Portalet, Petit Clocher/Clock Tower

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Valais, Switzerland, Europe
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Portalet, Petit Clocher/Clock Tower
Created On: Aug 13, 2005
Last Edited On: Oct 14, 2005


Portalet clock tower : the Yosemite of the Alps !

The clock tower of Portalet is a fatastic granite castle : the SE face is a 600 meters high wall, with 300 meters absolute verticality. Many nice and modern climbing routes have been opened through this wall.
The rock is dreamy good but the climb, most on athletic cracks is very difficult.
Portalet is on the ridge coming from Grande Fourche and is located eastern as Aiguilles Dorées. This ridge is between two magnificient glacier streams : Orny glacier in the north and Saleina glacier in the south.
The principal summit of Portalet is ruined and neglected today (permanent danger of rockfall) in aid of the clock tower.

Getting There

Start point is Orsières.

Access to Orsières :

By Air:
Geneva intercontinental airport, then fast train from Geneva to Martigny and from Martigny to Orsières by the St Bernard-Express.
Alternatively, Zürich intercontinental airport to Sion airport. Then fast train from Sion to Martigny and from Martigny to Orsières by the St. Bernard-Express.

By Car:
Geneva-Orsières, 150 km.
Motorway to Martigny-Croix including the Martigny tunnel by-pass
Main road towards the Grand-St-Bernard as far as Orsières.

By Train:
TGV Paris-Lausanne or Paris-Geneva.
Simplon line to Martigny, then Martigny to Orsières by the St. Bernard-Express.

From Orsières its easy to get to Champex or Praz de Fort, start points to the huts Orny or Saleina.

Red Tape

No red tape

Routes Overview

S and E faces
1 Normal route
M. Crettex, E. Revaz, 1897.
AD+, 250 m., 3/A0.

2 Le Monolithe
M. Cretton, P. Cretton, 1959.
AD, 60 m., 4+.

3 Voie 1902
E. Crettex, O. Crettex, L. Monod, 1902.
D+, 150 m., 5.

3a Rendez-vous avec la lune
6 length, 200 m., 6c, 6b obligatory.
5+, 6c, 6b, 6a+, 6c, 6a+.

4 Il a sonné douze
P. Gravante, L. Monnet, M. Piola, 1990, 5 length.
ABO-, 200 m., 7a+, 6c obligatory.
6b, 6c, 7a, 6c, 7a+.

5 Orny soit qui mal y pense
J.-L. Amstutz, R. Vogler, 1990, 6 length.
ED+, 200m., 6c+, 6a obligatory.
6b, 6c+, 6c (1 pas), 6b+, 6b, 6a+.

6 Ainsi soit-il...
L. Monnet, M. Piola, 1990.
ABO, 45 m., 7b, 7a obligatory.

7 Le chic, le chèque... le choc : the most famous route.
C. Rémy, Y. Rémy, 1986, 7 length
ED, 200 m., 6c, 6a obligatory.
5+, 6a, 6c, 6c, 6b, 6c, 4+.

8 Arête sud-est
M. Rey, C. Vouilloz, 1961.
ED-, 200 m., 6b+.

9 Voie du Dièdre
R. Buémi, 1984.
ED+, 6c.

10 Salaire de rien
L. Abbet, P.-A. Hiroz, 1988.
ED+, 70 m., 6c+.

11 Ca vaut rien
O. Roduit, R. Vogler, 1990
ED-, 45 m., 6b+, 6b obligatory.

12 L'esprit de clocher
P.-A. Hiroz, L. Abbet, 1988.
ED+, 140 m., 7a.

13 Sortie directe
S. Jones, P. Littlejohn
No infos.

14 Voie des cheminées
I. Gambioni, M. Vaucher, 1958.
ED, 250 m., 6b/A2.

N and E faces
15 Choco-olique
O. Roduit, R. Vogler, 1990.
ED, 50 m., 6c, 6b obligatory.

16 Etat de choc
C. Rémy, Y. Rémy, 1983.
ED, 250 m., 1983.

17 Voie diagonale
D. Bertholet, H. Cretton, 1959.
ED, 130 m., 5/A2.

18 Variante
G. Scherrer, P. Steulet, 1989.
ABO, 35 m., 7c.

19 La fête des nerfs
L. Abbet, F. Roduit, 1983.
ABO-, 180 m., 7a+.

20 Voie Darbellay
L. Abbet, P. Steulet, 1988.
ABO+, 250 m., 8a.

21 Les pique-niqueurs
L. Abbet, P.-A. Hiroz, 1985.
ABO-, 100 m., 7a/A1, TA.

22 NW face
M. Besse, M. Cretton, P. Cretton, P. Poggio, 1956.
TD+, 140 m.,

When To Climb

From June to October


- ORNY HUT 2826 m

Tel: +41 27 783 1887

Access from Champex by the Breya chairlift: 2 1/2 hours
or from Orsières via Som-la-Proz & Combe d'Orny: 5 1/2 hours
or from Praz-de-Fort via the valley of Arpette de Saleina: 5 1/2 hours

Co-ordinates: 570.880/94.540

- SALEINA HUT 2691 m

Number of places: 48
Tel: +41 27 783 1700

Access from Praz-de-Fort & Monnay (Chains): 4 1/2 hours

Co-ordinates: 571.450/91.710


Swiss National Maps:
1:25'000 : 1345 Orsières
1:50'000 : 282 Martigny


Entremont Escalades
Text in French
305 illustrated pages
Edition : 2005
ISBN : 2-8399-0031-9
Author : Olivier Roduit

To buy this book :
Olivier RODUIT, Mountain-Guide and Ski-Instructor CH-1936 Verbier
Tel+Fax : +41 27 771 53 17
Mobile : +41 79 206 97 90