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Grand Capucin
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Grand Capucin

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Grand Capucin

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: France, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.85253°N / 6.89918°E

Object Title: Grand Capucin

Activities: Mountaineering

Elevation: 12591 ft / 3838 m


Page By: Rahel Maria Liu, Antonio Giani, hiltrud.liu

Created/Edited: Mar 26, 2001 / Oct 7, 2017

Object ID: 150273

Hits: 51532 

Page Score: 98.77%  - 89 Votes 

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South Side of Grand Capucin - Photo by Antonio Giani

In memory of
Rahel Maria Liu, the former maintainer of this page. Rahel died on the Innominata Spur to Mont Blanc in a snowstorm on August 24th, 2004.

On the glacierView of Mont BlancBivouacUFO above Mont BlancGrand Capucin

GRAND CAPUCIN - a red granite tower on the Gèant Glacier
    The Grand Capucin is an extraordinary red granite tower in the Mont Blanc MASSIF. It has an E face rising steeply out of the Géant Glacier.

    The famous granite tower is an unique monolith in the Mont Blanc Area. The magnificent Grand Capucin is situated at the end of the east side of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. You can't miss it when you go from the Aiguille du Midi to the Rifugio Torino. It is a wonderful rock obelisk on the Glacier du Géant.

    Particularly noticeable are the rows of overhangs which at one time suggested it was unclimbable, but Bonatti found a winding route which goes over some of the overhangs, but in general works its way up between the great roofs; the climbing is quite literally, geometrically vertical, something quite exceptional on granite.

    Although its faces are not higher than 490 m and although the mountain can be seen only from the summits around, it has been interesting for rock climbers since 40 years.

* The famous Granite Tower Grand Capucin (3838 m) - Photos by Antonio Giani

Grand Capucin RoutesThe Red Tower

MANY THANKS for the lovely work, Antonio!

GRAND CAPUCIN ROUTES (Photos by Antonio Giani)
    A= Blue Route "Elixir d'Astaroth". Difficulty ED+/6A/A2

    B= Red Route "Walter Bonatti". Difficulty TD+/V+/A1/A2

    C= Green Route "Eau et gaz à tous les étages". Difficulty ED+/6C/A3/A4/

    For the Routes compare the section Routes-Overview below.

Historical notes

    After the first climbing through the E face, done by Walter Bonatti and L. Ghigo from 20th to 23rd of July 1951 (with the equipment of the 50ies ... respect!!), the Bonatti route has been the goal of extreme climbers for a long time. 1981 and later, there have been arranged very difficult sport climbing routes, which are the attraction to the climbers today.

    Besides the "Triple Directe", it is especially the route "Voyage selon Gulliver", which is interesting. The first ascent of the summit was undertaken by E. Augusto, Adolphe and Henri Rey and L. Lanier on 24. July 1924.

Deep crevasses between Rifugio Torino and the refuge Les Cosmiques - Photo by besucher01

Crevasses, rockfall and bad weather
    There are deep crevasses in the area of the Géant Glacier. And falling stones on the fine rock routes to the summit of Grand Capucin are very dangerous. Pay attention to crevasses and stonefall!

    Sometimes the weather changes very quickly, a great and serious danger - to be caught on the summit in a heavy storm.

Getting There

* Glacier du Géant - Photo by Hiltrud Liu

Walking on the Glacier du Géant - 2.8.2008

To the Grand Capucin (Cirque Maudit):
    You can come from the Refuge Les Cosmiques.

    You can come from the Rifugio Torino.

To the Refuge Les Cosmiques:

    In order to reach the hut, you need about 1/2 h from the Aig. du Midi. If you leave the cable car station via the bridge, you go to the South summit. On the firn ridge, you go down in SE direction of an even ridgeplatform; then turn right to the S and in SW direction below the S face of the Aig. du Midi. Pay attention to crevasses!

    You reach the Aiguille du Midi with cable car from Chamonix.

To the Rifugio Torino
    You reach the hut directly with the cable car from Entrève/Courmayeur (Italy).

    You can reach the hut directly also with the Helbronner cable car from the Aiguille du Midi (to Aiguille du Midi with the cable car from Chamonix).

    Or you go on foot from the Aiguille du Midi over the glacier du Géant (3 h): From the foot of the S face of the Aiguille du Midi you go on the almost even glacier to the Pointe Lachenal, turn left (E) to the glacier valley below the rugged E face of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. You go along this E face of the Tacul and the Pointe Adolphe Rey in order to loose only little height.

    Now you turn to the ESE to the Col des Flambeaux. From here in a few minutes to the Refugio Torino. It is a very beautiful glacier walk with 200 hm ascent. Difficulty: F.

    You reach Courmayeur through the Mont Blanc tunnel from Chamonix.

    You reach Chamonix with train, bus or car from Geneva or Martigny (Switzerland).

To the Cirque Maudit
    You reach the Cirque Maudit from the Aig. du Midi or the Ref. Cosmiques: From the foot of the S face of the Aig. du Midi you go on the almost even glacier to the Pointe Lachenal, turn left (E) to the glacier valley below the rugged E face of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. You go along this E face of the Tacul and the Pointe Adolphe Rey in order to loose only little height. Then you go either with a big detour to the north face of the Tour Ronde or quite directly up to the Col de Trident and the Cirque Maudit. Attention: Here are more crevasses!

    You reach the Cirque Maudit from the Rifugio Torino: From the Col du Géant near the Rif. Torino: You traverse the Col des Flambeaux and descend the glacier in direction of the Mont Maudit. Then you go along the Aiguille de Toule and the north face of the Tour Ronde to the Cirque Maudit which is built by the Arête de la Brenva, the Mont Maudit and the Mont Blanc du Tacul.

    * Panoramic view of Grand Capucin (Photo by Rahel Maria Liu)

Show labels

You reach the Chamonix Valley by train:
    From Martigny (Switzerland) via Vallorcine.

    From Geneva (airport) via Anncey (TGV till here) and St. Gervais.

You reach the Chamonix Valley by bus:
    From/via Annecy, Geneva, Grenoble, Courmayeur, Aoste and Turin

You reach the Chamonix Valley by car:
    From Geneva (from the NW) on the A40 till St. Gervais and from here on the N205.

    From Martigny (from the NE, Switzerland) via Vallorcine and the Col des Montets on the road no. N506.

You reach the Val Ferret (Italy) by bus or car:
    From Chamonix through the Mont Blanc Tunnel from the NW.

    From Torino (from the SE) on the A5 via Villeneuve.

North Side of Grand Capucin - Photo by Antonio Giani


* GRAND CAPUCIN - E Face - N Face - Sunset - S Face - Photos by gabriele, om, Todo Vertical, ben jammin and as

East SideNorth SideSunsetSouth SideMont Blanc glowing

Institut Géographique National
    1:25000 no. 3630 OT Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc

Instituto Geografico Centrale
    1:25000 no. 165107 I.G.C. Monte Bianco

    1:50000 Kompass - Massiccio del Monte Bianco Valle d'Aosta Sentieri e Rifugi

Instituto Geografico Centrale
    1:50000 no. 4 - I.G.C. Istituto Geografico Centrale Torino Massiccio del Monte Bianco, Torino, 1998

    1:25000 no. 1 - Monte Bianco Courmayeur, Edizioni Rimini 2004

Institut Géographique National
    1:100000 no. 53 - grenoble mont-blanc parc national de la vanoise

Monte Bianco MAP
    1:30 000

* Grand Capucin - Maps (Photos from Alberto Rampini and Silvia Mazzani)

Mappa Courmayeur cartina
Hikr.org - Courmayeur
4000er Karte
Google Map

* Google earth Grand Capucin - Photo from Antonio Giani

Google Earth  Grand Capucin (The MAP)
Grand Capucin


    Hartmut Eberlein, Mont-Blanc-Gruppe. Gebietsführer für Bergsteiger und Kletterer, 2000 or 2012.

    Hartmut Eberlein, Mont-Blanc.

    Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, The High Mountains of the Alps.

    Gaston Rébuffat, The Mont Blanc Massif. The 100 Finest Routes. London 1996. ISBN 1-898573-03-4.

    Lindsay Griffin, Mont Blanc Massif, Vol. 2 - Published Alpine Club (2002).

    Lindsay Griffin, Mont Blanc Massif, Vol. 1 - Published Alpine Club - London (1990).

    Gino Buscaini, MONTE BIANCO, Vol. I, Guida dei Monti d'Italia, 1994.

    Osvaldo Cardellina, 80 itinerari di Escursionismo Alpinismo e Sci Alpinismo in Valle d'Aosta. Ed. Musumeci, 1977 (in Italian); 1978 (in French).

* Mountain Area Mont Blanc - Photo by Rahel Maria Liu

The mighty Mont Blanc


* Panorama Aig. Verte - Aig. de Triolet - Rochefort Ridge - Grand Capucin - Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Blanc (Photo by Hiltrud Liu)

Show labels



    Phone: 0033/450 53 1298 - 0033/8 36 35 35 35 -
    0033/450530702 (Train station Chamonix)
    Ticket shop

    Phone: 0033/450 53 0555 - 0033/450 53 0115


    There are campingplaces in
    Chamonix and Courmayeur No seasonal closure.
    There are big parking places in
    Chamonix and Courmayeur near the Cable Car ground station.

* Dent du Géant - Mont Blanc (Jean Antoine Link, ca 1830 - Photo from om)


* On the Glacier du Géant - Photo by Rahel Maria Liu

A contre-jour photo from the bivouac at the foot of the red Granite Tower

Les Cosmiques (3613 m)

The refuge Les Cosmiques is situated on a shoulder between the Col du Midi and the SW ridge of the Aiguille du Midi (Cosmiques ridge).

      120 beds
      guarded from mid-February to mid-October
      phone: ++33(0)450544016

Rifugio Torino (3322m/3375m)

The Rifugio Torino has 2 huts, the lower and older one and the upper, new one. Both huts are connected by a tunnel.

      180 beds
      guarded from mid-February to mid-October

Routes Overview

* GRAND CAPUCIN on the Glacier du Géant - Photos by Silvia Mazzani, Rahel Maria Liu, Hiltrud Liu and AlbertoRampini

Mer de GlaceGrand CapucinMont BlancGlacier du GéantGood view

Bonatti Route:

    VIII-, mostly VII with VII+ (passages), ED+, 6-12 h (Eberlein). ED, 490 hm, 10-20 h (Rébuffat).
            * Photos by bruno.carbonne, Antonio Giani, Osvaldo Cardellina and ericvola

            Bonatti RouteRouteTabou RNice RockGlacierDescentBonatti youngE Face

O Sole Mio (S face):

    VII+, mostly VI and VII. Passages VII-. ED. 280 hm, 6 h (Eberlein).

Swiss route (Voie des Suisses):
    VII, A 0 (1 passage), mostly V+ and VI. ED-. 280 hm, 6 h (Eberlein).
            * Photos by Rahel Maria Liu, Bernhard Sauer, RobertoRampini

            Swiss RouteRouteB SauerClimbingSummitAscentOld artifUpCrevasse

Souire de l'Eté:
    VII, A 2, mostly VI and VI+. ED. 280 hm, 6 h (Eberlein).

Voyage selon Gulliver:
    VIII-, A 0 (swinging traverse), mostly VI+ and VII. ABO-. 300 hm, 6-8 h (Eberlein).

Flagrant Delire:
    VI+, A 4, mostly A 2 and A 3, ED+, 400 hm (you should plan a bivouac!) (Eberlein).

Elixier d'Astaroth:
    VII+, A 3, mostly VI and VI+, ED+, 400 hm (Eberlein).

Directe des Capucines:
    VII+, mostly VI+ adn VII-, passages A 0 or A 1 at the end, ED+, 400 hm, 10 h (Eberlein).

Triple Directe:

    VIII, mostly VII, ABO, 400 hm, 10 h (Eberlein).

    Abseiling down, mostly through the route "O Sole Mio"

* Climber's Logs

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

MANY THANKS for the nice and creative work, Antonio! MANY THANKS for your friendly assistance, Gabriele!

GRAND CAPUCIN ROUTES (Photo by Antonio Giani)

A= SSW Pillar - O sole mio route, Michel
Piola and Pierre Alain Steiner (Apr 21-22th, 1984). Difficulty VI/A0/ED
Lenght: 250m

B= South dihedral and wall – route of Swiss, Claude Asper,
Marcel Bron, Mario Grossi and Marcel Morel (Jul 24-25-26th, 1956).
Difficulty III/IV/V/VI/A1/A2/TD+ Lenght: 300m

C= South wall – Sourire de l'été route, Gaetano and Romain
Vogler (Aug 24-25th, 1981). Difficulty VI/A2/ED+ Lenght: 300m

D= S wall – De fil en aiguille route, Jean Luc Amstutz,
Vincent Banderet and Romain Vogler (Jul 31th, 1991). Difficulty
VI/VII/A1/EX- Lenght: 300m

E= SE wall – Fragrant délire, Jean Marc Boivin and Michel
Piola (Aug 13-14th, 1983). Difficulty VI/A3/ED+ Lenght: 400m

F= SE wall – Elisir d’Astaroth route, Michel Piola, Pierre
Alain Steiner and Romain Vogler (Aug 18-19-20th, 1981). Difficulty
VI/A2/ED+ Lenght: 400m

G= E wall – Bonatti route, Walter Bonatti and Luciano Ghigo
(Jul 20-21-22-23th, 1951). Difficulty IV/V+/VII/A1/A2/A3/TD+ Lenght: 400m

H= E wall – Po-eticomania route, Fabio Delisi and Enrico
Jovane (Aug 01-02th, 1986). Difficulty VII/A2 Lenght: 400m

I= E wall – Directe des Capucins route, Eric Belin, Jean
Marc Boivin and Martial Moioli (Jul 09-10th, 1983). Difficulty VI/A0/ED
Lenght: 400m

L= S wall - Panoramix variant, C. Dalphin, R. Habersaat, T.
Grassin C. Reuille and B. Voltolini (estate 1962). Difficulty VII/A2

M= E wall – Eau et gaz à tous les étages route, Jean Marc
Boivin, F. Diaferia and Martial Moioli (Jul 28-29th, 1984). Difficulty
VI+/A3/ED+ Lenght: 400m

N= S wall - Voyage selon Gulliver route, Pierre Alain
Steiner and Michel Piola (Jul 18-19th, 1982). Difficulty VI/A0/ED+ Lenght:

O= SE wall – Lecco route, Aldo Anghileri and Pino Negri Jun
29-30 Jul 01; Guerrino Cariboni, Casimiro Ferrari and Carlo Mauri (Jun
30-Jul 01th, 1968). Difficulty V+/VI/VII/A1/A2/ED Lenght: 300m

Link MountainArea

* Mont Blanc Area - Glacier Dent du Géant/Mer de Glace - Ascent 1790 - Mer de Glace - Photos from RM Liu, om and ericvola

Painting: The Mont Blanc...
Glacier du géant - Mer de Glace
de Saussure ascent
Mer de Glace


* Panorama West Side of Grand Capucin - Rochefort Ridge and Tour Ronde (Photo by kiss istvan)

Webcam&Google Map

* WEBCAM Aosta Valley

* Google Map - Mont Blanc Area


Tour Ronde - Petit Capucin - Grand CapucinA contre-jour photo of Grand CapucinTrident needleMont Blanc(4810m)View of the Trident needle from Grand CapucinBivouac on the Glacier du GéantCrevasse on the Glacier du Géant with the shadow of  the cable car
GRAND CAPUCINMont Blanc MassifA panoramic view of Mont BlancThe magnificent Grand CapucinGrand CapucinA nice sunset enjoyed from...Crevasses..
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