III, 15km there and back, 1 day. A wonderful journey through some huge mountain scenery. There is minimal technical difficulty but you need to be confident front pointing when tackling the short crux section below the Col du Mont Maudit. The main challenge is keeping going at altitude and moving fast enough to have plenty of time for the descent.
1) From the Refuge des Cosmiques, cross the Col du Midi plateau and climb the Mont Blanc du Tacul North Face (p.327). The route varies from year to year, often from month to month, but the line usually goes roughly from the bottom left of the face to the top right, reaching the northwest shoulder of Mont Blanc du Tacul in roughly 2 to 3 hours from the hut.
2) From the shoulder, continue towards the North Face of Mont Maudit, descending slightly before beginning to move up again beneath some seracs on the left of the face. The line taken varies depending on conditions, but the route is usually bottom left to top right once again. Just below the Col du Mont Maudit is the crux step, which is roughly 40m of 45 degree snow. There is often a fixed line attached to an anchor at the top of the step, and an intermediate anchor half way up the slope; both can be used as belays.
3) Having negotiated the crux step, traverse southwards to the Col de la Brenva. The climb from here to the top of Mont Blanc is longer than it looks, and not as enjoyable as the Bosses Ridge on the Goûter Route. However, the scenery makes up for any tedium in the climbing and the route finding is nonexistent (in good weather). Pass to the left of the Mur de la Côte rock step and then climb the snow slope above. Generally the terrain is low-angled (roughly 20 to 30 degrees) and straightforward.
4) The summit arrives suddenly and, after the long snow slope below, it is very welcome. The average ascent time is 5 to 7 hours from hut to summit. © Rockfax
UKC Logbook Description
Gaining in popularity over the Gouter Ridge route for ascending Mont Blanc.
From the Cosmiques Hut up the normal route to the shoulder of Mont Blanc du Tacul, cross the Col Maudit and up the steep snow slope to the Col du Mt. Maudit (helmet!). Go up the NW Ridge towards the summit of Mont Maudit and descend the SW Ridge. Up the slopes of Mur de la Cote and to the summit. 5-7 hours to the summit. Descend via same route or traverse Mont Blanc via the Gouter Route.
R.Head and J Grange, A Orset and J Perrod 13/Aug/1863.
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