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North Face

North Face

North Face

Page Type: Route

Location: France, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.96015°N / 7.01825°E

Object Title: North Face

Route Type: Mountaineering

Time Required: A long day

Difficulty: D-

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: Jeroen Vels

Created/Edited: Aug 24, 2008 / Aug 24, 2008

Object ID: 434858

Hits: 5411 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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F.a. J. Lagarde and H. de Ségogne, 2 Aug 1926
F.w.a. J. Braunet and A. Meir, March 1966

A classic snow and ice face in a somewhat remote situation rising above the head of the Saleina glacier. Unfortunately the face has changed over the yearsfrom a straightforward snow slope to a complex and dangerous hanging glacier.

The Direct route, first climbed in 1930, is now unjustifiably dangerous, and the most interesting routes nowadays lie on the NNE face a little to the left.

Getting There

The face can be reached in 3-3 1/2 hr from the Argentière Hut by first crossing the Col du Chardonnet, in 2 hr from the Saleina Hut or in 3 1/2-4 hr from the Albert Premier Hut by crossing the Fenêtre du Tour where there are comfortable bivouac sites.

Route Description

The route I am proposing here lies a little to the right of the hanging glacier and to the left of the rocky spur. This is an objective safe line to climb. In good conditions (neve) this gives straightforward cramponing up the 50 degree face. When you find hard ice, it can be a tiring climb.

After crossing the bergschrund climb straight up for about 500 meters. You can turn slightly left and head directly for the summit (another 200 meters), or you can go to the shoulder. From there go over the ridge, climb a few bulges, climb another 150 meters ice wich gradualy steepens. From there another ridge leads to the summit.

The easiest descend is down the Glacier du Milieu. That is on the south side of the mountain. If it has been a long day, you can spend the night at the Argentière Hut, or descend the Argentière Glacier back to the Valley.

Essential Gear

Ice climbing gear.


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