Chapelle de la Gliere


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1 day

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The last few moves on the Chapelle

The Chamonix Valley is bounded on one side by the world-famous Mont Blanc Massif and on the other by the lesser known, but still popular Aiguille Rouges. This smaller chain of mountains gets its name from the red color of the rock, a featured schist which forms in countless sharp summits and towers.

Easy access via the Brévent and Flegere telepheriques, warmer, lower and often snow-free elevations and fun climbing make the Rouges a very popular climbing destination. Virtually everyone who comes to the to the Mont Blanc Massif to climb spends at least some fun time climbing these great routes.

The Chapelle de la Gliere is one of the longer climbs here and perhaps the best in the middle grades. The route basically follows a long ridge line, climbing over and around many towers, finally culminating with the "Chapel", a distinctive rock tower. The entire climb probably includes about 10 to 12 pitches, though some are quite short and there are some easier sections where we move together.

The climbing is varied and includes both crack and face climbing though most of the route is on steep face holds typical of much of the climbing in the Rouges.

The route begins with a ride up the Flegere lift system to the top of the Index lift, high above the Chamonix valley. After a short thirty minute approach, we switch to rock shoes and begin the climb proper. Starting out in a long corner-crack system, we soon gain the ridge which is followed for several pitches. About mid-way up the route we encounter the famous "razor" pitch, an exposed traverse on a sharp crest. The final pitch of the route is the "Chapel". Exposed face climbing leads to the tiny summit.

Chris starts the "Razor" pitch on the Gliere
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Climbing on the Chapelle with Chamonix below.


The Chapelle de la Gliere is a moderately long alpine rock climb. Under normal conditions there is no snow or ice encountered. The difficulty of the climbing is about 5.8 (French 5b) at its hardest and there are perhaps 10 or so pitches altogether.

This is a route for rock climbers who are comfortable following rock at this standard. The climb is not particularly long and normal takes about 4 to 5 hours from the top of the Index lift to the summit of the Chapelle. Another 45 minutes or so are need for the return to the Index lift.


Climbers need to be moderately skilled in rock climbing with rock shoes. They need to know how to belay and rappel.


The Chapelle is normally done as a day climb from the valley. Generally it takes the entire day, though very fast parties with an early start may be able to also do one of the other similar routes near the Index, for example Mani Pulitti or the Nez Rouge.

The Aiguille Rouges
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Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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