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South West Face (Normal route)

South West Face (Normal route)

South West Face (Normal route)

Page Type: Route

Location: Savoie/Val d'Aoste, France/Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.86180°N / 6.94800°E

Object Title: South West Face (Normal route)

Route Type: Rock after glacier

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: AD (climbing to grade III)

Route Quality: 
 - 7 Votes


Page By: Chamonix Man

Created/Edited: Nov 23, 2002 / Jun 5, 2004

Object ID: 157416

Hits: 9843 

Page Score: 75.81%  - 6 Votes 

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See the main page. A good start point is the Torino Hut which is right next to the cable car station.

Route Description

(I used Goedeke's book to help me write this).

From the hut you don't need to leave too early for the peak if you are not intending to continue on the Rochefort ridge.
Walk across the glacier towards the peak which is visible. There is normally a 'path' across the glacier. Scramble up to the 'Salle a Manger' which is where the climbing begins. The route over the scree and loose rocks to the start of the climb is ill defined but there are no technical difficulties.

The climb starts with a large slab which you can go behind or over. Traverse left and up for 10m to gain access to a 30m gulley. There are a number of pitons and bolts in place. The gully is climbed to a small flat area which Goedeke calls a terrace. There is not much protection in the gulley and it may be worthwhile bringing some gear with you.

The slabs are known as the 'Plaque Burener' and are beautiful. The rock is dark and it catches the sunlight. Guides have put up some fixed ropes here - it would be a much tougher climb without them. Ther ropes are hemp and very thick, similar those on the Hornligrat on the Matterhorn.

At the top of the slabs traverse right and climb 2 chimeys to get to the fore-summit. From there descend 10 metres or so to traverse to the main summit (5 mins). The summit is great - it is small and the veiws are incredible across the Mt. Blanc Massive.

DESCENT: You can abseil all the way down to the traverse at the start which needs really to be down climbed. Alternatively you could abseil down the North-West face if you had enough rope. I am not sure if there are any abseil points, you might need to bring some slings.

This climb gets 5/5 for me - it is such an impressive peak from all angles.

Essential Gear

A small amount of rock climbing gear may be required. Slings are very useful. Some people take 'stickies' to climb in - it is a mystery why because you can climb perfectly well in mountaineering boots.

I climbed on a singe 50m rope, it might have been a good idea to take 100m instead to make desending quicker and easier.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and Corrections

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alkiskondRoute Comment


Hasn't voted

The acces is really dangerous if the snow is soft and steep. The slope is about 50 deg. !! Start early to find more solide snow...!!!
Posted Oct 23, 2005 4:39 pm

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