Sometimes the Mont Maudit is debased to be only a satellite of the Mont Blanc
instead of an independent goal of climbers. But this judgement is not justified at all since the Mont Maudit has a lot of very interesting and difficult couloirs. It is an important climbing mountain of the Mont Blanc MASSIF
. The ice-balconies of the Mont Maudit are only one part. It is the "tame" side with direction to the West and Northwest. You traverse these glacier flanks if you climb the Mont Blanc
via the Mont Blanc du Tacul
starting from the Aiguille du Midi
. As part of this Mont Blanc route, the Mont Maudit (which lies in the Northeast of the Mont Blanc
, 1,8 km far away from the main summit of the Mont Blanc
) is interesting for "normal" alpinists who usually climb 4000m peaks. On this way, it takes already 6 to 7 hours from the Aiguille du Midi
via the Mont Blanc du Tacul
The first climbers were the british people Henry Seymour King and William Edward Davidson on the 12th of september 1878 who were guided by the Bernense Johann Jaun d. J. and Johann von Bergen. The normal ascent from the Col du Mont Maudit is the NW-ridge which is 250 m long. It is mixed, partly I+ , and takes 40 minutes. The Pointe Mieulet (4287m) which lies in the NW of the saddle is not an independent mountain.
The Southeast-side is totally different from these tame glacier flanks in the West and Northwest. The SE-side of the Mont Maudit is similar to the rock scenery of the South-side of the Mont Blanc
and the East-side of the Mont Blanc du Tacul
. The Southeast of the Mont Maudit with its many couloirs, pillars, edges and faces is a very big challenge to climbers. It is really magnificent and beautiful. Well known is the 1,6 km long Kuffner ridge (SE-ridge) which has been climbed first by Moritz von Kuffner together with the guides Alexander Burgener and Joseph Furrer from the 2nd to the 4th of July 1887. Until 1930, the chronicler registered only 4 repetitions. The second climb of this ridge happened 1901, undertaken by the italian climbers E. Canzio and F. Mondini with Henri Brocherel. Member of the 3rd climb in 1911 was the well-known George Leigh Mallory who disappeared on the Everest
1924. In this case of the Kuffner ridge, Mallory climbed as the scholar of his english teacher R. L. G. Irving. One cannot point to this ridge emphatically enough, since it is one of the greatest routes in the Mont Blanc region but still today appreciated not very much. It has the difficulty of III and IV and needs at least 7 to 8 hours from the Bivacco Ghiglione which is situated in the Col du Trident.
The Crétier-route through the SE-face is interesting for people who look for loneliness. It was climbed for the first time in 1932 by Renato Chabod, Amilcare Crétier and L. Binel. 1978 was the year of the "Direttissima": more than 550 m with VI+. The first winter ascent was undertaken by Patrick Gabarrou and H. Bongard on the 12th of February 1986 in 12 hours. Less important is the Bonatti-Ferrario-Oggioni-Route (20th of August 1959) through the E-face of the SE-shoulder.
The Mont Maudit has almost 40 different routes, that means almost as many as the Mont Blanc
(not counting the routes to the foresummits) and only a few less than the about 45 routes of the Mont Blanc du Tacul
(not counting the routes to the many foresummits). Nevertheless, the difficult and challenging climbing routes of the Mont Maudit are much less know than the famous and often climbed routes of the N- and E-side of the Mont Blanc du Tacul
. The reason for this is easily to understand: You need much less time in order to reach the routes of the Mont Blanc du Tacul
than those of the Mont Maudit, and after the climb, you are back at your starting point quite quickly. You can also avoid the crevasses of the NW-flank of the Mont Blanc du Tacul
totally if you abseil down through the Chèrécouloir
of the Mont Blanc du Tacul
For the Routes
compare the section Routes-Overview
2. Cirque Maudit
- NW-ridge/-flank (normal route): till 48°, I+ at the NW-ridge; from the Aig. du Midi 6-7h, 920 hm, mostly glacier tour (Dumler, p. 218)
- NE-ridge: 40°, PD, mixed, III- (passages), mostly II. 430 hm, 3 h from the Col Maudit, 5,5 - 6 h from the Aig. du Midi (Eberlein, p. 139)
- Northflank: 45°, PD+, pure firn/ice ascent, average of steepness: 35°. 1,5 - 3 h for the flank. From the Aig. du Midi 4 - 6 h (Eberlein, p. 139)
3. Glacier de la Brenva
- Arête Kuffner (79a): II D. 600m
- Choucas Blanc (79b): II 2. 350m
- Voie Surprise (79c): III 4+, 5a. 400m
- Couloir de la Consolation (79d): II 3. 450m
- Surcouf (79e): II 5. 250m
- Couloir Comino-Grassi-Miotti (79f): II 4. 350 m
- Grand Couloir de l'Androsace (79g): III 4. 500m
- Fille ou Garcon (79h): III 4+, 4b. 500 m
- Voie des Blaireaux (79i): III 4+. 500m
- Directissime Roger Baxter Jones (79j): III 4. 500m
- Voie Anderson (79k): III D. 400m
- Fil d'Ariane (79l): III 5. 350 m
- Fantasia per a Ghiacciator (79m): V 5+, 6a. 400m
- Goulotte Comino-Grassi (79n): III 4. 300m
- Voie Lacrima Degli Angeli (79o): III 5. 350m
- Sérac du Col Maudit (79p): V 5 to 6. 350m
- Voie Gugliermina (79q): V D. 350 m
4. Pointe Mieulet (4285m)
- Couloir SE (80a): IV 4+. 700m
- Rencontre au Sommet (80b): IV 4+. 700m
- Carroz d'As (80c): IV 5. 700m
- Voie Cretier (voie des Italiens) (80d): IV D+, 4c. 700m
- Dom (80e): V 6. 700m
- Couloir E (80f): IV D. 600m
- Eperon E (4361m)(80g): IV M. 600m
- Voie Diagonale (80h): IV D. 700m
- Country couloir (80i): IV 5
- Overcouloir (80j): IV 5. 700m
- Voie Griffin-Torrens (80k): III D. 700m
- Bonnet d'Anne (80l): IV 5. 700m
- Tableau d'Honneur (80m): III 4. 700m
- Né dans la Pierre (80n): IV 5. 700m
- Goulotte SE (80o): III 5. 700m
- Goulotte Twight-Ghersen (80p): III 4, 5a, 700m
- Voie Domenech-Hanoteau, arête SE (80q): III D. 700m
- Couloir du Bicentenaire (80r): III 5. 700m
- NW-face: Pas si maudit que ca! (81a): III 4. 400m
(2.-4. according to Damilano/Perroux
, pp. 306-328; for other valuations of the routes compare the exact route-discription. The pages 307, 309-311, 313, 315, 317, 319, 321-324 and 327 of Damilano/Perroux
provide pictures of all routes. The numbers in brackets behind the names of the routes mark the number on these pictures.
Getting There1. To the Mont Maudit
2. To the Ref. Cosmiques and the Biv. Abri Simond:
- a. You can come from the Ref. Cosmiques/Biv. Abri Simond via the Mont Blanc du Tacul. (Compare the route discription of the NE-ridge and the N-flank.)
- b. You can come from the Biv. Ghiglione.
- c. You can come from the Fourchebivouac. But according to Dumler (1998), you cannot use it anymore because there was a subcidence of the ground (1988). You may check the following links for further information: Biv. Fourche or altaquota . **If you have any new and secure information concerning this bivouac, please tell me! Thanks.**
- d. You can come from the Rif. Torino to the Circuit Maudit (Compare the discription of the way to the Biv. Ghiglione.)
3. To the Rif. Torino
- 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.
4. To the Biv. Ghiglione
- 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.
5. You reach the Chamonix Valley by train:
- a. You reach the bivouac from the Rif. Torino in 2 - 3 hours. It is a difficult ice ascent (AD, 50°): From the Col du Géant near the Rif. Torino: You traverse the Col des Flambeaux and descent the glacier with direction to the Mont Maudit. Then you go along the Aig. de Toule and the northface 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. Now you go to the bergschrund of the icehang which leads to the Col du Trident. You climb across the mostly difficult bergschrund and either on the left along the rock (fixed rope) or directly over the firnhang to the Col.
- b. You reach the bivouac from the Aig. du Midi or the Ref. Cosmiques or the Biv. Abri Simond in 3 hours: From the foot of the S-face of the Aig. du Midi you go on the almost even glacier to the Point 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 northface of the Tour Ronde or quite directly up to the Col de Trident and the Cirque Maudit. Attention: Here are more crevasses!
6. You reach the Chamonix Valley by bus:
- a. From Martigny (Switzerland) via Vallorcine.
- b. From Geneva (airport) via Anncey (TGV till here) and St. Gervais.
7 . You reach the Chamonix Valley by car:
- From/via Annecy, Geneva, Grenoble, Courmayeur, Aoste and Turin
8. You reach the Val Ferret (Italy) by bus or 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.
- a. From Chamonix through the Mont Blanc Tunnel from the NW.
- b. From Torino (from the SE) on the A5 via Villeneuve.
Red TapeThere 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 ClimbYou can climb the Mont Maudit 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!
CampingThere is a campingplace in Chamonix.
Mountain Conditions and General Infos1. WEATHER INFOS:2. GENERAL INFOS:3. TRAIN (CHAMONIX VALLEY):
0033/450 53 1298
4. BUS (CHAMONIX VALLEY):
0033/8 36 35 35 35
0033/450530702 (train station Chamonix)
0033/450 53 0555 5. CABLE CARS
0033/450 53 0115
Accomodation1. 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):2. Abri Simond Bivouac
- 140 beds
- guarded from February till october
- phone: ++33(0)450544016
- internet: Rif. Cosmiques
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.
3. Rif. Torino (3322m/3375m)
- 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!!!
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):the upper new one
- with 70 beds
- serviced from October to June
- Tel. 00390/165/846484
- internet: Rif.Torino.old
according to Eberlein (pp. 65-65):4. The Bivacco Lucia e Piero Ghiglione (3690m)
- with 170 beds
- serviced from June to September
- Tel. 00390/165/844034 (expensive)
- internet: Rif.Torino.new
The Biv. Ghiglione is situated on the Col du Trident at the SE-ridge.5. Bivouac de la Fourche (3679m)
The Biv. Fourche is also called Biv. Alberico e Borgna. It is situated on the italian side of the Col de la Fourche.
MapsInstitut Géographique National
1:25000 no. 3630 OT (Chamonix)
1:25000 no. 3531 ET (St-Gervais)
to order at:
BooksDamilano/Perroux, Neige, Glace Et Mixte: Mont Blanc. Chamonix: Editions Ice, 1996.
(to order at cordee.co.uk)
Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, Viertausender der Alpen. 11th ed. Munich 1998.
(to order at amazon.de)
Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, The High Mountains of the Alps. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 1994.
(to order at amazon.com)
Hartmut Eberlein: Mont-Blanc-Gruppe. DAV-Gebietsführer. 9th ed. Munich 2000.
(to order at amazon.de)
Goedeke, Richard: The Alpine 4000m peaks by the Classic Routes. Birmingham: Menacha Ridge Press, 1997.
(to order at amazon.com)
Laroche/Lelong: Die Gipfel des Montblanc. Munich 1999.
(to order at amazon.de)
Gaston Rébuffat: The Mont Blanc Massif. The 100 Finest Routes. London 1996.
(to order at amazon.de or at amazon.com)
Dedication to Rahel
This page has been build by Rahel Maria Liu
who loved this mountain. I will maintain the page in her memory with only a few updates when necessary.
Brenva side (Italy) pictures
Combe Maudite side pictures
Northern side (Col Maudit) pictures
West side (Col de la Brenva, French side) pictures
NW side (Glacier des Bossons, Pointe Durier) pictures
Pictures from Aiguille du midi
Sunset and sunrise on mont Maudit
intercarto.fr 3D Mont Blanc Massif Map