glacier d’Argentiere

Glacier d'Argentière
Glacier d'Argentière

Getting There

Road access

The starting point is the village of Argentière m. 1240
. The main road approachs to Argentière are:

- From Chamonix follow the road towards NE (toward France-Switzerland border, quickly getting to the village of Argentière (8 km. from Chamonix)

From Switzerland

- Starting from Martigny: follow the road getting to the Switzerland – France border, pass the border, getting to the village of Argentière (37 km. from Martigny, 5 km. from the border).

- Starting from Geneve: follow the E25 Motorway to St. Gervais les Bains, then the RN 205 to Chamonix and Argentière

From Italy

- From Aosta follow the E25 Motorway to Courmayeur, then enter the Mont Blanc Tunnel getting to Chamonix, then Argentière (73 km. from Aosta)

Approach to the Argentière Glacier
Approach on Glacier d’Argentiere

Approach to the Refuge d’Argentière

Reach the parking of the Grands Montets cable-car in the village of Argentière. From here there are two possibilities to reach the Refuge d’Argentière, the starting point of all the climbs on the satellites of Aiguille d’Argentière:

- A. Take the Grands Montets cable-car to the middle station (Lognan) m. 1973

From here follow an unpaved road, then the trail getting the orographic left side moraine (the right hand side by walking) of the Glacier d’Argentière. Walk on the moraine as far as the altitude of 2250 m., lightly descending on a trail getting the flat start of the glacier. Follow briefly the glacier, then again the trail on the moraine as far as a system of iron stairways climbing the slabs overlooking the glacier. Climb the stairways to the summit of the moraine. A good and panoramic path follows the moraine, ending at the junction between the Glacier d’Argentière and the Glacier des Rognons on the right. Downclimb some granite blocks (yellow marks) to get the flat surface of the Glacier d’Argentière, walking at first on the right side, then in the middle, finally traversing to the left side to take a good path leading to the Refuge d’Argentière. Easier but longer approach. From 3,30 to 4 hours from the Cable-Car station.

- B. Take the Grand Montets cable car to the upper station of Grands Montets m. 3297

From the station descent along the Glacier des Rognons, getting the huge blocks (yellow marks) before the junction between this glacier and the Glacier d’Argentière. From here as the previous approach. Two hours from the Cable-car upper station.

Head of Argentière glacier
Head of Argentière glacier


Refuge d’Argentière 2771 m - C.A.F – 150 beds, open from February to May and from June to September. Winter-hut (20 beds), phone +330450531692
Situation: Mont Blanc group - Northern shore of Argentière Glacier.
Open: from beginning of March to middle May and from middle June to middle September
Size: 100 persons + 20 in the winter-shelter
Getting there: from Argentiere by the Grands Montets cable-car, then by walking
Hut's phone : +33-0450531692

Refuge d'Argentiere and surrounding
View on Refuge d'Argentière, Pointe Kurtz and Mont Dolent

Red Tape

No particulary restrictions in climbing, mountaineering and hiking.

Route: Le Gateau de Riz report

Le Gateau de Riz, a beautiful trad route on Aiguille du Refuge

Summit altitude: m. 3057
Grade: D sup., French 5c (following the upper direct variants)
Climbing length: 250 m.
Exposure: S
Equipment: some rare pegs; more protection (friends, nuts and slings) along the pitches and to improve the belays is needed
First ascent: M. Piola – A. Muller – B. Wietliesbach 1975
Starting point: Argentière m. 1240 (parking). Cable car Grands Montets (8.00-17.00).
Hut: Refuge d’Argentière m. 2771

Le Gateau de Riz topo, Aiguille du Refuge
Le Gateau de Riz topo

On Le Gateau de Riz, Aiguille du Refuge
Le Gateau de Riz second pitch

An excellent trad route classic style, running on the typical great reddish granite of Mont Blanc group. A complex line, mainly following different kinds of cracks: the distinctive fourth pitch crack - the "Lucky Luke"- is one of these.

Le Gateau de Riz report (French scale)

Approach from Refuge d'Argentiere: just behind the hut take a trail towards North up the grassy slopes, heading towards the obvious spur lying on the left side of the reddish face of the peak.

P1 Climb a crack, then a chimney 4c, 30m. Belay on a good ledge.
P2 From the belay return to the left to the crest, without climbing the dihedral above the belay, then climb a detached flake. Belay on a little terrace. 4b, then 4a 35m.
P3 Follow directly the ridge with easier climb to a belay in a small cave to the right of an overhang, below the characteristic "Lucky Luke" crack 3c, 25 m.
P4 Up directly to catch the "Lucky Luke" crack, climb it with some hard moves, then climb a slab 4c, 15 m.
P5 Directly over the belay 5c, 30m. Belay on a large ledge.
P6 Enter a chimney, then follow an airy crest. 4a, then 3c, 35m.
P7 Cross the gap and gain the bottom of the steep summit tower 3c, 20m.
P8 Climb directly the steep wall above the belay to the summit 5b, 40m.

Aiguille du Refuge m. 3057 from Glacier d'Argentière
The "Lucky Luke" crack

Glacier d'Argentière
Jammed block on the descent - Triolet in the background

Descent : from the summit a 20 m abseil to North West leads inside the upper part of a steep gully. It's absolutely not recommended to abseil down the gully (slings visible)! The best route is traversing left under some overhangs, at first time mainly on level, then slightly upwards, to get a rocky crest below the summit (3a, 50 mt.), then a large scree gully. Scramble down the gully, keeping to the right at the bottom. The hut is visible!

When to climb

Best season goes from the end of June to the middle of September. Anyhow experienced climbers can climb the sunny South face of Aiguille du Refuge also in late winter and early spring, approaching by ski and obviously using the correct gear.

Where to stay

Aiguille du Refuge map

Refuge d’Argentière m. 2771

Accomodations in Chamonix Mont Blanc

Chamonix is a primary destintion, offering several accomodations (hotels, huts, gites, renting rooms). Numberless campsites are situated both in the Northern and Southern ends of the town.

Main campsites:

- Camping Glacier d'Argentière - Argentière (8 km. North to Chamonix) +33(0)450541736
- Camping la Mer de Glace - Les Praz (3 km. North to Chamonix) +33(0)450534403
- Camping les Deux Glaciers - Les Bossons (3 km. South to Chamonix) +33(0)450531584
- Camping les Arolles - close to the centre of Chamonix - +33(0)450531430
- Camping les Cimes - Les Bossons (3 km. South to Chamonix) +33(0)450535893
- Camping les Marmottes - +33(0)450536124




Useful information

- Office de la Haute Montagne de Chamonix Phone +33 0450 532208
Office de la Haute Montagne

- Cable-car informations Phone +33 0450 532275
Compagnie du MontBlanc

- Office du Tourisme de Chamonix Phone +33 0450 530024
Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Guidebook and maps

Monte Bianco classico e plaisir guidebook


"Monte Bianco classico & Plaisir" by Marco Romelli – Idea Montagna Editoria e Alpinismo


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