Page Type
Haute Savoie (Mont Blanc), France, Europe
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
II AD+ / D-, 350m, ice up to 65°

Route Quality: 10 Votes

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Created On: Dec 13, 2001
Last Edited On: Jul 21, 2008


The Contamine-Mazeaud is a popular route on the Mont Blanc du Tacul's North Face, which is also known as the Triangle du Tacul. The route is located in the centre of the triangle and follows mostly snow and ice pitches with some easy mixed terrain near the top.
It is a little bit easier than the Chèré Couloir because it is less steep, but it does not have fixed bolts or much fixed gear, and therefore has a more alpine character.

The Contamine-Mazeaud is shown as route E 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
Approach to the Triangle du Tacul.Early morning approach

Route Description

During the first rope length, keep left. Then go straight on and traverse to the right with the third rope length to mixed ground. Now you need still 4 rope lengths in order to traverse slightly to the right side so that you meet the Chèré Couloir at the end.

Contamine-Mazeaud RouteRoute profile
Contamine-Mazeaud RouteRoute overview

The view from the Contamine-Mazeaud is great, much better than from the Chèré Couloir, because it is wider.

Climber on the Contamine-MazeaudClimber
Climbing on the Contamine-MazeaudSnow ramp
Second Pitch of the Contamine-MazeaudPitch 2
Looking down the Contamine-MazeaudLooking down
Spindrift flows down the routeMore spindrift
Ice ScrewsIce screws
Removing gearRemoving gear
Approaching the rockApproaching the rock

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 122, Route 197., Contamine-Mazeaud, II AD+. 350m.

    Essential Gear

    Two technical axes, a few ice screws and some rock protection.


    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!

    Climbing ice slopes above the...Upper slopes
    Snow slopes on the Contamine...Upper slopes
    Descent off the  Mont Blanc du TaculWalking off


    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.

  • Contamine-Mazeaud

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