Named after the famous Chamonix guide Louis Lachenal, this granite rock tower offers a wealth of rock climbing routes from UIAA V+ to VII+ and upwards on it's SE face, in a magnificent alpine setting next to Mt. Blanc du Tacul, above the Glacier du Geant.
Easily accessible from the Aig. du Midi telepherique, perfect for one-day round trips up high for acclimatization then back to the valley to sleep.
From the Aiguille du Midi telepherique station descend to the Col du Midi, cross the Col and descend the small slope between the Gros Rognon and Pointe Lachnal then make your way towards the SE face. One hour in descent from Aig. du Midi; one and a half hours for the ascent back to Aig. du Midi Station.
Spending the night
Various options for spending the night around 3500 meters:
Bivy on the Col du Midi in a tent or snow trench. Perfectly legal. Leaving a tent up after sunrise is offically prohibited but so is driving 140 km/h. The reason for this is largely an attempt to reduce the environmental impact on the area but also to make the landing of helicopters (in the case of rescues) safer and easier for all involved.
See Rahel's Abri Simond bivouac hut & Cosmiques refuge page for info on the two shelters plus what shelter the Aig. du Midi Station itself may provide.
Here is a small list, with indicative cost (where published) if guided, of the more than 25 listed routes on this rock tower:
Marylene UIAA V/V+ 220 meters; guided cost @ 310 euro
Contamine UIAA VII+ if 50 meter crack is free-climbed; aided the UIAA rating drops to a V/V+; 250 meters; guided cost @ 350 euro
Harold and Maud UIAA VII+ 250 meters; guided cost @ 390 euro
For more routes click here.
When to climb
These routes are said to clear relatively quickly after bad weather. If you have the necessary equipment to cross the Glacier du Geant in early spring and late winter, they are also supposed to be quite climbable during these periods, as well as the usual summer climbing period.
For full info about Chamonix, see Rahel's Mont Blanc Group page.
For Chamonix & Vallee Blanche weather forecast.
Dated but well writen article that covers a lot of info regarding alpine climbing and the bolting of routes on the Mont Blanc Massif and beyond. If you like a bit of history or just want to know what's up with all the bolted routes, you'll enjoy this article.
Camping in Chamonix
>>L'ile Des Barrats
185 Chemin de I'ile des Barrats
04 5053 5144
Open from 8/5-1/10 53 sites 3 star
121 clos des Rosieres
04 5053 1042 www.campinglesrosieres.com
open from 7/2 - 30/9 127 sites 3 star
281 chemin du Cry
04 5053 1430
15/6 - 30/9 30 sites 2 stars
Chemin a Batiorert
04 5053 1681
open 1/6 - 15/9 164 sites 2 stars
La Mer De Glace
200 Chemin de la Bagna
04 5053 0863 or 04 5053 4403
open 10/6 - 15/9 150 sites 3 stars
04 50 53 4920
open 28/3 - 30/9 70 sites 2 stars
>>Glacier d' Argentiere
58 Chemin des Moillettes
04 5054 1736 or 04 5054 0373
open 15/5 - 30/9 80 sites 2 stars
>>Les Deux Glaciers
80 rte des Tissieres
04 5053 1584
open 15/12 - 15/11 135 sites 3 stars
140 Chemin des Doux
04 5053 6124
open 15/6 - 30/9 100 sites 3 stars
28 route des Tissieres
04 5053 5893
open 1/6 - 30/9 100 sites 2 stars
>> Les Ecureuils
Chemin des Doux
04 5053 8311
open 1/4 - 30/9 45 sites 2 stars
180 route des Tissieres
04 5053 1584
open 1/6 - 15/9 70 sites 2 stars
>> Le Grand Champ
04 5053 0483
open 1/5 - 10/10 100 sites 1 star