Tour Ronde North face
The Tour Ronde 3792 m is a snow-capped mountain located on the Italy-France border in the Mont Blanc massif. The summit offers a truly magnificent panorama on the majestic peaks in the surroundings, as the Monte Bianco with the Brenva wall, Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc du Tacul, the granite peak overlooking the Valleé Blanche, the Dent du Geant with Rochefort and the Grandes Jorasses and many others.
It is a very popular peak along the Normal route and the ice climbs, in reason of its highly panoramic position and speed of access. The routes can be climbed starting early in the morning from Courmayeur with the first ascent of the Entrèves - La Palud cable car, but the overnight stay at the Refuge Torino is recommended for optimal acclimatization
The Tour Ronde is conveniently reachable from Courmayeur on the italian side of the massif. For a correct acclimatization is advisable to stay overnight at the shelter, the Rifugio Torino. Also possible climb this route starting from the Refuge des Cosmiques on the French side, but it involves a far more longer approach.
Getting to Courmayeur
- From Turin and Milan: follow the A5-E25 Motorway and exit Courmayeur, reaching the hamlet of La Palud m. 1370 - From France: through the Tunnel of Monte Bianco - From Switzerland: through the Great St.Bernard Tunnel or the Great St.Bernard Col or via Chamonix and Tunnel of Monte Bianco
From Courmayeur to Rifugio Torino
From Entrèves - La Palud take the cable-car leading directly to Rifugio Torino (exit second station, the first one is the middle Pavillion station, the third one is Punta Helbronner). Info: Funivie del Monte Bianco
From the Rifugio Torino head NW towards the impressive Glacier du Gèant crossing the Col des Flambeaux 3407 m. From here you descend following an obvious track passing under the Col de Toule and always traversing in the W direction to the mouth of the Combe Maudit located just below the North Wall, characterized by a wide end crevasse.
Generally the track is very obvious, be careful, after the Col des Flambeux, not to head in the S direction towards the Col d'Entrèves 3517 m where it starts the Normal route.
The North Face classic route (Gonella-Berthod) runs in the middle of the wall and it's about 400 m high (10 to 12 pitches) with ice continuously up to 60° with an average of 52°. In the middle the face narrows to an icy couloir and then opens again for the upper slopes. It is here that it steepens up to 60°. It is best to stay at the right side close to the rocks to get good belays. The summit (Statue of the Madonna with the summit book) can be gained by climbing directly to the top (on rock, IV, 30 m) or going left of the rocks and joining the Normal route on the South-East ridge.
The wall can be divided into three different and easily identifiable sections:
Part I - After the bergschrund (one of the most difficult stretches of the climb), climb for about 120 meters with a slope of about 50 °, heading towards the base of the gully clearly visible on the right. It is possible to protect yourself by using spikes with lanyards on the right of the ascent line;
Part II - the Canalino. At the entrance to the bottleneck there is a stop beyond which there is often live ice for about 150 meters with a slope of about 60 ° and mixed sections.
Part III - You are exactly on the vertical of the crest where the Gervasutti Canal ends, climb up the uniform slope, without moving too much to the right or to the left, for about 150 meters with a slope of 55°.
Other routes on the North-Face are:
1- Voie Buscaini D (II) Length: 350 m - First ascent: Gino Buscaini, 19.8.1959
2- Crampon Futé D (II) Length: 350 m
3- Gabarrou-Ponti W2, 70° Length: 350 m - First ascent: Patrick Gabarrou and René Ponti 25.6.1978
4- Couloir Decors-Perroux II, 2 Length: 350 m - First ascent: P. Decorps and G. Perroux, 1.12.1978
Descent: the descent along the Normal route on the South-East ridge is rather long. See here the report on SP: South-East Ridge (normal route) Easier and faster, there are other two possibilities: the descent on the adjacent East slope or the descent on the steep but short gully that descends from the Col Freshfield (see up the topo). Both are generally to be preferred if in good condition (only with low temperatures and good snow), otherwise it is better to follow the Normal route on the ridge
Crampons, 2 ice axes, rope,several ice-screws and other safety equipement
No fees and no permit required
- Rifugio Torino m. 3375 – C.A.I. Sez. di Torino
Several comfortable camping places in Val Veny and Val Ferret
The best season is spring and early summer.
"La chaine du Mont Blanc" Guide Vallot n. 1 route n 125
"Neige, glace et mixte Le topo du massif du Mont-Blanc: Tome 2, De l'Envers des Aiguilles au bassin de Tré-la-Tête", François Damilano, JM Editions, 2006
"Mont Blanc Massif" vol I - Griffin Lindsay, Alpine Club 1996 ISBN: 0-900523-57-3
- Maps - Meridiani Montagne “ Monte Bianco” map 1:30.000 - Swiss Topo 292 Courmayeur