|Aiguille d'Entrèves Traverse|
The Aiguille d'Entrèves is one of the many fine summits along the Franco/Italian border. The traverse offers a fun route on exposed rock, never extreme but always interesting. The views of the Tour Ronde, the south side of Mont Blanc du Tacul and the Brenva face on Mont Blanc are exceptional.
This climb can either be started from the top of the Aiguille du Midi, reached by cable car from Chamonix, or from the Torino hut. If you choose to start from the Aiguille du Midi, we would do most of the Vallée Blanche Traverse to get to the base of the peak, then finish with an easy ascent to Point Helbronner and a ride back across to the Midi on the Panoramique lift. It is a great day's outing.
We prefer to do the traverse in a west to east sense, as we think this gives the best climbing, and is most logical. From the Col d'Entrèves just west of the peak, we climb easy rock to where the ridge levels. Here, the crest narrows and we have to negotiate a gap or two. The most interesting climbing is just before the summit, however, where a few easy but very exposed belayed pitches, lead the tiny summit blocks. Descent down the east ridge is mostly easy, but starts with some belayed downclimbing before easing as we get lower. finally we drop down on the glacier and have easy walking back to the lift.
This is a moderately long day, made so by the longer approach to the peak (which keeps crowds down as well). Once on the ridge the route is generally all rock. There are a few very short harder moves, but mostly the climbing is easy. It is quite exposed, however, and climbers need a good head for heights.
Climbers should be fit and have a head for heights. Previous experience in crampons is helpful, but glacier travel experience is not necessary. A good level of fitness is required.
There are two huts nearby, the Refuge des Cosmiques near the Aiguille du Midi, and the Refugio Torino near Point Helbronner. By staying in one of these huts, you can do additional climbs, using the huts as a base. From the Torino hut the Tour Ronde or Rochefort Arête are good, and from the Cosmiques, the Northwest face of Mont Blanc du Tacul, and the Arête des Cosmiques are recommended.
|Approaching the Aiguille d'Entrèves|
Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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