Rockfax Description
III, 700m, 4 - 5 hours. A legendary route up the mountaineers' mountain - this is as good a snow climb as you will find anywhere. It is also possible to climb the main couloir in good conditions. Judging the best line to take is part of the seriousness of this route.
Approach - Approach by crossing the Glacier de Talèfre. Follow a vague cairned path northeast from the Refuge du Couvercle to the foot of the Aiguille du Moine's southeast ridge and go from here onto the glacier and head directly for the route. The glacier can be heavily crevassed so good route finding skills are required.1) Cross the bergschrund, which is usually easiest on the right, and climb a secondary snow gully to the right of the main couloir to reach a rock spur.
2) Climb this (Scottish II) and move left onto 50 degree snow/mixed ground, still to the right of the main couloir.
3) Head up the snow/mixed ground to where it begins to steepen considerably. At this point a snow ramp leads left into the main couloir.
4) Climb the remainder of the main couloir, which steepens to 55 degrees near the top, to emerge just below the Col de la Grande Rocheuse (4051m).
5) Follow the stunning snow ridge to the summit of the Verte. In good conditions this is a wonderful part of the climb, but in bad conditions it will feel scary and exposed.
Descent - Either downclimb the Moine Ridge or abseil the Whymper using fixed anchors on the left side (when facing down) of the couloir. Descending the Whymper is only really feasible in spring or early summer - the rockfall danger is too high in the height of summer. If descending the Moine Ridge follow the ascent route, mainly by downclimbing. Generally a few 25m abseils are required (including two on the ridge crest around section 4 of our description) but the length of the terrain means that downclimbing is the only way of descending quickly. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
It is on the Verte that you become a mountaineer. The Whymper Couloir is a fine snow route, direct and elegant. The central part of the couloir is in fact steep and formidable, the upper part being perhaps wider but its average angle (47° between 3700 and 3950m) is 55° from 3950 to 4051m at the Col de Rocheuse. Gaston Rebuffat

E. Whymper with Ch. Almer and F. Biner 29/Jun/1865.


Rebuffat's 100 Finest Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, Batoux's 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc massif, ROCKFAX Chamonix: Top 50, Big Routes, Alpine Dreamz, Alpine Progression


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Route of Interest

Royal Traverse

Grade: AD+ 2 ***
(Mont Blanc)
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