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.
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 - 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.
“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