II, 350m, 3 - 4 hours. Whether you get it quiet or busy, the situations and quality of the climbing make Arête des Cosmiques one of the great alpine challenges.Approach - Descend the Aiguille du Midi via the famous snow ridge before swinging around to the west and passing under the Midi South Face and the Éperon des Cosmiques. Turn north to reach the abandoned Cosmqiues Observatory and the Abri Simond Hut (which is locked whenever the Refuge des Cosmiques is open - mid-February to mid-October). The route begins from these ramshackle buildings.1) From the Cosmiques Observatory, just below the modern Refuge des Cosmiques, climb the vague gully just to the right of the crest of the ridge.2) When the ridge peters out, drift rightwards across slabby ground to reach an exposed snow traverse on the south side of the ridge to a small summit above the Éperon des Cosmiques. 3) Make an awkward 20m abseil from here, using a bolted anchor, to reach an exposed, flat snow ridge on the crest of the arête which leads to a chimney beneath a steep rock wall. 4) At the top of the chimney is another set of bolts, from which a 25m abseil takes you onto an ex§osed ledge on the south side of the ridge, underneath a steep, golden tower. 5) Continue along the ledge for 10m to reach a short, steep chimney on the left which is climbed on positive holds to reach a peg belay. Downclimb for 5m in the direction of the ridge crest before climbing up to reach the crest itself via a steep slope (much easier when snow covered). Climb up the ridge crest for 5m then traverse a vague ledge system along some interesting but easy terrain on the south side of the ridge, staying roughly 10m below the ridge top. Then descend slightly to a snow ledge underneath an imposing rock overhang. Follow the ledge under the overhang and up onto the ridge crest and follow this to the foot of a 20m high slab of golden granite - the crux pitch.6) 4c. Climb the slab itself (4c) for 8m (bolt at the top of this section and pre-drilled crampon pockets for the feet) before stepping right and climbing the easy chimney to reach a large ledge at the top of the slab. (This is the toughest section of climbing on the route and as such queues can form here. If you don't want to wait, you can drop onto the north side of the ridge just before the 20m slab and climb a very tight, squirmy chimney instead, which brings you out next to the top of the slab.) From here, cross onto the north side of the ridge via an awkward step down before traversing towards the cable car station for 30m to reach a steep chimney. There are slings to belay off and in mid-season there is often a collection of fixed gear. Either way, the belay stance is in a location which is of a kind normally only visited on much harder routes than this. 7) 4a. Take in the exposure before stepping up and into the chimney. The move to get into this is tricky (unless you know where the hidden hold is!) but the rest is enjoyable and exposed, with climbing roughly akin to Scottish II or 4a rock climbing depending on conditions. The chimney is 30m long, after which 10m of blocky steep scrambling brings you onto the crest of the ridge, just below the cable car station. 8) A short, final snow ridge leads to an old, wobbly ladder and finally, the viewing platform at the Aiguille du Midi where you can expect to be stared at by incredulous tourists. It's even been known for autographs to be signed by some climbers whose arrival at the lift station coincided with that of a group of particularly exuberant holiday makers! © Rockfax
UKC Logbook Description
Three stars for a modern classic, although most agree it is easier than the "AD" grade. From right above the Abri Simond Bivy Hut, follow the SW Ridge staying mainly on the south side. Snow and rock route, two 20 meters rappels back to back; the first a diagonal descent and the second a drop down a chimney. Towards the end of climb after the short wall with A0-type move possible, move around the large ledge towards the north face and climb the small gully to the ladder that leads to the viewing platform of the Midi Station.
Route finding can be quite tricky. 3 hours from Abri Simond area.
Description and Topo here: http://wp.me/p27yGx-ga
G and M Finch 29/Aug/1911.
Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif, CUMC Ticklist, ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50, Big Routes, Rosie's Broken Alpine Dreaming, The Ultimate SUMC Ticklist, Alpine Dreamz, Intro to Alpine
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