OverviewThe Voie Originale de l'Y is, as the name already refers to, is the classic and original route up the Miroir d'Argentine. The Miroir d'Argentine is located in the Swiss canton Vaud, which is part of Romandy (French speaking Switzerland). The mountain belongs to the Vaud Alps, which lies in western part of the Bernese Alps.
The route follows all the weak spots in the face resulting in a very nice line. The first part is a bit loose and steep, but pretty easy. Once you've arrived on the big 'Mirror' you follow a system of (big) cracks up the face. You basically cross the complete 'Mirror' by using one crack. The route is technically not very difficult, with climbing passages of max 5a+ / 5.6 YDS. This, if you use some bolts to aid climb. If you climb the complete route free, it is a bit harder 5c+ / 5.8 YDS. The belays are equipped very well, so are most of the bolts on the pitches. The route is re-equipped in 1997.
First ascent: F. Delisle, Ch. Rathgeb and A. Moreillon - first of september 1926
Climbing the 'Mirror'
Getting ThereTo Solalex
Solalex is located near the Swiss ski resort Villars, which is very easy to reach either by car or by public transport.
By Car: Take exit St - Triphon or Bex on Highway A9. Then head in direction Villars/Gryon. Between these two villages you've La Gryonne, were the road to Solalex begins (Route de Solalex). Follow this untill you reach the alp. About 20-25 kilometers from the highway exit to Solalex.
By Public Transport: Take the Transports Publics du Chablais (TPC) train to station La Barboleuse. Then take the bus to Solalex. Attention: this bus only goes a few times a day!
To the Miroir d'Argentine
1.You'll have a clear view of the Miroir d'Argentine as soon as you arrive at Solalex. The best approach route for the climb runs up the slopes beneath the face. This small path is not very hard to find.
Solalex - Miroir d'Argentine (Voie Orginale de l'Y): about 1.15 hours.
2. The approach from the Refuge Giacomini is rather unusual, but not impossible. Head to the Col de la Poreyrette and descent towards Solalex. Traverse West when you're at the same height of the base of the face. There should be some kind of path.
Refuge Giacomini - Miroir d'Argentine (Voie Orginale de l'Y): about 1 hour.
Route DescriptionRoute finding is rather easy. This because of the bolts and the excellent line taken by the first ascent. The start is marked on the rocks on the ledges beneath the face.
1st Pitch - 5.4/3b: A short warm-up pitch. Head up left on ledges with loose rock.
2nd Pitch - 5.5/4c: Go either more left, through a chimney, or right on a slab. Ending on the belay on the big ledge.
3rd Pitch - 5.3/2: Traverse right on the big ledge on loose rock. The next belay is not very easy to find. It is a few meters above the ledge on a small platform.
4th Pitch - 5.6/5a, A0 (free: 5.8/5c+): the crux pitch, if climbed free. A short steep wall leads you to the 'Mirror'. There are enough bolts to aid climb it if nessecary. Head left to reach the next belay.
5th Pitch - 5.6/5a+: Climb the slab, just right of the belay. This pitch offers some pretty nice climbing. One of the best of the route.
6th & 7th Pitch - 5.5/4a: Easy pitches up through the big crack/chimney. Sometimes it is best to climb a little bit left of the crack.
8th Pitch - 5.4/3b: Another easy pitch which leads you to the start of the long crack, which crosses the entire face.
Pitches 9 to 12 - 5.5/4a: Nice pitches along the long crack. Mostly climbed with your feet beneath the crack.
13th Pitch - 5.5/4a: Head straight up in the direction of the exit col. You'll find the last belays just beneath the last steep wall.
14th Pitch - 5.5/4b: Traverse just under the exit wall untill you can exit by climbing a short wall, with very good holds.
Descent: Do not rappel down the face, especially when there are more climbers! You need to follow the ridge to the Haute Corde (2325 m), where the descent starts. You traverse south of the summit of the Haute Corde and meet up with it's East ridge after passing the summit. Then follow a good path to the Col de la Poreyrette (2044 m). Descent either directly to Solalex (very steep path) or walk via the Cabana Barraud (1956 m) and Refuge Giacomini (1876 m).
Times: approach 1.15 hours, climb 3-4 hours, descent 1-2 hours. In total about 6-7 hours.
Voie Orginale, last pitch
Voie Orginale, 5th pitch
Essential Gear, Maps and GuidebooksEssential Gear: Normal sport climbing gear (single 45 meter rope is enough). You probably don't need any rocks/cams or additional protection because the route is bolted pretty well. Because of it's lenght and Northern exposure, it is adviced to take some warm clothes. The face is known for it thunderstorms, so keep that in mind when you're starting in a shirt. Don't forget to take you ascent shoes, because you need to walk down for 1-2 hours.
Map 1:25 000:
- SAC Map: 1285 Les Diablerets
- SAC Map: 272 St-Maurice
- Topoguide Band 1, Nicole Luzar & Volker Roth, ISBN 3-00-016204-6
- Escalades Vaud Chablais, Bas Valais, Sanetsch, C. & Y. Remy, New edition 2004
- Plaisir WEST, Jürg von Känel, ISBN 3-906087-19-0
To order SAC Maps: www.toposhop.ch
To order Plaisir WEST: www.filidor.ch
External LinksRefuge Giacomini 1876 m
Phone (hut): +41 (0)24 498 22 95
Solalex 1469 m
Phone (hut): +41 (0)24 498 14 46
Other useful links:
WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF - Avalance Bulletin
Weather Forecast - Detailed weather forecast
Railroad information - Railroad schedule
Bus information - Postbus schedule
Camping - Camping Barboleusaz