|Pyramide du Tacul, East Arête|
At the foot of the Tacul's giant and complex East Face is the Pyramid du Tacul, an isolated summit. The East Ridge gives a superb 8 pitch rock climb on solid granite at a difficulty of about 5.7, in spectacular surroundings.
The climbing is quite varied, and includes cracks as well as clean face climbing on small holds in its upper pitches.
The route is rappelled, so boots, crampons, ice axes and packs can be left at the base for more enjoyable climbing. For intermediate rock climbers comfortable following 5.7.
For faster climbers, we can do this route in one long day from Chamonix. However, we often combine it with other climbs in the area, using either the Cosmiques hut, or the Torino hut a base.
After leaving the glacier (occasionally interesting with a bit of ice climbing at the edge) he route begins with a long traverse right to gain the very crest of the arête. Several pitches of cracks and corners lead to the crux pitch of the route a series of leaning corners, which avoids an overhang. After this is passed, a fine crack pitch leads up and around a corner to the upper slabs. Face climbing, followed by large cracks takes us to the very pointed summit.
|The descent of the Pyramide|
This route is a technical rock climb set high above the glacier. Though the approach is on snow and ice, with a short tricky bit just before the rock, the main difficulties are on rock.
There is considerable crack climbing though the difficulty is usually in the 5.4 to 5.6 range. The most difficult pitch is about 5.7.
This is not a strenuous climb as the climbing is not overly steep. But there are over 8 pitches of climbing and, if we are doing the route in one day return from Chamonix, we need to keep to a reasonably pace to complete the route and make the las lift back into town. However, if we plan to stay in a hut, or if we can get an early start from the hut prior to our climb, we'll have more time.
Basic snow climbing is needed for the glacier approach. For the rock, climbers should be comfortable following mid-fifth class rock in rock shoes, and have experience with multi-pitch rappelling.
There are many very fine climbs in the area to chose from. Recommended are the Arête des Cosmiques, The Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entrèves, the Midi-Plan Traverse and the Dent du Géant. All of these can combine with the Pyramide, staying in either the Cosmiques hut or the Torino hut for the nights.
|Climbing on the Pyramide du Tacul|
Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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