OverviewThe 3 Mouts Traversee (Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc) is probably the longest but the most panoramic of the normal routes to join Mont Blanc summit. This route is a "MUST HAVE" for alpinist CVs: it starts at the Aiguille du Midi and ends on the summit of Mont Blanc. For the descent route you will have the choice between the Dôme du Goûter Normal Route, the Grands Mulets Route or by coming back again to the Aiguille du Midi.
Note: The 3 Mounts traversee follows the Mont Maudit normal route for the first part of the ascent.
Getting ThereGetting to Chamonix is quite simple: if you come from the south (from Italy), go through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, you will join directly Chamonix. From Switzelrand you may come from Martigny by driving up the Forclaz Pass and the Col the Montets, or from Geneva using the "Mont Blanc highway".
As you reach Chamonix you will certainly see the cables of the enormous cable car of the Aiguille du Midi... You can't be wrong.
Take the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi (36 Euros)and follow the indications "Alpinist Exit" as come on the to of the Aiguille. (If you have a few time, visit the panoramic terrasse of the Aiguille du Midi, you will appreciate the entire route up to the summit of Mont Blanc.
Sleeping thereAs it is quite impossible to do the traversee whithout sleeping somewhere on the route, a good idea is to make a reservation into the Refuge des Cosmiques (3617 m), which may be reached in around 30 minutes of easy glacier walk from the Aiguille du Midi. The Hut is really nice and the cook is great! As it is a private hut of the French Glaciology Service, the prices are quite high (29 Euros for sleeping + breakfast and 46 Euros if you take the dinner too).
If you prefer to stay alone, you have the possibility to set up your tent on the Col du Midi, under the hut. Camping is allowed from arond 5 PM until 7 AM. (You normally have to dismantle your camp before leaving for the summit. You can let the tent there in its bag, no one will steal it, but you will have to come back here from the summit to recover it).
Essential GearIce Axe, crampons, rope (50 m), 1 ice screw per person, Helmet.
And the normal high altitude equipement for cold weather. In the beginning of the season think about a Barryvox. It may be 5°C and -15°C 1 bour later...
If you sleep at the Cosmiques Hut, leave it ar around 1.30 AM and reach the Col du Midi (3532m) 100 meters below. From here walk south and begin climbing up the North face of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. The face becomes steeper and you will have to walk around some seracs and crevasses. The route changes every year or even more frequently because of the glacier movings.
This first step brings you to the Epaule du Mont Blanc du Tacul at around 4100 meters.
From the Epaule go on walking south until the Col Maudit (4035 meters) and from here move to the right to join the North Face of the Mont Maudit. The face is really steep but less dangerous of the fisrts one because of the seracs. The North Face ends with a 40-50° degrees ice climb to reach the Col du Mont Maudit (4345m). This key passage is often the point where people decide to stop the climb.
As you have crossed the Col du Mont Maudit you walk south once again to reach the Col de la Brenva (4303) and from here once again to your right to climb up the steep wall of the Mur de la Côte. Over this wall you stand on the Plateau de Petits Rochers Rouges (~4550 meters). Now you just have to walk up in N-W direction to the summit of the Mont Blanc (4807 meters).
The ascent will take you around 6 hours depending on the seracs conitions and the people on the route.
DescentThe descent from the same route is quite long and when you are down ont the at the Col du Midi (3532 meters) you will have to climb up 300 meters to take the cable car o the Aiguille du Midi (3842 meters)... Il takes around 5 hours.
If you have enough legs after the ascent you may go down from the Grands Mulets Normal Route and reach the midle station of the cable car at Plan de l'Aiguille (2310 m)... It takes almost 6 hours from the summit and is a bad idea in bad weather conditions. Choose this way down if you have skis with you!
Most of the teams are descendig by the Dôme du Goûter Normal route and and then down to the little train at Nid d'Aigle.
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