NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire "Couloir du Gardien"

NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire "Couloir du Gardien"

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.94458°N / 7.28977°E
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: AD, 45°
Sign the Climber's Log


From the Cabane de Panossière (2669 m) across the Glacier de Corbassière, orient towards the base of Combin de Corbassière on the right side. From bellow P. 3156 cross the glacier to north of the rocks of P. 3406 and up to the plateau of Maisons Blanches bellow the actual NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire. Turn left to reach the slightly sloped Plateau du Déjeuner (approx. 3500 m).

From the Cabane de Valsorey (3030 m) to north-east, across the Glacier du Meitin and climb the 40-45° face to the lowest point between Combin du Meitin and Combin de Valsorey, called Col du Meitin (3611 m). Descent to the wide plateau of Maisons Blanches, pass the NW flank of Combin de Valsorey and also the NW flank of Combin de Grafeneire (Couloir du Gardien), to avoid the bergschrund and crevasses. Take a long turn to the right to reach the Plateau du Déjeuner (approx. 3500 m).

Here the old and new normal routes split. The old one, the "Corridor", follows a wide ramp to the left in direction Combin de la Tsesette, beneath a 800m long serac bank, then turns right via a steep face called "Mur de la Côte" to gain the upper plateau of the Grand Combin massive. The current normal route "Couloir du Gardien" targets directly the NW flank of the Combin de Grafeneire to reach the upper plateau. It's steeper and technically more demanding, but less exposed to ice fall.
Grand Combin, North routesOverview & routes

Route Description

Descending into the  Couloir du Gardien Traverse, Crux of the route
From the Plateau du Déjeuner traverse to the rocks P. 3764, go round and locate the seracs at P. 3987m. At the beginning stay close to the rocks to avoid crevasses. Coming from the Cabane de Valsorey, don't try to reach the rocks at P. 3764 directly, instead also traverse to Plateau du Déjeuner across the Maisons Blanches, avoiding the mentioned crevasses.
The NW flank is sloped approximately 40°. Reaching the seracs, try to gain the upper plateau by traversing to the right (up to 50°, crux). Take care for crevasses at the top of the serac wall. From there easy to the west shoulder of Combin de Grafeneire or to Combin de Valsorey.

Descent via the described route, the "Corridor" or the SW flank.

Descending the  Couloir du Gardien Descent

Essential Gear

Regular glacier gear (rope, crampons, ice-pick, helmet). Depending on conditions two ice tools can be handy, though almost always a single pick is sufficient.
Early in summer there is barely ice to place screws, neither is it necessary.

Additional Information

SAC Clubführer - Walliser Alpen 2: Vom Großen St. Bernhard zum Col Collon
Guide book by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). Edition 1999/2001.
Price: CHF 54,-/32,- €/$ 54,- (discount for SAC members)
Link: SAC Online Shop (German/French edition)

SAC Skitourenführer - Die schönsten Skitouren der Schweiz
Skitouring guide book by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). Edition 2003.
Price: CHF 49,-/32,- €/$ 49,- (discount for SAC members)
Link: SAC Online Shop (German/French edition)

External Links



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