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Arête des Cosmiques
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Arête des Cosmiques

 
Arête des Cosmiques

Page Type: Route

Location: Mont Blanc, France, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.87827°N / 6.88581°E

Object Title: Arête des Cosmiques

Route Type: Mountaineering, Mixed

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: AD, 4a (4c crux)

Route Quality: 
 - 35 Votes
 

 

Page By: Rahel Maria Liu, BigLee

Created/Edited: Dec 13, 2001 / Jun 27, 2009

Object ID: 155970

Hits: 53387 

Page Score: 92.22%  - 38 Votes 

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In Memory of Rahel Maria Liu

This page is dedicated to the former maintainer Rahel Maria Liu who tragically died during an attempted climb of the Innominata spur on the southern (Italian) face of Mont Blanc in August 2004.

Overview

The Cosmiques Ridge is a supurb varied route which is justifiably popular. It is the perfect introduction to Alpine mixed climbing has enough variety to keep experienced climbers happy. The route is also known as the Cosmiques Arête and South-South-West Ridge. It's graded at AD (sometimes even PD or PD+) but the crux is hard for its grade and suitable mixed climbing and abseiling skills are required. Much of the ridge can be climbed moving together, however the crux section will likely require a belay to be established. The rock is excellent quality throughout and there are plenty of locations to place protection.
It is possible to climb the ridge year round however poor snow conditions will make the route more difficult and dangerous. In poor conditions, descending from the cable station down to the Col du Midi can also be a nervous affair. Most people climb the route between June and September. The ridge was first climbed by George and Maxwell Finched on 2nd August 1911.
Cosmiques Ridge Route
The Route

Approach

The route starts from the Abri Simond bivouac hut which is adjacent to the Cosmiques hut. The obvious way to reach the starting point is via the Aiguille du Midi-Vallee Blanche Cable car from Chamonix. From the cable car station, descend to the Col du Midi and then head for the Cosmiques Hut, bearing towards to Abri Simond as it comes into view. It's possible to climb the Cosmiques Ridge the same morning as having taken the cable car however there will be climbing traffic on the route which will likely slow you down.
 
Aiguille du Midi...
Descending from the Aiguille du Midi station
 
Al colle du Midi (3532 m) 01...
Traversing the Col du Midi
 
The Cosmiques Arête starts above the Abri Simond hut
Start of the Cosmiques Ridge above the Abri Simond hut

Route Description

The route description sounds intricate however it is generally easy to navigate. Cosmiques Ridge commences from the Abri Simond hut from where it climbs 150m to 3770m. Despite the short distance, the route usually takes about half a day. Initially the climbing is up an easy snow slope and then mixed ground. As you approach the first gendarme of the subsidiary summit (3731m), climb the inclined slabs (4b).
 
Starting up the route.
Start of route
 
Cosmiques hut
Just above the Abri Simond Hut
 
The Arete des Cosmiques,just...
Just above the Abri Simond Hut
 
Lower Arete
Short distance above Abri Simond hut
 
Climbing the lower reaches of...
Lower slabs
 
Cosmiques Arete, July 2000
Top of ab point

Follow the crest of the ridge to the second subsidiary summit. Make a descending traverse (exposed, possible abseil) across two steps. Follow the steps to the end where it passes between two rock walls.
Abseil 30m in two pitches via the bolted belays.
 
Dougie Abseiling on the...
1st abseil
 
First rappel point on...
1st abseil
 
The first of two abseils half way up Cosmiques Arête
1st abseil
 
Arete de Cosmiques (June...
1st abseil
 
Abseiling on the traverse of...
2nd abseil
 
Abseil down the gully on the...
2nd abseil

Continue traversing along terraces to go round the first big tower. Climb an awkward chimney (4a) to reach a good ledge on the right. Climb back onto the ridge via a snow slope that overlooks the Cosmiques Couloir. Go right round a second tower. Alternatively skirt the second tower to the left, going through a small notch and descending a small ice couloir. Follow the ridge to the foot of the crux slab.
 
L arête des Cosmiques
Abseil section (l) & 1st tower (r)
 
Arrête des Cosmiques
Traverse round 1st tower
 
Aiguille de Midi
4a chimney
 
Climbing the Arête des Cosmiques
Above 4a chimney

 
Cosmique s Ridge, Aiguille du Midi
Above 4a chimney
 
L arête des Cosmiques
Route between two towers
 
Cosmique s Ridge, Aiguille du Midi
Traversing towards crux slab
 
Aiguille du Midi from the...
Traversing towards crux slab
 
Gendarmes
View back to 2nd tower from crux slab

The crux slab is only 5m and has an in-situ sling and pegs in the diagonal crack running up it but is rated 4c. The slab appears to have been made easier recently by a mindless moron having chipped sections out of the rock. I have not seen the evidence first hand to be able to gauge how this affects the difficulty but these photos clearly show the damage:

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3

If you can't manage the slab then you will need to back-track and descend the Cosmiques Couloir (PD, 200m, 40/45 degrees) down to the Col du Midi.
Climbing the aid section on Cosmiques Arête
Leading the crux 4c section in poor conditions

 
Final pitch of the Arete des...
4c slab
 
Crux of the Arete des Cosmiques
4c slab
 
Arête des Cosmiques-S-SW
4c slab
 
cosmiques ridge
Traverse above slab
 
Coming up the last section of...
Final 3c/4a pitches

Above the slab, traverse right along the narrow ledge. Climb a few metres to a terrace on the left and move onto the NW face. Gain a couloir-chimney, then climb clacks (2 pitches 3c/4a). Go up onto the final snowy shoulder and climb the metal ladder to the terrace on the South pinnacle.
 
The top of the Cosmiques...
Top of the route
 
Climbing the rather...
Final ladder up to the cable station
 
Les cosmiques
View back down the route
 
Refuge des Cosmiques
Cosmiques hut above tents on the Col du Midi
[img:22046:alignleft:thumb:View back down the route]

Difficulty:

1. Eberlein :
IV+ (6m), mostly II, seldom III, mixed AD, short but varied firn and rock ridge, very beautiful, in summer full, 200 hm, 2-4 h

2. Damilano/Perroux :
II AD. 4a, key passage: 4c

Essential Gear

• Crampons
• Ice axe
• Rope (2 half ropes recommended for the abseils)
• Half a set of nuts
• 4 slings
• 4 quickraws
• Abseil/belay device

Accomodation

[img:117834:alignright:small:Cosmiques hut above tents on the Col du Midi]
Cosmiques Hut (3613m)
Tel +33 (0)4 50544016
145 Places
Staffed from mid-february to mid-october

Abri Simond bivouac hut
Officially the hut is no longer usable but is still open in winter when the Cosmiques hut is closed. There is no charge for staying and there are 18 beds. There is no electricity and you need to be completely self sufficient to stay here.

The Midi Station
An rougher option is to sleep on the floor in the midi station. Again you obviously need to be completely self sufficient. On the plus side, the route will finish right on your doorstep.

Camping
People always camp on the Col du Midi. It's not officially allowed but people do it anyway!

External Links

Trip report

Another trip report

I plan to add a proper list of external links in the coming days...

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-3 of 3    
athpalRoute Comment

athpal

Hasn't voted

I climbed Arete des Cosmiques on 20th of August 2002. Please note down the following :


1.After the gendarm (3.731m) you continue for a little while the ridge and then you abseil down twice. There are two abseil rings, slings etc.Each abseil is about 10 - 15 m.


2.The key passage was well equipped. There were rope ladders & sling. After the key passage you reach a bolt (there is another one above but is unscrewed), then continue 3 -4 meters right, approximately 10 meters up (the first 3/4 is an easy narrow passage)and then left.
Posted Aug 29, 2002 5:39 am
ProbemeisterRoute Comment

Hasn't voted

The passage of 4+ has a large ring bolt about 2m up it to aid the hardest move, this means the route can be done at 3+ (UIAA)
Posted Sep 18, 2002 8:47 am
duxe1975Route Comment

duxe1975

Hasn't voted

The cosmic arête is mostly graded (by most of the guide books), as PD/PD+ .


The grade IV rock section is very short one just a couple of moves.


The route shouldn’t be underestimated but then its not difficult, relatively safe, and nice and short route for acclimatization and introduction to the area.


Posted Aug 26, 2004 7:51 pm

Viewing: 1-3 of 3    

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