Mont Blanc du Tacul is one of Mont Blanc main summits: Mont Blanc itself (4810m), Mont Blanc de Courmayeur, Mont Maudit (4465) , Dôme du Gouter (4304 m) , Mont Blanc du Tacul (4248m), Aiguille de Bionassay (4025m) ...
Of course, it's located on the 3 Monts Blanc route (Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and 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).
Gervassutti Couloir (800hm, 3450m to 4228m, D-, 2-8h, start from Cosmiques hut or Torino hut)
Boccalate Pilar: (800hm, 3430m to 4248m,TD, 5-7h, start from Cosmiques hut or Torino hut).
Gervassutti Pilar: (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.
(Rahel wrote: Thanks to om for worthful information.)
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.
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)
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°
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)
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.
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
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)
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.
There are no permits or fees required. There is no seasonal closure. Only the Helbronner Cable Car is mostly closed because of ecological reasons. There is a big parking place in Chamonix near the Cable Car ground station. But if there are winter sport sessions in Chamonix, it might be closed. Then it is really difficult to find a parking place.
When To Climb
You can climb the Mont du Tacul all the year. In winter, you can also go by ski via the NW-side, depot at the Col du Mont Maudit. During winter, the advantage for the climbs of the couloirs is less danger of rock and ice fall. But the problem is the coldness! Be aware that it could be -30°C! The danger of getting frostbites is very high!
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.
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.
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
South side pictures
Panorama from summit
Dedication to Rahel
This page has been build mostly by Rahel Maria Liu who loved this mountain. I will maintain the page in her memory with only a few updates when necessary.
Rahel, the last time i went on this mountain, I could meet your great spirit there.