La Nonne is a less known peak, just close to the Aiguille du Moine in the Mont Blanc massive. It is Located on the South-North Ridge of the Moine-Nonne-Evêque-Cardinal (Monk-Nun-Bishop-Cardinal). It is a very good alternative for the Moine, on crowded days. It offers some nice alpine climbing and especially the traverse over "le rasoir" (the rasorblade) will be unforgettable.
The most often climbed route is the South-North traverse (AD) which has been climbed allready in 1890, but it will demand some of your psychological strenght. The view is really spectacular when you are on the ridge.
La Nonne is close to the Couvercle hut (tel:04 50 47 23 99) which can be reached over the glacier "Mer de glace" (sea of ice). Starting point for the Mer de glace is the train station - hotel "Montenvers". You can either take the (touristic) train from Chamonix (not so expensive) and join all tourists or you can start walking from Chamonix. The second option is (to my opinion) advisable when you are not in a hurry and when you don't like crowded trains. It is also a good training trip. The walk will take you about 2.5 hrs (5 km and 900 altimeters). When you reach te station at the glacier you'll have to go down to the glacier by ladders (the melting rate of the glacier is really high. (On old pictures you can see that the glacier was almost reaching to the hotel). Be sure to wear your helmet when descending, because the moraines are very unstable. On the glacier, try to find a safe spot (away from possible stonefall) before you put on harness, crampons,... in late summer it is mostly not necesarry to put on crampons and to use a rope, the glacier is very "aper" (crevasses visible), but please decide yourself weather you find it necesarry. Follow the glacier in Southern direction. You can either leave the glacier directly under the ridge of Des flammes de pierres (first white square on the rocks) and follow the track over the glacier de Charpoua (long walk and many ladders) or you can follow the glacier for about 5 km and then go up the ladders on your left hand side (quicker!). The ascent on the ladders is not so difficult, but be aware of stonefall and the other alpinists. A klettersteig-set is advisable, a sling with a carabiner is the least you should take! Once you got up the ladders, a path will take you to the Refuge du Couvercle in about 1h. The small one under a stone is the winter hut, the larger one is opened during the summer.
No permits required.
When To Climb
The best period is from the end of June to the end of September, when the rock is free of snow. The Breche Nonne-Eveque can be climbed in wintertime and can be even skied down
The Refuge du Couvercle follows the usual prices (about 18 euro per night for non-members). Members of a Mountain club (CAF, CAI, CAS, CABBAC,OEAV,...) get 50% discharge. Bivaking is possible just near the hut, but why should you?
The hut has about 100 beds, there is a cooking room, no showers, but very friendly people! In the dining room there are many games and books available, which can be usefull on a rainy day. Oh yes, do not forget to say hello to the marmot!
Check the conditions in the Office du Haute Montagne (OHM) in chamonix. They have the latest weather forecast and will tell you all about the conditions. It is a must to go there!!!
Topo - maps
IGN - Carte de randonnée - Chamonix massif du Mont Blanc - 3630 OT
-Le IV sup, TANGUY Pascal
-Sommets du Mont Blanc -Jean-Louis Laroche et Florence Lelong : "Les plus belles courses de facile à difficile".