South Side of Grand Capucin - Photo by Antonio Giani
In memory of Rahel Maria Liu, the former maintainer of this page. Rahel died on the Innominata Spur to Mont Blanc in a snowstorm on August 24th, 2004.
On the glacier
View of Mont Blanc
UFO above Mont Blanc
GRAND CAPUCIN - a red granite tower on the Gèant Glacier
The Grand Capucin is an extraordinary red granite tower in the Mont Blanc MASSIF. It has an E face rising steeply out of the Géant Glacier.
The famous granite tower is an unique monolith in the Mont Blanc Area. The magnificent Grand Capucin is situated at the end of the east side of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. You can't miss it when you go from the Aiguille du Midi to the Rifugio Torino. It is a wonderful rock obelisk on the Glacier du Géant.
Particularly noticeable are the rows of overhangs which at one time suggested it was unclimbable, but Bonatti found a winding route which goes over some of the overhangs, but in general works its way up between the great roofs; the climbing is quite literally, geometrically vertical, something quite exceptional on granite.
Although its faces are not higher than 490 m and although the mountain can be seen only from the summits around, it has been interesting for rock climbers since 40 years.
* The famous Granite Tower Grand Capucin (3838 m) - Photos by Antonio Giani
A= Blue Route "Elixir d'Astaroth". Difficulty ED+/6A/A2
B= Red Route "Walter Bonatti". Difficulty TD+/V+/A1/A2
C= Green Route "Eau et gaz à tous les étages". Difficulty ED+/6C/A3/A4/
For the Routes compare the section Routes-Overview below.
After the first climbing through the E face, done by Walter Bonatti and L. Ghigo from 20th to 23rd of July 1951 (with the equipment of the 50ies ... respect!!), the Bonatti route has been the goal of extreme climbers for a long time. 1981 and later, there have been arranged very difficult sport climbing routes, which are the attraction to the climbers today.
Besides the "Triple Directe", it is especially the route "Voyage selon Gulliver", which is interesting. The first ascent of the summit was undertaken by E. Augusto, Adolphe and Henri Rey and L. Lanier on 24. July 1924.
Deep crevasses between Rifugio Torino and the refuge Les Cosmiques - Photo by besucher01
Crevasses, rockfall and bad weather
There are deep crevasses in the area of the Géant Glacier. And falling stones on the fine rock routes to the summit of Grand Capucin are very dangerous. Pay attention to crevasses and stonefall!
Sometimes the weather changes very quickly, a great and serious danger - to be caught on the summit in a heavy storm.
In order to reach the hut, you need about 1/2 h from the Aig. du Midi. If you leave the cable car station via the bridge, you go to the South summit. On the firn ridge, you go down in SE direction of an even ridgeplatform; then turn right to the S and in SW direction below the S face of the Aig. du Midi. Pay attention to crevasses!
You reach the Aiguille du Midi with cable car from Chamonix.
To the Rifugio Torino
You reach the hut directly with the cable car from Entrève/Courmayeur (Italy).
You can reach the hut directly also with the Helbronner cable car from the Aiguille du Midi (to Aiguille du Midi with the cable car from Chamonix).
Or you go on foot from the Aiguille du Midi over the glacier du Géant (3 h): From the foot of the S face of the Aiguille du Midi you go on the almost even glacier to the Pointe Lachenal, turn left (E) to the glacier valley below the rugged E face of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. You go along this E face of the Tacul and the Pointe Adolphe Rey in order to loose only little height.
Now you turn to the ESE to the Col des Flambeaux. From here in a few minutes to the Refugio Torino. It is a very beautiful glacier walk with 200 hm ascent. Difficulty: F.
You reach Courmayeur through the Mont Blanc tunnel from Chamonix.
You reach Chamonix with train, bus or car from Geneva or Martigny (Switzerland).
To the Cirque Maudit
You reach the Cirque Maudit from the Aig. du Midi or the Ref. Cosmiques: From the foot of the S face of the Aig. du Midi you go on the almost even glacier to the Pointe Lachenal, turn left (E) to the glacier valley below the rugged E face of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. You go along this E face of the Tacul and the Pointe Adolphe Rey in order to loose only little height. Then you go either with a big detour to the north face of the Tour Ronde or quite directly up to the Col de Trident and the Cirque Maudit. Attention: Here are more crevasses!
You reach the Cirque Maudit from the Rifugio Torino: From the Col du Géant near the Rif. Torino: You traverse the Col des Flambeaux and descend the glacier in direction of the Mont Maudit. Then you go along the Aiguille de Toule and the north face of the Tour Ronde to the Cirque Maudit which is built by the Arête de la Brenva, the Mont Maudit and the Mont Blanc du Tacul.
* Panoramic view of Grand Capucin (Photo by Rahel Maria Liu)