450m.

Rockfax Description
III, 450m, 3 - 4 hours. An excellent mid-grade alpine route which is a perfect place to check whether you are moving well enough to tackle some of the longer routes in Chamonix. None of the terrain is especially hard but equally, not much of it is walking. Being efficient with transitions and rope work is vital if you are to make good time. Plenty of climbers have underestimated this route - don't be one of them!
This line also serves as the best descent off the Moine but descending it is no pushover. There is a lot of terrain to cover and much of it quite exposed, so allow plenty of time and keep concentrating all the way down.
The route is vague and many variations are possible. Although this route description should be useful, route finding skill is vital. Should you find yourself slightly off route, just try to take the line of least resistance to the next clear landmark on the route.
Approach - From the Refuge du Couvercle, follow the high-level path back to the Montenvers train for 50m and then cut right up to the foot of the tiny glacier/snow patch at the foot of the south face. This takes 20 minutes from the hut.
1) 3b. Cross the bergschrund and climb up 50m of glacier-polished slabs and runnels to reach a long ledge system leading out left. This is where the South Ridge Classique goes up leftwards. Go to the right end of the ledge system (3b) to a bolt belay (used as an abseil anchor on the descent) and climb the chimney above this.
2) Continue on moderate ground, much of it walking, some of it easy scrambling, up the gully at the foot of the face until cairns and the terrain lead you out left and through a gap to another, even wider gully.
3) 4b. Climb well-worn slabs and steps up the right-hand side of the gully to a typically difficult Chamonix chimney, graded 3c in the old guides and 4b by us. In reality, if you're good at chimneys it is easy; if not, it will feel desperate.
4) Above the chimney, follow a ledge system up and left to another short corner (slightly easier than the lower one) to reach some exposed ledges overlooking the wide gully.
5) Zigzag left up ledges and short steps to reach a final steep wall beneath the summit. Go around this to the right and clamber onto the top.
Descent - Descend the south face. Most of the descent is exposed downclimbing and requires concentration. It is possible to abseil virtually all of the technical sections using fixed anchors (some of which might require backing up). The ability to keep up a good pace while downclimbing safely and making the transition between abseiling, soloing and moving together on the way down is the key to getting off the peak efficiently. All of the abseils are shorter than 25m so a single 50m rope is sufficient for any of these routes. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
The normal route, one of the most popular in the range and highly suitable for novice alpinists. Surprisingly the face is rather featureless, the climbing straightforward and not particularly interesting. The route is quite short and an early start is unnecessary. 3 and a half hr from hut

Ticklists

Rosie's Broken Alpine Dreaming

Feedback

UserDateNotes
Webster 17 Sep Show βeta
βeta: dont follow the rockfax topo or description up (or down) the choss gully (section 2), instead follow the cairns and footprints on the easy zig-zag footpath to the climbers right (on the way up). much safer!
βeta?
Show beta
βeta: dont follow the rockfax topo or description up (or down) the choss gully (section 2), instead follow the cairns and footprints on the easy zig-zag footpath to the climbers right (on the way up). much safer!
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Logged Ascents

User Date Style Notes & Partners
Webster 17 Sep Solo in descent after the south 'ridge' route (which is only on the ridge for about 25m!).
in descent after the south 'ridge' route (which is only on the ridge for about 25m!).
Hidden 22 Aug Lead
Hidden 14 Jul AltLd O/S
chrishunt55 5 Jul AltLd O/S Quite the epic. Got to the start of the route at 7.30, got back around 21.30. Route finding is a nightmare. Rockfax topo is definitely incorrect. look for the topo in the refuge before hand. There are cairns essentially marking the whole route, just got to find them. Despite the difficulties route finding, we has an awesome time. Also on the route were Tim and lu, two lovely older brits. They certainly helped with route finding. By far the longest route we have climbed so far, not sure I belive the guide book 450m.
Quite the epic. Got to the start of the route at 7.30, got back around 21.30. Route finding is a nightmare. Rockfax topo is definitely incorrect. look for the topo in the refuge before hand. There are cairns essentially marking the whole route, just got to find them. Despite the difficulties route finding, we has an awesome time. Also on the route were Tim and lu, two lovely older brits. They certainly helped with route finding. By far the longest route we have climbed so far, not sure I belive the guide book 450m.
Conor McNamara ?Jul AltLd O/S Did it with Owen, fun day, though I shattered my nalgene, which was as sad as it was disappointing
Did it with Owen, fun day, though I shattered my nalgene, which was as sad as it was disappointing
Hidden 29 Jun AltLd dnf
Hawb 28 Jun AltLd
with Ben
with Ben
David Horwood 21 Sep, 2018 -
swoodcock 11 Sep, 2018 2nd
with seb desrieux
with seb desrieux
7toes 3 Sep, 2018 AltLd
with Oli K
with Oli K
oliverk 3 Sep, 2018 AltLd O/S Took about 5h from bergschrund to summit, descent was a bit faster, about 3 and a half hours. Used boots on way up and rock shoes on way down. Felt slightly faster in rock shoes. Lost about 45mins on way up due to route finding
with Justin
Took about 5h from bergschrund to summit, descent was a bit faster, about 3 and a half hours. Used boots on way up and rock shoes on way down. Felt slightly faster in rock shoes. Lost about 45mins on way up due to route finding
with Justin
Hidden 19 Jul, 2018 Solo O/S
Dom Goodwin 19 Jul, 2018 - Think I agree with 4b, a better description than 3c anyway. Seriously polished in places. Nearer to AD than PD. Took a long time, though admittedly in a tired state, with serious lack of sleep plus tiredness from previous recent excursions not helping, but still think the guidebook time is really pushing it. Route finding is problematic with possible lines all over the place.
with Pekka
Think I agree with 4b, a better description than 3c anyway. Seriously polished in places. Nearer to AD than PD. Took a long time, though admittedly in a tired state, with serious lack of sleep plus tiredness from previous recent excursions not helping, but still think the guidebook time is really pushing it. Route finding is problematic with possible lines all over the place.
with Pekka
steve_gibbs 27 Jun, 2018 AltLd rpt
with Theo Hayne
with Theo Hayne
nickb1 25 Jun, 2018 AltLd O/S Cracking view from the summit
Cracking view from the summit
QuentinSu ?Jun, 2018 Lead O/S
monkeyme2 7 Sep, 2017 AltLd dnf
with Phil Children
with Phil Children
Hidden 29 Aug, 2017 -
Hidden 29 Aug, 2017 AltLd O/S
Hidden 29 Aug, 2017 AltLd O/S
janegallwey 23 Aug, 2017 AltLd dnf Rockfall while simuling in gully, cracked helmet, got the hell out of there.
Rockfall while simuling in gully, cracked helmet, got the hell out of there.
steve_gibbs 28 Jul, 2017 AltLd dnf
Hidden 22 Jul, 2017 AltLd O/S
Hidden 14 Jul, 2017 AltLd
Rob Exile Ward 7 Jul, 2017 AltLd Great day; started slowly and with some inevitable route finding issues, took our time. Actually enjoyed the descent! And even the walk down, stopping for a crafty beer at the Buvette de Mottets. Top tip: rope up for the Couvercle ladders. It will turn a frightening full body pump into a pleasurable VF experience!
with George
Great day; started slowly and with some inevitable route finding issues, took our time. Actually enjoyed the descent! And even the walk down, stopping for a crafty beer at the Buvette de Mottets. Top tip: rope up for the Couvercle ladders. It will turn a frightening full body pump into a pleasurable VF experience!
with George
JFT 22 Jun, 2017 AltLd dnf Mini epic... Got off route and found ourselves in a fairly nasty gully that was chossy and wet. Rockfall resulting in a smashed helmet made us decide to bail. With Iain and Jud
Mini epic... Got off route and found ourselves in a fairly nasty gully that was chossy and wet. Rockfall resulting in a smashed helmet made us decide to bail. With Iain and Jud
DigitalSteak 18 Jun, 2017 Lead O/S
Climbingspike ??, 2017 -
BobHoliday 24 Aug, 2016 - Walked in from Montenvers with all food and water needed for 3 days, 2 nights. Turns out Couvercle takes visa, sells beer, and has a tap with potable eau! Being pack horses up the ladders was probably good for us though. Made the summit from the schrund in 4 hours. Beat a guide and client! Moved together almost the whole way. Climbing much better than expected. Highly enjoyable. Summit stunning. Descent took longer than ascent. Schrund a little awkward but manageable. Leave your crampons/axes at the top of the first pitch, not at the bottom, because the best ab station is not above the most obvious first pitch, potentially necessitating a teeter along the schrund in your rock boots!
with WillyB
Walked in from Montenvers with all food and water needed for 3 days, 2 nights. Turns out Couvercle takes visa, sells beer, and has a tap with potable eau! Being pack horses up the ladders was probably good for us though. Made the summit from the schrund in 4 hours. Beat a guide and client! Moved together almost the whole way. Climbing much better than expected. Highly enjoyable. Summit stunning. Descent took longer than ascent. Schrund a little awkward but manageable. Leave your crampons/axes at the top of the first pitch, not at the bottom, because the best ab station is not above the most obvious first pitch, potentially necessitating a teeter along the schrund in your rock boots!
with WillyB
Hidden 6 Aug, 2016 -
Joe Andrews 30 Jul, 2016 AltLd O/S
with hairy51
with hairy51
hairy51 30 Jul, 2016 AltLd O/S Bloody long and easy to get lost, but a great day out never the less!
Bloody long and easy to get lost, but a great day out never the less!
JezzaCat 29 Jul, 2016 Lead
Stella Baylis 29 Jul, 2016 2nd
Mike Roger ??, 2016 -
Tim Sparrow 13 Aug, 2015 - In descent. 3 abs near base. Axe dropped into schrund but retrieved!
with Geoff Thomas
In descent. 3 abs near base. Axe dropped into schrund but retrieved!
with Geoff Thomas
Hidden 12 Aug, 2015 AltLd
Rob84 12 Aug, 2015 Lead O/S In descent. Much longer and more tedious than expected - the route takes you all over the mountain it seemed. Possibly easier if you came up the route and knew roughly where it went.
with mel_1
In descent. Much longer and more tedious than expected - the route takes you all over the mountain it seemed. Possibly easier if you came up the route and knew roughly where it went.
with mel_1
adam088 7 Aug, 2015 AltLd O/S
with Steven Gibbons
with Steven Gibbons
Webster ?Aug, 2015 AltLd dnf backed off about a third of the way up due to moving too slowely
backed off about a third of the way up due to moving too slowely
Mark Salter 10 Jul, 2015 AltLd In descent
with Chris Shorrock
In descent
with Chris Shorrock
derryclimbs 4 Jul, 2015 - in descent. following cairns
in descent. following cairns
Hidden 22 Aug, 2014 2nd dnf
Hidden 18 Aug, 2014 -
JackM92 17 Aug, 2014 Solo
Hidden 25 Jul, 2014 AltLd
Richard Alderton 3 Jul, 2014 AltLd dnf
EllieWoods 3 Jul, 2014 AltLd dnf
Hidden 1 Oct, 2013 -
Hidden 1 Aug, 2013 AltLd O/S
Harry Ellis 7 Jul, 2013 AltLd dnf turned back as mistakes were adding up to a frying
with Chris Cox
turned back as mistakes were adding up to a frying
with Chris Cox
Jim Brownlow 15 Aug, 2012 AltLd In descent
with Nigel Edley, Iain Mount
In descent
with Nigel Edley, Iain Mount
Hidden ?Jul, 2012 AltLd O/S
Ben Briggs 29 Feb, 2012 Solo O/S 4th ski descent of the route.
with Luca
4th ski descent of the route.
with Luca
Hidden 23 Aug, 2011 AltLd O/S
Binder 23 Aug, 2011 AltLd O/S Descent after climbing South Ridge
with Chris L
Descent after climbing South Ridge
with Chris L
NB Pixel 23 Aug, 2011 AltLd O/S Descent only
Descent only
Teappleby ?Aug, 2011 AltLd dnf
with Sarah, dad
with Sarah, dad
Roberttaylor ?Aug, 2011 AltLd O/S Simul climbed pretty much everything, were within 10 mins of guidebook time for route and descent. Climbed after an abortive attempt at the East face.
with Muir
Simul climbed pretty much everything, were within 10 mins of guidebook time for route and descent. Climbed after an abortive attempt at the East face.
with Muir
georgenvk 10 Jul, 2010 AltLd O/S AD-,tricky route finding,pitches f III.
with Pavel
AD-,tricky route finding,pitches f III.
with Pavel
mark-abz 14 Aug, 2009 Lead
with Alex
with Alex
davepc ?Aug, 2009 AltLd
with Mike
with Mike
SteveM 21 Jul, 2009 AltLd O/S
MoWalker3 16 Jul, 2009 -
with Quiet Ian
with Quiet Ian
rd20 19 Aug, 2008 AltLd dnf Difficulty finding route on this featureless mountain, particularly grade III chimney - headed up another much steeper one and had to downclimb. Weather started to come in so turned back 100m or so from summit - epic return journey!
Difficulty finding route on this featureless mountain, particularly grade III chimney - headed up another much steeper one and had to downclimb. Weather started to come in so turned back 100m or so from summit - epic return journey!
smolders 19 Aug, 2008 AltLd dnf Route finding difficult.
with rd20
Route finding difficult.
with rd20
Fabian001 17 Aug, 2008 2nd
david0811 3 Jul, 2008 - In descent
with Mark Reid
In descent
with Mark Reid
Peter Metcalfe 24 Sep, 2007 Solo
Hidden 3 Sep, 2006 AltLd
Rich Cross - Alpine Guides ?Jul, 2005 Lead
with Brian Metters
with Brian Metters
Hidden ?Jun, 2004 -
Antony Mariani ?Sep, 2003 AltLd O/S
with rlrs
with rlrs
rlrs ?Sep, 2003 AltLd dnf
innes ?Aug, 1999 Solo descent
with Jim
descent
with Jim
NickBrown ?Jul, 1999 AltLd O/S
tompercy ?Jul, 1996 - In descent
with Amos Preminger
In descent
with Amos Preminger
auld al ?Jul, 1995 -
Hidden 23 Aug, 1994 Lead
Small and weak ?Aug, 1993 Lead
with Steve Bryce
with Steve Bryce
Hidden ?Jul, 1991 -
PeteCheung ??, 1986 -
with Alan
with Alan
Bolt Phobia 9 Jul, 1975 AltLd Descent route
with Kit Spencer
Descent route
with Kit Spencer
Rob Davies ?Aug, 1974 Solo Descent after S Ridge. Skidded on patch of ice, but stopped after a few feet.
with Joseph Cullen (ICMC)
Descent after S Ridge. Skidded on patch of ice, but stopped after a few feet.
with Joseph Cullen (ICMC)
mikej ?Aug, 1968 Solo Descent after climbing the East Face.
with John Given, Ian Clayton, John Hamilton
Descent after climbing the East Face.
with John Given, Ian Clayton, John Hamilton
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Voting
High AD-
Mid AD-
Low AD-
High PD+
Mid PD+
Low PD+
High PD
Mid PD
Low PD
Votes cast 7
High 4c
Mid 4c
Low 4c
High 4b
Mid 4b
Low 4b
High 4a
Mid 4a
Low 4a
Votes cast 5
Style of Ascent
Alt Leads
Lead
Soloed
Followed
Not Set
Onsighted
DNF
Repeated
Not Set