The traverse begins at the Albert Premier Refuge and leaves the traditional approach at the Signal Reilly and gains two consecutive cols around the north side of the Aiguille du Pissoir. Because this route is not often visited, you may be lucky to have the north side to yourself, something that will further add to the wilderness feel of the surroundings. High mountain views around the north and east sides are excellent.
Start at the village of Le Tour (1462 m). One can take a trail up to the Refuge Albert Premier (2702 m) or get mechanical assistance by way of the Charamillon and Col de Balme chairlifts. From the top of the second chairlift (2180 m) take the obvious trail heading around the hillside south around the Lac de Charamillon. After rounding a bend, follow the moraine path up to the Refuge Albert Premier, sitting on the hill above the glacier. 2 to 4 hrs, depending on whether lifts are used.
Grade II / Facile. Glacier travel on slopes up to 40° with some easy rock scrambling. Descending the southerly route in late season may be difficult due to the bergschrund.
Ascent: From Albert Premier Refuge (2702 m) to the Aiguille du Tour summit (3542 m) expect 3 to 4 hours. Descent: 2 hours.
From the Albert Premier Refuge, follow cairns east over boulders or snow to the Tour Glacier (20 minutes from the hut). Continue ascending east passing around the north side of the Signal Reilly (2883 m). From here, ascend the glacier north-east passing by the West Ridge of the Aiguille du Tour. Gain the Col du Midi des Grands (3235 m) by climbing the slope of scree or snow. From the Col du Midi des Grands, traverse along a left-leaning slope east to reach the second col connecting the Aiguille du Pissoir and the Pissoir. Continue south from here along the Trient plateau, passing next to the Aiguille du Pissoir and the North Summit of the Aiguille du Tour to join the Normal Route to the South Peak. 2 to 3 hours from the hut.
From the base of the South Peak of the Aiguille du Tour, cross the bergschrund and ascend one of the three summit block variations. Most parites opt for the diagonally sloping ledge for easy scrambling. The other variations include a short gulley between the south and north peaks followed by the ridge crest or directly up the south ridge (moves of 3b, steep and exposed but with good holds).
From the bergschrund, head southeast and then south, passing by the Aiguille Purtscheller (3289 m) and descending to the Col Superieur du Tour (3289 m). Cross the col and continue going west, descending to the Signal Reilly and back to the refuge. 2 hours from the summit.
Crampons, ice axe, rope (50 meters may be needed for the bergschrund), one or two ice screws, two or three slings and a few carabiners.
Refuge Albert Premier
Domaine de Balme: Le Tour - Charamillon - Col de Balme
French Geographic Institute (IGN
) 1:25,000 map Number 3630 OT "Chamonix massif du Mont Blanc"
Office de Haute Montagne
Time to Go
This route can be done in spring, early summer or even in winter on skis.