Pointe Lachenal

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Chamonix, France, Europe
County:
Alta Savoia
Elevation:
11853 ft / 3613 m
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Page By:
Pointe Lachenal
Created On: Sep 12, 2004
Last Edited On: Aug 26, 2018

Overview


Pointe Lachenal 3671 m


Pointe Lachenal 3671 m is a fine granite rock tower located in the Mont Blanc massif, offering a wealth of wonderful rock climbing routes from UIAA V+ to VII+ and upwards on the magnificent granite of its SE face, in a superb alpine setting next to Mt. Blanc du Tacul, above the Glacier du Geant.

Easily accessible from the Aiguille du Midi telepherique, it also offers a short Normal route on a glacier and a ridge crossing on mixed terrain, perfect for one-day round trips up high for acclimatization.


History

A very young Lionel with René Beckert and Louis Lachenal
Louis Lachenal (on the left) with René Beckert and Lionel Terray



This peak was named in honor of the famous alpinist and alpine guide Louis Lachenal  (1921 - 1955). Born in Annecy,  after the World War II he became a guide and ski instructor in Chamonix. With the great Lionel Terray he formed a formidable and legendary party, very fast and able to face the greatest alpine itineraries of the moment: North of the Eiger, North of the Grandes Jorasses, NE of Pizzo Badile, Via Cassin.

In 1950 he took part in the French expedition to the Annapurna; together with Maurice Herzog he was the first man to reach the summit of a 8000s,  but the tribute that he had to pay was very heavy: ample and widespread freezing at the hands and above all the heels that were partially amputated. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Legion of Honor. After 3 years of calvary, he succeeded with great effort of will to resume the work of Alpine guide and ski instructor. In 1953,  27th November Louis Lachenal died on the Glacier du Géant disappearing on skis inside a crevasse.

Getting There

The closest starting point to approach Pointe Lachenal is the town of Chamonix, where to get the departure point of the Aiguille du Midi cable car.

La punta Lachenal (3613 m) e l'aiguille du Midi (3842 m)
Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Lachenal - Photo Antonio Giani



Road access to Chamonix

From Switzerland

- Starting from Martigny: follow the road getting to the Switzerland – France border, pass the border, getting to the village of Argentière (37 km. from Martigny, 5 km. from the border), then Chamonix.

- Starting from Geneve: follow the E25 Motorway to St. Gervais les Bains, then the RN 205 to Chamonix

From Italy

- From Aosta follow the E25 Motorway to Courmayeur, then enter the Mont Blanc Tunnel,  getting to Chamonix (65 km. from Aosta) 

Walking approach from Aiguille du Midi

From the Aiguille du Midi telepherique upper station descend to the Col du Midi, cross the Col and descend the small slope between the Gros Rognon and Pointe Lachnal then make your way towards the SE face. One hour in descent from Aiguille du Midi; one and a half hours for the ascent back to Aiguille du Midi Station.


Another starting point is the town of Courmayeur (italian side). This approach is considerably longer, but allows you to reach the mountain directly from Italy.

From Courmayeur take the cable car La Palud-Punta Helbronner. We start to walk on the glacier, following the track that is normally well traced and obvious. The itinerary involves a difference in height (uphill) of about 200 meters. The trajectory of the track, fairly straight, undergoes some small changes year after year, depending on the crevasses, especially in the middle of the crosswalk. We arrive near the Aiguille du Midi. 

Normal route to the three summits


An easy and short ascent in a spectacular environment, useful as an acclimatization climb or an alternative in case of bad conditions of the other climbs of the district. Slopes on moderate ice, at most and only for a short distance around 50 °, otherwise 40 °. The views are as said really spectacular on the surrounding glaciers and on the surrounding peaks.

Traverse of Pt.Lachenal
Traverse of Pointe Lachenal

Route report

From the tunnel that leads to the outside of the Aiguille du Midi station, go down the snowy ridge first slightly steep and then, towards the hill below, less sloping. to the right to reach the glacial basin below the east face of the Aguille du Midi. You walk slightly downhill towards the Mont Blanc du Tacul; abandoned the track that rises towards it bends to the left passing at a distance from its large rocky triangle pointing towards the three points to climb. You pass under the tips and climb the slope (45 °) to the left to reach the snow-capped peak east (3626 m) from which you follow the easy ridge to the right coming under the rocks of the central point; now the easy rocks (II) can be climbed on mixed terrain for about twenty meters, thus arriving at the eastern tip (3633 m). 


After descending the latter, follow the path back down to the base of the slope from which you can still retrace the traces of approach for a short distance and, choosing the best point, cross to the left passing under the western tip. Once you reach the base of the slope, you climb it (35/40 °), arriving at the end of the ridge that runs a few meters to the left, thus touching the west tip (3671 m), the highest.

Rock climbing routes overview

Alpinisti sulla parete sud della punta Lachenal (3613 m)
Climbers on the South pillar - Photo Antonio Giani





Here is a small list of the more than 25 listed routes on Pointe Lachenal:

Contamine   UIAA VII+ if 50 meter crack is free-climbed; aided the UIAA rating drops to a V/V+; 250 meters
Harold et Maude  UIAA VII+ 250 meters
Marylène UIAA V+/VI-  220 meters

Red Tape

No particulary restrictions in climbing and mountaineering.

Leaving the tent up on the glacier after sunrise is offically prohibited. The reason for this is largely an attempt to reduce the environmental impact on the area but also to make the landing of helicopters (in the case of rescues) safer and easier for all involved.

When to climb

These routes are best climbable in summer.  If you have the necessary equipment to cross the Glacier du Geant in early spring and late winter, they are also supposed to be quite climbable during these periods, if the rock is dry.

Huts

Rifugio des Cosmiques (3613...
Refuge des Cosmiques - Photo Antonio Giani


Refuge des Cosmiques  3613 m – 143 beds. Winter-hut (12 beds)

Situation: Mont Blanc group, Col du Midi
Owner: Company guides of chamonix
Open: from 01/03 to 01/10/2018
Size: 143 persons + 12 in the winter-shelter  Abri Simond near the refuge
Getting there: from Aiguille du Midi cable-car upper station;
Phone +33450544016

It is also possible to bivy also in the Abrì Perroux, a wooden hut perched on the rocky spur under the Cosmiques shelter. Otherwise bivy on the Col du Midi in a tent. Perfectly legal

Camping in Chamonix

CHAMONIX
>>L'ile Des Barrats
185 Chemin de I'ile des Barrats
04 5053 5144
Open from 8/5-1/10 53 sites 3 star

>>Les Rosieres
121 clos des Rosieres
04 5053 1042
open from 7/2 - 30/9 127 sites 3 star

>>Les Arolles
281 chemin du Cry
04 5053 1430
15/6 - 30/9 30 sites 2 stars

>>Les Molliasses
Chemin a Batiorert
04 5053 1681
open 1/6 - 15/9 164 sites 2 stars

LES PRAZ

La Mer De Glace
200 Chemin de la Bagna
04 5053 0863 or 04 5053 4403
www.chamonix-camping.com
open 10/6 - 15/9 150 sites 3 stars

LES BOIS

Les Drus
BP 30
04 50 53 4920
open 28/3 - 30/9 70 sites 2 stars

ARGENTIERE

>>Glacier d' Argentiere
58 Chemin des Moillettes
04 5054 1736 or 04 5054 0373
open 15/5 - 30/9 80 sites 2 stars

LES BOSSONS

>>Les Deux Glaciers
80 rte des Tissieres
04 5053 1584
open 15/12 - 15/11 135 sites 3 stars

>>Les Marmottes
140 Chemin des Doux
04 5053 6124
www.camping-lesmarmottes.com
open 15/6 - 30/9 100 sites 3 stars

>>Les Cimes
28 route des Tissieres
04 5053 5893
http://www.campinglescimesmont...
open 1/6 - 30/9 100 sites 2 stars

>> Les Ecureuils
Chemin des Doux
04 5053 8311
open 1/4 - 30/9 45 sites 2 stars

>>Les Verneys
180 route des Tissieres
04 5053 1584
open 1/6 - 15/9 70 sites 2 stars

>> Le Grand Champ
04 5053 0483
open 1/5 - 10/10 100 sites 1 star

Useful information

Office du Tourisme de Chamonix - Phone +33 0450 530024

Office de la Haute Montagne de Chamonix - Phone +33 0450 532208

Compagnie du MontBlanc Cable-car informations Phone +33 0450 532275

Meteo

Meteo Chamonix

Guidebooks and maps

 "Monte Bianco" vol. 2 - Guida Vallot 

Map

3630 OT (Chamonix) - Institut Géographique National - 1:25000 

SP Links


For full info about Chamonix, see the Mont Blanc Group page on SP.