Chèré Couloir

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.85730°N / 6.88760°E
Additional Information Route Type: Ice Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: II D+, 350m, ice up to 80°
Sign the Climber's Log


The Chèré Couloir is the classic ice gully of the Mont Blanc du Tacul's North Face, which is also known as the Triangle du Tacul.

The route is popular and you should pay attention that not too many people are above you because of the danger of falling ice and other debris.

Since the route is north-facing it can generally be climbed throughout the year. During winter it's a tough but wonderful ice-climb with very good ice, but the risk of getting serious frostbite is significant! Sometimes it's about -30°C while climbing during winter.

The Chèré Couloir is shown as route G in the following overview photo:

TRIANGLE DU TACULTriangle du Tacul Routes Overview (photo by Antonio Giani)

Route Name Difficulty
ADiagonal Route III AD+ / D-
BContamine-Négri IV AD+
CPetit Frounet II D
DContamine-GrisolleII AD
EGabarrou-Marquis III D+
FContamine-MazeaudII AD+ / D-
GChèré Couloir II D


Catch the Aiguille du Midi telepherique up from Chamonix in the morning or start from either the Cosmiques Refuge or Abri Simond bivouac (in winter). The base of the Triangle du Tacul is reached by an easy walk across the Col du Midi.

Aiguille du Midi...Descending from the Aiguille du Midi station
Al colle du Midi (3532 m) 01...Traversing the Col du Midi
Early morning approach to the...Approaching the Triangle du Tacul

Route Description

The Chèré Couloir is a very slender couloir which goes up in the very right part of of the triangle.

A Close up of the steepest...Chèré Couloir overivew
View from the bottom.View from the bottom

After having passed the bergschrund, you climb to the first steep step. The ice becomes steeper and steeper (at the beginning 60°, then 70° and 80°). After a less steep passage, you have to climb over the second very steep passages with 75°. At the end, you climb on the right side of the mixed ridge until you reach the end of the triangle.

Many parties only climb the first 5 or 6 pitches, which are the steepest, and then abseil the route by the same way. Most of these initial pitches have in-situ bolted belay stations.

Climbing on the Chèré CouloirClimbing the Chèré Couloir
Chere ColouirClimbing the Chèré Couloir
Chere ColouirClimbing the Chèré Couloir
Chere CouloirClimbing the Chèré Couloir

Guide Books

  • "Snow, ice and mixed. The guide to the Mont-Blanc Range.", Volume 2, François Damilano, JMEditions, 2006. (A French edition is also available)
         page 116, Route 190., Chèré Gully, II 4. 350m.
  • "Mont-Blanc-Gruppe: Gebietsführer für Bergsteiger und Kletterer.", Hartmut Eberlein, Bergverlag Rother, August 2005, 10. Auflage.
         80° (short passage), 1 rope length 70°, the rest 50° to 60°, D+, short, but interesting couloir, frequently climbed, 300 hm, 3-4 h

    Essential Gear

    Two technical axes, a few ice screws and some rock protection. Double 60m ropes are recommended if you plan to abseil the route.


    From the end of the rock at the apex of the Triangle du Tacul (3970m) there are various options for descent, and the best choice will depend on the snow and serac conditions on the NW flank, which can be a bit treacherous at times - due caution is advised!
    1. From the apex of the triangle descend the NW Slope (150m, max 45°), which is directly adjacent to the rock on the W side. Abseils and/or down-climibing may be required. (see route 187. in "Snow, ice and mixed.")
    2. Ascend the North Ridge above the triangle and then traverse to the right into the NW flank of Mont Blanc du Tacul underneath the highest band of seracs to join the Normal Route.
    3. Ascend the North Ridge as far as the summit of the Mont Blanc du Tacul and then descend by the Normal Route.

    1. It is possible to abseil the Chèré Couloir, which has much fixed gear and several in-situ belay stations (especially for the lower pitches). Be aware, however, that this is a popular route and the safety of other parties should be respected. Don't drop rocks, ice, ropes, or similar onto their heads! Double 60m ropes are recommended for the abseil descent.

    Abseiling the Chèré Couloir.Abseiling the Chèré Couloir
    The last abseil off the Chèré...Abseiling the Chèré Couloir


    This page was originally created by Rahel Maria Liu who was an enthusiastic contributor to Summitpost in the site's early days. She died tragically whilst climbing the Innominata Spur in August 2004.

    Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

    Viewing: 1-3 of 3

    om - Aug 11, 2005 11:08 am - Hasn't voted

    Route Comment

    Not Chèré.


    Rob_Madden - Aug 14, 2005 5:36 am - Hasn't voted

    Route Comment

    Just to clarify: In Summer the Cosmiques hut is now open so you will be starting from there instead of the Abri Simond (which is closed during the winter)
    Also, it is possible to camp on the Valle Blanche in Summer (which is what I did)


    bbirtle - Apr 9, 2006 9:57 pm - Voted 9/10

    Two Words

    Hey nice page. Quick nitpick - can you please re-title it as "Chèré Couloir" (two words)? I've never seen it as one single word like that, seems really strange... In response to Om, the Abri Simond is open all winter, just not guradianed.

    Viewing: 1-3 of 3

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