North Face

Page Type
Wallis (Valais), Switzerland, Europe
Route Type:
Tecnical Rock and Ice Climb
Time Required:
A long day
MD/MD+ or TD/TD+, V/V+

Route Quality: 4 Votes

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North Face
Created On: May 20, 2002
Last Edited On: Jun 16, 2002


On 1928 Miss Maud Cairney with the guides Théophile and Hiliaire Theytaz did the long traverse from N ridge to the N face summit. But this one was climbed first by Karl Schneider and Franz Singer on 26-27 August 1932. It's one of the most difficult North faces in the Alps. This route has the same technical level than Matterhorn (Cervino) N face but; if you include approach, ascent and descent, it's a bigger target than Cervino N face. Schneider and Singer started at Cabane du Mountet, wich mean a considerable approach. First direct route was by Yvette and Michel Vaucher on 10-12 July o1966 and 2 years later the guide Camille Bournissen did the first N face Winter climb.


Ascend by road and before the stream go left through the wood and climb SEwards over meadows to Alpe Bricola (2,415 m), ancient huts. Follow the path till the last Bricola stream (25' from Alpe Bricola) and then ascend over meadows and moraine gravel towards Glacier de la Dent Blanche. Meeanwhile it would be an adventage if you studie the way over it because usually is very cracked. Reach Bivouac du Col de la Dent Blanche (3,540 m) after a snow slope (4 hours from Ferpècle).

Route Description

From Bivouac du Col de la Dent Blanche descend 130 m on the col E side. Sometime it needs some abseilings because of gravel and a steep ice slope. Right beside the col E side, traverse easily Glacier du Grand Cornier towards a rocky spur on the summit vertical. Cross the often overhanging bergschrund, rise 2 pitches by ice steep sections towards the spur base. Then, 200 m of a relatively easy mixt climb get complicated over the central snow patch. A 30 m pitch over rock and ice (V/V+, 8 pegs). Climb the icy central snow patch to a rocky rib that crosses all the face, along 10 pitches with ice screws. Do not stay a lot of time here on the summit couloir vertical. Ascend by its right side, a steep ice slope well protected against falls of rocks. After 5 of 6 rope lengths, the rock has outcrops where pegs can be easily placed. Climb the last 200 m right close to the couloir, its right side has V passages with a difficult assurance.

Essential Gear

Good snow and weather conditions are essential, the climber must decide also according to falls of rocks risks. Gear: ice axe, hammer axe, ice crampons, bivouac gear, karabiners, ice screws, pegs, abseiling devices, ropes, and all other gear for a high-technical rock and ice climb.

North Face

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