Grand Cornier is the closing point of 3 valleys: Herence, Moiry and Zinal. Its neighbour is another big mountain in the area, Dent Blanche, but Grand Cornier is a very remarkable peak. From Moiry, Grand Cornier appears all white and it's true that the climb by this side is a large snow field approach and a little rocky ridge. From the NE this peak has more appeal, if seen from Val de Zinal or any summit as Besso or Weisshorn. Above Glacier de Zinal there are many shoulders and hung glaciers below steep snow slopes. The rounded dome of Grand Cornier emerges majestically over all that snow and ice landscape. In 1932 the french climbers Lucien Devies and Jaques Lagarde climbed the NE face along the steep Glacier de Bouquetins. This glacier is very crevassed and has many seracs. Finally there are 50º slopes until the summit. Now this route is more dangerous than in the 30s because Grand Cornier has lost the ice that covered its summital slopes and the rocks have poor quality. So be careful not only with falling stones, even with the fall of big rocks. This is the cause of this face not be recommended at all, only after big snowfalls in winter could be attempted. So the NW ridge or the S ridge of Grand Cornier are better routes than NE face to this superb mountain. The S ridge is beautiful and has nice views of Dent Blanche N face and Zinalrothorn. The ascent can be attempted in two days, sleeping at Bivouac du Col de la Dent Blanche, so there is no need of vivy gear. This ridge was little used until the built ot the refuge because of the very long approaches from Val d'Hérens or Val de Zinal. On descent follow the easy snow slopes of Glacier de Moiry. There are two different posibilities if you want to finalize in Val d'Herens: go NW over Pointe de Bricola (3.658 m) and descend along a wide gully to the N, or go to Cabane de Moiry (2.825 m) and Col de la Coronne (2.987 m).
First climbed by Christian Almer, Franz Biener, Michel Croz and Edward Whymper on June 16th, 1865.
One of the starting points is Bivouac du Col de la Dent Blanche. Reach it from Ferpecle (Val d'Herence) in 6 hours. Attention: this is a glaciertour with crevasses to the refuge! 3-4 hours to the summit.
Free to climb.
When To Climb
From June to October is the most appropriate season to climb this nice peak.
Campings and Huts
In Evolène (1.371 m), Evolène.
In Les Haudères, Molignon.