Clocher de Planpraz 2428 m
The Clocher de Planpraz – or Clocher de Plampra - is a gneiss tower overlooking the town of Chamonix and belonging to the fascinating group of Aiguilles Rouges, situated just in front of a world famous neighbour: the Mont Blanc! These magnificent “aiguilles” are lying like an awesome balcony towards the Northern side of Mont Blanc group: the view over the main summit and over the Aiguilles de Chamonix is exceptional! The gneiss of Aiguilles Rouges is less rough than the famous Mont Blanc red granite, but it’s rich of sharp holds: the climbing way is very pleasant and technical. When the sudden summer snowfalls preclude the climb in Mont Blanc group, often Aiguilles Rouge are quite climbable, when bad weather is approaching the area this group offers the opportunity of a short climbing day.
On Cocher Cochon, facing Mont Blanc
On Label Virginie middle section
The Clocher de Planpraz is the highest one of a group of five needles: the great classic traverse of Clocher de Planpraz - Clochetons de Planpraz ridge became famous because of the marvellous guide-book “100 best climbs in the Mount Blanc Massif” by the great Gaston Rebuffat.
In the Aiguilles Rouges group there are numberless great trad climbing routes and modern ones; these last ones, often climbed in reason of their first-class gneiss, had been realized starting from the last two ten-years periods. Aiguilles Rouge’s reputation is also due to their fine environment, short approaches, various multipitch routes of all standards and the extraordinary situation “face au Mont Blanc”!
The starting point is Chamonix-Mont Blanc m. 1087
Main road approachs
- From Aosta Valley (Italy) - Follow the E25 Motorway towards Courmayeur, then the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Chamonix (65 km. from Aosta)
- From Martigny (Switzerland) - Follow the road leading to the Switzerland – France border, then to the village of Argentiere and to Chamonix (45 km. from Martigny, 13 km. from the border)
- From Geneve (Switzerland) - Follow the E25 Motorway to St. Gervais les Bains, then the RN 205 to Chamonix
Approach to the walk starting point
- From the lower station of the Brevent cable-car in Chamonix m. 1087 take the Planpraz cable-car (the first section of the Brevent cable-car); exit the middle station of Planpraz m. 1999.
Clocher de Planpraz Routes Overview (French scale)
- Clocher de Planpraz - Clochetons de Planpraz Traverse
D-, F5a max, 400 m.
First ascent of Clocher: Jean and Joseph Demarchi 1911
First traverse: A. Agussol – J. Le Bec – T. de Lepiney 1913
A superb little traverse on excellent rock starting from the col on the left-hand side of Clocher and leading to the summits of Clocher, Little Clocher, First Clocheton, Second Clocheton and Third Clocheton. Trad equipment, friends useful.
- Cocher-Cochon TD-, F6a max, F5b obbl., 250 m. First ascent: M. Franc – J. Franc – M. Meot – C. Mussat 13-8-2000 Excellent modern route. Equipped with bolts.
- Label-Virginie D+, F5c max, F5b obbl., 250 m. First ascent: Y. Brucker – J. Cellier – M. Meot 11-7-2007 Another excellent modern route. Equipped with bolts.
- NW Ridge
Clochetons de Planpraz seen from the route Label Virginie
The Clochetons de Planpraz, a Gaston Rebuffat icon
Exit from the chimney up to the ending ridge on Label Virginie
F4b First ascent: A. Charlet – C. Devouassoux 1920
- West Face
F4a First ascent: E. Fontaine – J. Ravanel 1910
- Hotel California (Planpraz Slopes)
AD+, F5a max, F4b obbl., 270 m.
Acces to Clocher de Planpraz - Clochetons de Planpraz traverse
From the Planpraz station m. 1999
follow the Brevent path (signs “Clocher-Clochetons), leading to a sharp turn to left. Here quit the main path and follow a narrow trail with cairns rising to the W Col of Clocher de Planpraz.
Clocher de Planpraz, Petit Clocher and Clochetons seen from Label Virginie
Face au Mont Blanc
Access to Clocher de Planpraz South-East RoutesFrom the Planpraz station m. 1999
follow on your right-hand side the good trail to Cornu Lake (signs), reaching at first the bottom slabs of Hotel California, then crossing a scree. After the scree leave the main path and rise along a steep grassy and rocky slope, leading to the left towards Cocher-Cochon route and to the right towards Label Virginie route (45 minutes from the Planpraz station).
No restrictions in climbing and hiking, no permits, no fees.
The tiny summit of Clocher de Planpraz
Label Virginie: the crux
Rhododendron along the approach
When to climb
Best season goes from the end of June to the end of September.
Where to stay
Chamonix is a primary destination, offering various kind of accomodation (hotels, huts, gites, renting rooms). Numberless campsites are situated both in the Northern and Southern ends of the town. Main campsites:
- Camping la Mer de Glace - Les Praz (3 km. North to Chamonix) +33(0)450534403
- Camping les Deux Glaciers - Les Bossons (3 km. South to Chamonix) +33(0)450531584
- Camping les Arolles - close to the centre of Chamonix - +33(0)450531430
- Camping les Cimes - Les Bossons (3 km. South to Chamonix) +33(0)450535893
- Camping les Marmottes - +33(0)450536124
- Camping Glacier d'Argentière - Argentière (8 km. North to Chamonix) +33(0)450541736
Other info- Office du Tourisme de Chamonix
- Phone +33 0450 530024
- Office de la Haute Montagne de Chamonix www.ohm-chamonix.com
- Phone +33 0450 532208
- Cable-car informations www.chamonix.com www.compagniedumontblanc.fr
- Phone +33 0450 532275
Guidebooks and maps
“Les Aiguilles Rouges – Face au Mont Blanc” by Michel Piola – This guidebook is in English text throughout.
"Monte Bianco classico & plaisir" by Marco Romelli, Edizioni Idea Montagna 2013
“Alpes Francaises du Nord” by Hervè Galley
"Mont Blanc & the Aiguilles Rouges" selected climbs guidebook
IGN 3630 OT Chamonix 1:25.000