OverviewThe Chèré Couloir is the classic ice gully of the Mont Blanc du Tacul's North Face, which is also known as the Triangle du Tacul.
The route is popular and you should pay attention that not too many people are above you because of the danger of falling ice and other debris.
Since the route is north-facing it can generally be climbed throughout the year. During winter it's a tough but wonderful ice-climb with very good ice, but the risk of getting serious frostbite is significant! Sometimes it's about -30°C while climbing during winter.
The Chèré Couloir is shown as route G in the following overview photo:
ApproachCatch the Aiguille du Midi telepherique up from Chamonix in the morning or start from either the Cosmiques Refuge or Abri Simond bivouac (in winter). The base of the Triangle du Tacul is reached by an easy walk across the Col du Midi.
Route DescriptionThe Chèré Couloir is a very slender couloir which goes up in the very right part of of the triangle.
After having passed the bergschrund, you climb to the first steep step. The ice becomes steeper and steeper (at the beginning 60°, then 70° and 80°). After a less steep passage, you have to climb over the second very steep passages with 75°. At the end, you climb on the right side of the mixed ridge until you reach the end of the triangle.
Many parties only climb the first 5 or 6 pitches, which are the steepest, and then abseil the route by the same way. Most of these initial pitches have in-situ bolted belay stations.
Essential GearTwo technical axes, a few ice screws and some rock protection. Double 60m ropes are recommended if you plan to abseil the route.
DescentFrom the end of the rock at the apex of the Triangle du Tacul (3970m) there are various options for descent, and the best choice will depend on the snow and serac conditions on the NW flank, which can be a bit treacherous at times - due caution is advised!
- From the apex of the triangle descend the NW Slope (150m, max 45°), which is directly adjacent to the rock on the W side. Abseils and/or down-climibing may be required. (see route 187. in "Snow, ice and mixed.")
- Ascend the North Ridge above the triangle and then traverse to the right into the NW flank of Mont Blanc du Tacul underneath the highest band of seracs to join the Normal Route.
- Ascend the North Ridge as far as the summit of the Mont Blanc du Tacul and then descend by the Normal Route.
- It is possible to abseil the Chèré Couloir, which has much fixed gear and several in-situ belay stations (especially for the lower pitches). Be aware, however, that this is a popular route and the safety of other parties should be respected. Don't drop rocks, ice, ropes, or similar onto their heads! Double 60m ropes are recommended for the abseil descent.
AcknowledgementThis page was originally created by Rahel Maria Liu who was an enthusiastic contributor to Summitpost in the site's early days. She died tragically whilst climbing the Innominata Spur in August 2004.
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