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Le Marchand de Sable

Le Marchand de Sable

Le Marchand de Sable

Page Type: Route

Location: Haute Savoie, France, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.90428°N / 6.92576°E

Object Title: Le Marchand de Sable

Route Type: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing

Season: Summer

Time Required: Most of a day

Rock Difficulty: 5.10b (YDS)

Difficulty: TD sup., F 6a+

Number of Pitches: 11

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: Silvia Mazzani

Created/Edited: Jul 1, 2011 / Oct 20, 2016

Object ID: 725794

Hits: 4036 

Page Score: 81.84%  - 14 Votes 

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Le Marchand de Sable

Tour Rouge is a fine spire of red protogyn granite rising ahead the solid bulk of Grepon and situated on the French side of Mont Blanc, in the Envers des Aiguilles group, meaning "the back of Aiguilles". This chain is the South-East side of Aiguilles de Chamonix, which is hidden from the town. Envers des Aiguilles is a paradise for climbing, a wonderful setting designed by Grandes Jorasses, Drus, Aiguille Verte. Tour Rouge superb walls had been discovered at beginning of the Eighties
Le Marchand de Sable is a magnificent route – the classic one on the South East face of the spire – which offers various climbing ways (corners, slabs and cracks). Homogeneous and sustained, it's surely a brilliant climb with some great pitches. Definitely one of the most deserving routes in the area. Partially equipped (belays and some points along the route). The route is getting the sun at eight o’clock in full summer.

Mer de Glace and Grandes Jorasses in the background
Mer de Glace and Grandes Jorasses

Technical slab
Last but one pitch technical slab

Getting There

Envers des Aiguilles map
Views from Refuge Envers des Aiguilles (Mont Blanc Group)
View from the hut

From Envers des Aiguilles Hut m. 2523 take the iron stairways and rise to the right along a gully leading to a notch behind the shelter. From here go down to gain the Trelaporte Glacier; cross the glacier in its upper section near the walls - to avoid the crevassed area below - and reach the lower point of Tour Rouge SE face. Starting point is below a steep slab situated between a corners’system on the left-hand side and two small roofs on the right. In last years the start had became very difficult, because of the glacier's retreat.

Le Marchand de Sable report

Le Marchand de Sable report (French Scale)

Summit altitude: mt. 2899
Difficulty: TD sup., F6a+
Equipment: partially equipped with bolts (slabs); friends useful (cracks)
Climbing length: 300 mt.
Exposure: SE
First ascent: M. Piola – G. Hopfgartner 19-20/07/1983
Starting point: Montenvers mt. 1909 (Rack-railway from Chamonix Mont Blanc)
Hut: Envers des Aiguilles m. 2523 CAF

The great "classic" of Tour Rouge!

Route report

L1 – Start to climb a steep slab, then up a flake. 6a
L2 - Head towards right below a small roof, then climb up along a corner. 5c
L3 - Climb another fine corner on the left and belay inside it. 5c
L4 – Straight up climbing a slab. 5b
L5 - An unforgettable pitch! Climb a corner, then go towards left to reach a steep crack. Climb the crack with superb climb. 6a

Le Marchand de Sable
Le Marchand de Sable
Crack on Le Marchand de Sable

L6 - Another unforgettable pitch. A technical crack, then cross the slab towards left. After an hard move along the slab, reach a small overhang, then a corner leading to a belay below a small roof. 6a+
L7 – Another slab, then a new corner leading to a good stance on a terrace. 5c
L8 – Straight up climbing a flake, then up along some easier corners. 5b
L9 – An easy pitch along a corner leading to a small rocky saddle. 4b
L10 – Another superb pitch beginning with a technical slab; climb the slab with an hard movement (some bolts), then head towards right reaching a corner. 6a+
L11 – An easy pitch along a corner and a ridge leading to the top.4b

Le Marchand de Sable
A superb climb

The hanging belay
The hanging belay

Descent: abseiling along the route (9 abseils)

Essential Gear and Climbing Grades

Rope 2 x 50, helmet, various sizes of friends and excentrics, ten express, ice-axe and crampons needed for the approach along the glacier.

Climbing Grades:

Rock Climbing Rating Systems
French YDS
French YDS
French YDS
1 5.2 I 6b 5.10c VII- 7c+ 5.12d IX
2 5.3 II 6b+ 5.10d VII 8a 5.13a/5.13b IX+/X-
3 5.4 III 6c 5.11a VII+ 8a+ 5.13c X-
4 5.5 IV 6c+ 5.11b VII+/VIII- 8b 5.13d X
5a 5.6 V- 7a 5.11c VIII- 8b+ 5.14a X+
5b 5.7 V/V+ 7a+ 5.11d VIII 8c 5.14b X+/XI-
5c 5.8 VI- 7b 5.12a VIII+ 8c+ 5.14c XI-
6a 5.9 VI/VI+ 7b+ 5.12b VIII+/IX- 9a 5.14d XI
6a+ 5.10a/5.10b VI+/VII- 7c 5.12c IX- 9a+ 5.15a XI+


Refuge Envers des Aiguilles, Mont Blanc Group
Refuge Envers des Aiguilles m 2523

Refuge Envers des Aiguilles m 2523 C.A.F. (French Alpine Club)

Situation: French side of Mont Blanc Group - Back of Aiguilles de Chamonix
Open: from June 13th to September 13th
Size: 57 persons
Winter-shelter: 12 persons
Guardian: Giusto Evelyne
Refuge's phone: Refuge CAF "Envers des Aiguilles"

Red Tape

There are not particulary restrictions in climbing and hiking.

When to climb

Best season goes from middle June to middle September.


Meteo Chamonix

Guidebooks and maps

 Mont Blanc & the Aiguilles Rouges  selected climbs guidebook

"Mont Blanc & the Aiguilles Rouges" - selected climbs - in English


Refuge Envers des Aiguilles, Mont Blanc GroupMer de Glace and Grandes Jorasses in the backgroundLe Marchand de SableCracks on Le Marchand du Sable, Tour RougeEnvers des Aiguilles mapViews from Refuge Envers des Aiguilles (Mont Blanc Group)Hanging belay, Le Marchand du Sable (Tour Rouge)
"Mont Blanc & the Aiguilles Rouges" selected climbs guidebookTrelaporte GlacierTechnical slab on Le Marchand du Sable, Tour RougeLe Marchand de Sable, Tour Rouge (Mont Blanc Group)Guidebook "Envers des Aiguilles" - Michel Piola