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.
You can come from the Refuge Les Cosmiques.
You can come from the Rifugio Torino.
To the Refuge Les Cosmiques:
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)
* Google earth Grand Capucin - Photo from Antonio Giani
Hartmut Eberlein, Mont-Blanc-Gruppe. Gebietsführer für Bergsteiger und Kletterer, 2000 or 2012.
Hartmut Eberlein, Mont-Blanc.
Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, The High Mountains of the Alps.
Gaston Rébuffat, The Mont Blanc Massif. The 100 Finest Routes. London 1996. ISBN 1-898573-03-4.
Lindsay Griffin, Mont Blanc Massif, Vol. 2 - Published Alpine Club (2002).
Lindsay Griffin, Mont Blanc Massif, Vol. 1 - Published Alpine Club - London (1990).
Gino Buscaini, MONTE BIANCO, Vol. I, Guida dei Monti d'Italia, 1994.
Osvaldo Cardellina, 80 itinerari di Escursionismo Alpinismo e Sci Alpinismo in Valle d'Aosta. Ed. Musumeci, 1977 (in Italian); 1978 (in French).
* Mountain Area Mont Blanc - Photo by Rahel Maria Liu
The mighty Mont Blanc
* Panorama Aig. Verte - Aig. de Triolet - Rochefort Ridge - Grand Capucin - Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Blanc (Photo by Hiltrud Liu)
MANY THANKS for the nice and creative work, Antonio! MANY THANKS for your friendly assistance, Gabriele!
GRAND CAPUCIN ROUTES (Photo by Antonio Giani)
A= SSW Pillar - O sole mio route, Michel
Piola and Pierre Alain Steiner (Apr 21-22th, 1984). Difficulty VI/A0/ED
B= South dihedral and wall – route of Swiss, Claude Asper,
Marcel Bron, Mario Grossi and Marcel Morel (Jul 24-25-26th, 1956).
Difficulty III/IV/V/VI/A1/A2/TD+ Lenght: 300m
C= South wall – Sourire de l'été route, Gaetano and Romain
Vogler (Aug 24-25th, 1981). Difficulty VI/A2/ED+ Lenght: 300m
D= S wall – De fil en aiguille route, Jean Luc Amstutz,
Vincent Banderet and Romain Vogler (Jul 31th, 1991). Difficulty
VI/VII/A1/EX- Lenght: 300m
E= SE wall – Fragrant délire, Jean Marc Boivin and Michel
Piola (Aug 13-14th, 1983). Difficulty VI/A3/ED+ Lenght: 400m
F= SE wall – Elisir d’Astaroth route, Michel Piola, Pierre
Alain Steiner and Romain Vogler (Aug 18-19-20th, 1981). Difficulty
VI/A2/ED+ Lenght: 400m
G= E wall – Bonatti route, Walter Bonatti and Luciano Ghigo
(Jul 20-21-22-23th, 1951). Difficulty IV/V+/VII/A1/A2/A3/TD+ Lenght: 400m
H= E wall – Po-eticomania route, Fabio Delisi and Enrico
Jovane (Aug 01-02th, 1986). Difficulty VII/A2 Lenght: 400m
I= E wall – Directe des Capucins route, Eric Belin, Jean
Marc Boivin and Martial Moioli (Jul 09-10th, 1983). Difficulty VI/A0/ED
L= S wall - Panoramix variant, C. Dalphin, R. Habersaat, T.
Grassin C. Reuille and B. Voltolini (estate 1962). Difficulty VII/A2
M= E wall – Eau et gaz à tous les étages route, Jean Marc
Boivin, F. Diaferia and Martial Moioli (Jul 28-29th, 1984). Difficulty
VI+/A3/ED+ Lenght: 400m
N= S wall - Voyage selon Gulliver route, Pierre Alain
Steiner and Michel Piola (Jul 18-19th, 1982). Difficulty VI/A0/ED+ Lenght:
O= SE wall – Lecco route, Aldo Anghileri and Pino Negri Jun
29-30 Jul 01; Guerrino Cariboni, Casimiro Ferrari and Carlo Mauri (Jun
30-Jul 01th, 1968). Difficulty V+/VI/VII/A1/A2/ED Lenght: 300m
* Glacier Dent du Géant/Mer de Glace - Ascent 1790 - Mer de Glace - Photos from om and ericvola
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