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NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire "Couloir du Gardien"
Route

NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire "Couloir du Gardien"

 
NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire "Couloir du Gardien"

Page Type: Route

Location: Valais, Switzerland, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.94458°N / 7.28977°E

Object Title: NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire "Couloir du Gardien"

Route Type: Mountaineering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: AD, 45°

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes
 

 

Page By: Peter K

Created/Edited: Jun 18, 2009 / Dec 4, 2009

Object ID: 522491

Hits: 4639 

Page Score: 81.84%  - 14 Votes 

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Approach

From the Cabane de Panossière (2669 m) across the Glacier de Corbassière, orient towards the base of Combin de Corbassière on the right side. From bellow P. 3156 cross the glacier to north of the rocks of P. 3406 and up to the plateau of Maisons Blanches bellow the actual NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire. Turn left to reach the slightly sloped Plateau du Déjeuner (approx. 3500 m).

From the Cabane de Valsorey (3030 m) to north-east, across the Glacier du Meitin and climb the 40-45° face to the lowest point between Combin du Meitin and Combin de Valsorey, called Col du Meitin (3611 m). Descent to the wide plateau of Maisons Blanches, pass the NW flank of Combin de Valsorey and also the NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire (Couloir du Gardien), to avoid the bergschrund and crevasses. Take a long turn to the right to reach the Plateau du Déjeuner (approx. 3500 m).

Here the old and new normal routes split. The old one, the "Corridor", follows a wide ramp to the left in direction Combin de la Tsesette, beneath a 800m long serac bank, then turns right via a steep face called "Mur de la Côte" to gain the upper plateau of the Grand Combin massive. The current normal route "Couloir du Gardien" targets directly the NW flank of the Combin de Grafeneire to reach the upper plateau. It's steeper and technically more demanding, but less exposed to ice fall.
 
Grand Combin, North routes
Overview & routes

Route Description

 
Descending into the  Couloir du Gardien
Traverse, Crux of the route
From the Plateau du Déjeuner traverse to the rocks P. 3764, go round and locate the seracs at P. 3987m. At the beginning stay close to the rocks to avoid crevasses. Coming from the Cabane de Valsorey, don't try to reach the rocks at P. 3764 directly, instead also traverse to Plateau du Déjeuner across the Maisons Blanches, avoiding the mentioned crevasses.
The NW flank is sloped approximately 40°. Reaching the seracs, try to gain the upper plateau by traversing to the right (up to 50°, crux). Take care for crevasses at the top of the serac wall. From there easy to the west shoulder of Combin de Grafeneire or to Combin de Valsorey.

Descent via the described route, the "Corridor" or the SW flank.

 
Descending the  Couloir du Gardien
Descent

Essential Gear

Regular glacier gear (rope, crampons, ice-pick, helmet). Depending on conditions two ice tools can be handy, though almost always a single pick is sufficient.
Early in summer there is barely ice to place screws, neither is it necessary.

Additional Information

SAC Clubführer - Walliser Alpen 2: Vom Großen St. Bernhard zum Col Collon
Guide book by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). Edition 1999/2001.
Price: CHF 54,-/32,- €/$ 54,- (discount for SAC members)
Link: SAC Online Shop (German/French edition)

SAC Skitourenführer - Die schönsten Skitouren der Schweiz
Skitouring guide book by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). Edition 2003.
Price: CHF 49,-/32,- €/$ 49,- (discount for SAC members)
Link: SAC Online Shop (German/French edition)

External Links

Images

Descending into the "Couloir du Gardien"Traverse at the "Couloir du Gardien"Grand Combin, North routesSeracs aboveNW flank of Combin de GrafeneireDescending the "Couloir du Gardien"Grand Combin plateau
Breakfast