OverviewThe Droites (meaning 'right ones' because they appear to be on the right side when looking at the ridge from the valley) is a peak in the Mont Blanc region, that just reaches the magic 4000 m border with it's east summit.
The most special thing about this peak is it's north face: It is considered to be one of the longest and hardest Rock&Ice undertakings in the Alps.It's 1000 vertical meters are very impressive if you are standing in front of the face. The other side (south) is somewhat friendlier, and the final steep parts looks quite small but still it is not very often climbed : The easiest route is already AD mixed rock and ice.
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Getting ThereThe closest International Airport for this region is Geneva.
Most first time visitors will certainly want to see Chamonix and the Mt.Blanc before going on to the Droites.
- Train: Railway station in the town. The Saint Gervais to Vallorcine line connects to the high-speed TGV line
in Annecy (in peak season the TGV runs directly to Saint Gervais) +33-(0)450 53 1298; +33-(0)8 36 35 35 35
- Bus: Mont-Blanc Bus: Regular bus service covering all of the Chamonix valley +33-(0)450 53 0555
Daily services to Annecy, Geneva, Grenoble, Courmayeur, Aoste and Turin, as well as to all the principal
towns in the Mont-Blanc region +33-(0)450 53 0115
- Car: From:
- Switzerland: starting from Martigny and passing by the 'Col des Montets', Cham is only a mere 16 km from the border.
- France: Geneva is connected to Cham via a Toll-Higway and normal roads.
- Italy: The Mont Blanc from Courmayeur makes the access very fast and easy year-round.
- Chamonix for the easier south-side From Chamonix you can take the train up the 'Mer de Glace', continue over the glacier (crevasses!) and stay overnight in the 'Refuge de Couvercle' From there it is about 4-5 hours to summit
- Argentiere for the north-face, which is just a few miles north of Cham. From Argentiere, you can take the 'teleferique' Grand Montets up and walk down again over the glacier (easy) to the "Refuge D'Argentiere". From there it is 7-12 hours to the top depending on the route
Red TapeThere is no limitations whatsoever: Climbing, camping, beeing happy: just enjoy !
When To ClimbA real winter ascent would be extremely difficult, but the conditions e.g. even beginning of November 2001 were just fine. The North Face is so steep that usually there is not much snow sticking to it. After a strong snowfall, one should wait for the next time it gets a little warmer, and the avalances will clean the face out again.
Staying OvernightHotels: Plenty in Chamonix and Argentiere, prices rather steep. Huts: The Refuges should be reserved during most parts of the year. Prices: ~50 FF = $7 US for Members of (Euro)Alpine Clubs ~100 FF = $14US for others
- Ref. d' Argentiere (2771m) Tel +33-450 531692 alt email: [email protected] http://www.clubalpin-chamonix.com/fr/refArgentiere.htm
- Refuge du Couvercle (2687m) Tel: +33-450 531694 http://www.clubalpin-chamonix.com/fr/refCouvercle.htm
Mountain ConditonsSorry, but most up-to-date information is only available in french :-(
- www.chamonix.com Genereral Tourist and Weather Information
- Office de Haute Montagnes (OHM) (+33-(0)450 532 208) offers a comprehensive information service about routes and weather conditions. Located in the building adjacent to Èglise-St.Michel church, 9:00-12:00 & 15:00-18:00 during the summer.
- Information can also be gotten from the Bureau des Guides in Chamonix (+33-(0)450 530 088).
- Tel. weather bulletin +33-(0)836 680 274
- Tel. state of snow +33-(0)836 681 020
Approach to the Huts
To the Ref. d'Argentiere
There are 3 choices (depending on your time and energy)
- From Croix de Lognan (1970 m) in 3 - 3,5 h,
to Croix de Lognan with cable car from Argentière: From Croix de Lognan, you go on foot up over
the moraine crest till about 2250m. Than you continue horizontally to the glacier, which you follow on the orographically left side. After about 1 km, the glacier becomes steeper and more torn. You climb onto the morain of the Rognons, first over a slippery shelf, than via a marked way which you follow until you reach the upper end of the ice break. You climb the glacier with SE-direction and reach the hut above the moraine .
- On foot from Argentière in 5 h:
From the ground station of the cable car, you follow the wide aisle of the ski-run. You leave it at the height of about 1750m and reach the way of the middle station of the cable car (2 h). Now, you need 3 h to the hut.
- From Aiguille des Grands Montets (summit station of the cable car from Argentière; last train up: 4:45 p.m.) in 2 h:
From the summit station, you go via a stairway to the Col des Grandes Montets. You traverse a bergschrund (maybe with the help of a rope) and go up the steep hang to the Glacier Rognons.
You go with ENE-direction on the western side along P. 3000 to P. 2754m. You go down southeastern to the glacier d'Argentière, which you reach above the icebreak. From here in 2 h to the hut.
To the Ref. de Couvercle
- You reach the hut from Montenvers in 3,5 h over the glacier:
From Montenvers to the starting point of the hiking way to the Ref. d'Envers des Aiguilles:
You have to follow the way with direction to Les Echelles which goes slightly down to the western side of the Mer de Glace. But before you enter the Glacier, you have to follow the way on the western side of the glacier for about 20 min. Now you have to go up the glacier first more on the western side, then just through the middle with SE direction to Les Moulins. Now you do not follow the marking signs to the moraines but
continue with S and then E direction to the steep passages at Les Egralets (partly a little bit like a way).
You go the steep passages up and via a good way through grass hangs to a moraine, from which you reach the hut soon.
You can reach Montenvers:
- Either with the special Montenvers-train from Chamonix. The train goes the whole year except from the middle of November till the middle of December. The first train starts during the season often not before 8 a.m., the last train down not after 6.30 p.m.
- Or on foot from Chamonix on the marked way via Biollay in 2,5 h.
- Via a new climbing track below the Flammes de Pierre and the ends of the Aig. du Moine:
Note: Because of ice avalanches, some passages of this route have become very dangerous.
You have to ask for the actual conditions.
RoutesCheck out this supercool page with clickable routes: http://www.montagnes.com/us/mount/droite.asp
- My own page, with some more pictures
Supercool Page ! (scroll down if needed) Clickable Routes to compare next to each other on a Photo !
- Aris Base Camp
Very Detailed Page with more good links on the Mt Blanc Region
- Les Droites at www.4000er.de
Images, routes, coordinates and more information about the highest peaks of the Alps
- Mountain Guide Adventure - Chamonix Mont-Blanc Mountain Guide - France
A Mountain Guide team will help you to realize your mountain and adventure dreams . A Mountain Guide team in Chamonix propose : mountaineering, alpine rock climbing, ice climbing, heliskiing, ski touring, off piste skiing and expeditions all over the world.
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