Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 45.85754°N / 6.88691°E
Activities Activities: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Ice Climbing, Big Wall, Mixed, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer
Additional Information Elevation: 13937 ft / 4248 m
Sign the Climber's Log


This page will be kept in honour of the SP member Rahel Maria Liu,  the former owner of this page, died on 25 August 2004 on the Innominata Ridge (Monte Bianco) at the age of 34.   

Mont Blanc du Tacul 4248 m


Mont Blanc du Tacul is one of Mont Blanc Group main summits, together with  Mont Blanc 4810 m, Monte Bianco di Courmayeur 4765 m, Mont Maudit 4465 m, Dôme du Gouter 4304 m, Aiguille de Bionassay 4025 m.  The mountain is entirely located on the French side of the massif, between the Aiguille du Midi and the Mont Maudit. The mountain is positioned on the long succession of peaks starting with the Aiguille du Midi and rising to the main peak of Mont Blanc. Along this ridge it is located the 3 Monts Blanc route (Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc), the finest route among the Normal ones to summit the Mont Blanc.

A panoramic view of Mont Blanc
A panoramic view of Mont Blanc

The normal route is a 2 hours of walk away from the Refuge des Cosmiques on a glacier in the north face (600hm) with variety of snow and ice types. From the cable car of the Aiguille du Midi, you can reach the refuge by descending about 300 meters (45 mn). The route is not very long but take care of snow, seracs, and weather conditions.

Serac falls, snow accumulation avalanches have still killed people here at any hour. It can become cold and windy in a very short time. In clouds it's not easy to find the path on glacier and there are some big crevasses near col du Midi. The way from col du Midi to the summit is just a steep glacier walk with difficulty PD+. That is a reasonable difficulty for crevassed route. The second part of the ascend route to the "Epaule" is exposed : long steep snow/ice slope over some big serac cliffs. The last 30 meters to the summit are of ice and rocks and partially exposed over the steep east face.

This route can be combined with the ridge '' arete des Cosmiques '' on the Aiguille du Midi. Difficulty AD with rockclimbing III+.

It is one of the most climbed peaks in Chamonix Valley because of its location on 3 Ms' route and short access from cable car. Don't forget the objective dangers of this face (Snow or Seracs avalanches, crevasses, fog), especially when coming back late from long routes (Mt Blanc Du Tacul east side, Mont Maudit routes, Mont Blanc 3M route, or Mont Blanc Traverse)

Mont Blanc du Tacul is known too for it's steep and rocky/icy E face (see routes and links for details).

Couloir Gervasutti  (800hm, 3450m to 4228m, D-, 2-8h, start from Cosmiques hut or Torino hut)

Pilier Boccalatte Pilar: (800hm, 3430m to 4248m,TD, 5-7h, start from Cosmiques hut or Torino hut).

Pilier Gervasutti: (800hm, 3400m to 4248m,TD, 7-10h, start from Cosmiques hut or Torino hut). G.Gervassutti died in september 16 1946, descending because of bad weather.

Dedication: Thanks to Rahel Maria for this great page. The last maintainer and nice original submiter of this page Rahel Maria Liu died 24/25 August 2004 after being caught in a freak snowstorm on the southern face of Mont Blanc. She was 34 years old.

Climbing history

It was probablely done by members of Hudson-Kennedy expedition August 8 1855.

Gervassutti Couloir: R Chabod and Giusto Gervasutti: august 13 1934

Pilier Boccalatte: Mies N. Pietrasanta and Gabriele Boccalatte: august 28 1936.

Pilier Gervassutti: P. Fornelli and G Mauro july 29-30 1951

(Thanks to om for worthful information.)

Getting There

1. To the Mont Blanc du Tacul:

  • a. You can come from the Ref. Cosmiques/Biv. Abri Simond. (Compare the route discription of the NE-ridge and the N-flank.)
  • b. You can come from the Rif. Torino

2. To the Ref. Cosmiques and the Biv. Abri Simond:

  • 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 Southsummit. On the firn ridge, you go down with SE-direction to an even ridgeplatform; then turn right to the S and SW-direction below the S-face of the Aig. du Midi. Pay attention to crevasses!
  • You reach the Aig. du Midi with cable car from Chamonix.

3. To the Rif. Torino

  • You reach the hut directly with the cable car from Entrèves/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). Pay attention: The Helbronner cable car, traversing the Géant glacier, is mostly closed.
  • 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 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. Now you turn to the ESE to the Col des Flambeaux. From here in a few minutes to the Ref. Torino. It is a very beautiful glacier walk with 200 hm ascent. Difficulty: F.

4. You reach the Chamonix Valley by train:

  • a. From Martigny (Switzerland) via Vallorcine.
  • b. From Geneva (airport) via Anncey (TGV till here) and St. Gervais.

5. You reach the Chamonix Valley by bus:

  • From/via Annecy, Geneva, Grenoble, Courmayeur, Aoste and Turin

6 . You reach the Chamonix Valley by car:

  • a. From Geneva (from the NW) on the A40 till St. Gervais and from here on the N205.
  • b. From Martigny (from the NE, Switzerland) via Vallorcine and the Col des Montets on the road no. N506.

7. You reach the Val Ferret (Italy) by bus or car:

  • a. From Chamonix through the Mont Blanc Tunnel from the NW.
  • b. From Torino (from the SE) on the A5 via Villeneuve.

Route Overview

The Mont Blanc du Tacul has altogether more than 40 different routes. Some of them are:

A. North-West flank

1. Normal route

  • 40°, mostly less, PD, very beautiful glacier-tour with partly big crevasses! After new snowfall, avalanches also in summer possible! 700 hm from Col du Midi, 2,5 h (Eberlein)

B. Triangle and North face (the order of the following routes: from W to E (according to Damilano/Perroux)

1. Chéré couloir:

  • 80° (short passage), 70° (1 rope length), the rest 50°-60°, D+, short, interesting ice couloir, frequently climbed, 300 hm, 3-4 h (Eberlein)
  • II 4. 350 hm, ice till 85° (Damilano/Perroux)

2. Goulotte du sérac : III 4. 180 m
3. Goulotte Perroux : III 4+, 5b, 350 hm, ice till 70°
4. Le temps est assassin : II 4. 350 hm, mixed
5. Eperon N. : III 4. 350 hm, ice till 50°
6. Contamine Mazeaud rectifiée : III 4. 350 hm, ice till 80°
7. Contamine Mazeaud : II AD+. 350 hm, ice till 65°
8. Directissime : III 4+. 350 hm
9. Gabbarou-Marquis : III 4. 350 hm, ice till 65°
10. Contamine Grisolles : II AD. 350 hm, ice till 60°
11. Petit Frounet : II D. 350 hm
12. Contamine-Négri : IV 2. 350 hm, ice till 70°
13. Voie diagonale : III AD+. 350 hm
14. Pibarot-ci, Pibarot-1à : V 4 à 5. 500 hm
15. La main dans le sac : V 5 à 6. 500 hm
16. La tête dans les Etoiles : V 5 à 6. 500 hm
17. Arête E : IV 2. 600 hm, ice till 70°

C. East Face (order of the routes from N to S according to Damilano/Perroux

1. Scotch on the Rocks: IV 7, M. 450 hm
2. Pinochio: IV 6+. 450 hm
3. Modica-Noury: III 5+. 500 hm
4. Gabarrou-Albinoni:

  • III 4+, 500 hm, ice till 85 ° (Damilano/Perroux)
  • IV, TD-, 600 hm, ice till 80°, mixed, very beautiful small ice couloir with some very extreme steep passages, 4-6 h (Eberlein)

5 Hidden Couloir: III 4, 4c, 600 hm, ice till 80°, mixed
6. Direct climbing of the Hidden Couloir: IV 5. 200 m
7. Couloir Jaeger: II D. 600 m, ice till 60°, beautiful couloir
8. Couloir Gervasutti (classic climbing out to the right side/Terray-Lachenal) :

  • D-, ice till 55°, average: 50°, famous ice tour, objectively dangerous because of rock and ice fall and avalanches, 700 hm, 2-6 h, also as "ski extreme" by people gone down (Eberlein)
  • V D, 600 hm, till 55° (Damilano/Perroux)

8. Couloir Gervasutti (climbing out to the left side/Chabod-Gervasutti): V 1, 800 hm, ice till 60° (Damilano/Perroux)
9. Couloir Macho: IV 2, 800 hm, ice till 70°
10. Supercouloir:

  • 85°, V+, maybe A1, ED-, famous tour with constant difficulty, best time in spring, 800 hm, 8-10 h (Eberlein)
  • IV 5+, 5c/A1, 800 hm (Damilano/Perroux)

All information concerning the valuation of the routes' difficulty (except explicit reference to other books) according to Damilano/Perroux, Neige, Glace Et Mixte: Mont Blanc. Chamonix: Editions Ice, 1996. ISBN 2950986803. PP. 263-285.

More Classic east face routes:

20. Pilier Boccalatte (Boccalatte-Pietrasanta 1936) D/TD - 800m
21. Pilier Gervasutti (Fornelli-Mauro 1951) TD/TD sup - 800m
22. Couloir du Diable and SE ridge (Boccalatte-Chabod 1930) D - 800m

D. South Face

Some almost forgotten routes starting from the Cirque Maudit, first climbed at the beginning of the last century (1902-1914)
further info are missing, should be "classic" high mountain routes.

Glaciers: La Vallée Blanche and la Mer de Glace

The second longuest Glacier in the Alps after Aletsch Glacier is descending from Mont Blanc du Tacul to Chamonix Valley.

The highest part of it is named Glacier du Géant and Vallée Blanche (White Valley) and the part from ice fall to the end is named Mer de Glace (Ice sea)

(Thanks to om for worthful information.)

Red Tape

There are no permits or fees required. There is no seasonal closure. 

When To Climb

Mountaineering: from July to September
Ski-mountaineering: from March to June


1. Ref. des Cosmiques (3613 m)

The Ref. des Cosmiques is situated on a shoulder between the Col du Midi and the SW-ridge of the Aig. du Midi (Cosmiques-ridge).

according to Eberlein (p. 52):

  • 140 beds
  • guarded from February till october
  • phone: ++33(0)450544016
  • internet: Rif. Cosmiques

2. Abri Simond Bivouac

The Abri Simond Bivouac is situated just a few meters northern of the Ref. des Cosmiques, just at the beginning of the Arête des Cosmiques.

  • 18 beds
  • open in winter, when Ref. des Cosmiques is closed
  • a few words: I can highly recommend this little bivouac hut of about 30 qm!!! I have stayed there for 1 week in winter (January/February). I promise you: Never in life, you will forget this experience ... when it is -30°C outside, and stormy with 120 km/h, without toilette of course, without heating, without light, without water of course, the hut never been cleaned, you almost poisoned with the vapours of the many gasoline stoves burning hours and hours .... well you must experience it by yourself .... one just cannot describe it!!!

3. Rif. Torino (3322m/3375m)

The Rif. Torino has 2 huts, the lower and older one and the upper, new one. Both huts are connected by a tunnel.

The lower old one according to Eberlein(pp. 64-65):

  • 70 beds
  • serviced from October to June
  • Tel. 00390/165/846484

the upper new one according to Eberlein (pp. 65-65):

  • 170 beds
  • serviced from June to September
  • Tel. 00390/165/844034 (expensive)


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 

General info

- Office de la Haute Montagne de Chamonix Phone +33 0450 532208 (9:00-12:00 & 15:00-18:00 during the summer) Office de la Haute Montagne Chamonix (OHM)
- Cable-car informations Phone +33 0450 532275 Compagnie du MontBlanc
- Office du Tourisme de Chamonix Phone +33 0450 530024 Chamonix Mont-Blanc


Meteo and Mountain Conditions

Meteo Chamonix

Meteo Valle d'Aosta

You can get excellent information about weather, conditions and routes at the "Compagnie des Guides de Hauts Montagnes" (, tel: 50 53 00 88) or the "Maison de la Montagne" at the "place de l'Église" in Chamonix. Don't be afraid to step into their building, its common practice, people are constantly walking in and out. By no means you are expected to hire a guide when you visit. 



  • 0033/450 53 1298
  • 0033/8 36 35 35 35
  • 0033/450530702 (train station Chamonix)


  • 0033/450 53 0555
  • 0033/450 53 0115



Guidebooks and maps

"Monte Bianco Vol. 2" Guida Vallot by François Labande 
"The Mont Blanc Massif - The 100 Finest Routes" by Gaston Rebuffat -  London 1996


3630 OT (Chamonix) Institut Géographique National - 1:25000 

  • 1:25000 no. 3531 ET (St-Gervais)


  • Damilano/Perroux, Neige, Glace Et Mixte: Mont Blanc. Chamonix: Editions Ice, 1996.
    ISBN 2950986803
    (to order at
  • Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, Viertausender der Alpen. 11th ed. Munich 1998.
    ISBN 3-7633-7427-2
    (to order at
  • Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, The High Mountains of the Alps. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 1994.
    ISBN 0898863783
    (to order at
  • Hartmut Eberlein: Mont-Blanc-Gruppe. DAV-Gebietsführer. 9th ed. Munich 2000.
    ISBN 3-7633-2414-3
    (to order at
  • Goedeke, Richard: The Alpine 4000m peaks by the Classic Routes. Birmingham: Menacha Ridge Press, 1997.
    ISBN 0897321111
    (to order at
  • Laroche/Lelong: Die Gipfel des Montblanc. Munich 1999.
    ISBN 3-405-15693-9
    (to order at
  • Michel Piola: Mont Blanc Topo Guide Vol. 1 (Rock). Published by Editions Equinoxe 1988. Distributed by Cordee £17.95
    ISBN 904405281
  • Michel Piola: Mont Blanc Topo Guide Vol. 2 . Published by Editions Equinoxe 1993. Distributed by Cordee £17.95
    ISBN Unknown
  • Gaston Rébuffat: The Mont Blanc Massif. The 100 Finest Routes. London 1996.
    ISBN 1-898573-03-4
    (to order at or at
  • Erich Vanis, Im steilen Eis. Munich 1980.
    ISBN 3-405-12158-2
    (to order at:

Global views taken from Aiguille du Midi or from vallée Blanche cable car

NW flank pictures

N ridge and E face pictures

Triangle du Tacul Pictures

Summits pictures

Panorama from summit

Dedication to Rahel

Jonction-Ice-Break on the way...
Jonction-Ice-Break on the way...


This page has been build mostly by Rahel Maria Liu, an early SummitPost member died for hypotermia on 24-25 August 2004 after being caught in a freak snowstorm while attempting to climb the Innominata Spur on the Southern (Italian) side of Mont Blanc. She was only 34 years old.

Edward Allen, her climbing companion (a British climber known some days early), was saved by an helicopter of the Italian Rescue team.  Rahel was a charter member during SP early days and her work here remains among the best of SP's collected contributions. Her knowledge and experience has made an impact on the world mountaineering community, and her warmth and friendship will be long remembered among her many friends and fellow members here at SummitPost. She will be greatly missed by us all. Continued maintenance of this page is in her memory. 




External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Chucky - Sep 14, 2002 1:51 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

According to a sign I saw posted on Aiguille du Midi, at the exit to the "haute montagne" area, persons can set up tents pretty much any place they choose on the mountain, free of charge, provided the tents are up after sunset and down before sunrise. During the week of 10-13 September, 2002, I noted a number of tents up at "high noon," in the Col du Midi (3,532 meters). No one seemed to care and I certainly did not see anyone out there performing official duties, fining campers, or ordering them to depart the area.

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