UKH

A rarely climbed but excellent, sustained route just to the right of the classic Contamine. Apart from one small section, it’s only slightly harder than the Contamine and almost as good. In the interest of encouraging more people to have a go at the route, below is a detailed pitch-by-pitch description. Picture topos can be found in Piola’s Le Mont Blanc and Alpine Club guidebooks (neither are great).

Note that the first two pitches described are likely a slight variation on the original route, blending elements of Ras Bord, Le Macroscope and ground that is covered in neither of these. Nevertheless, they’re both excellent and fit logically with the route.

P1 – 40m, 6a+ – Start in a right-facing corner lined with a thin crack at the back that is situated about 15 metres to the right of the Contamine. On exiting the corner move right to a spike (slings often around this, visible from the ground). From the spike, step out left onto a slab (bolt). Climb the slab using parallel cracks until you reach a small overhang which you surmount on the left. Continue up a corner crack to a good belay

P2 – 40m, 6a+ – Move right and tackle the obvious corner. Power through the overhang and continue up a great finger crack until it peters out. Move leftwards along a slab to join a large ledge in common with the Contamine and Harold et Maud routes

P3 – 50m, 6b+ (6a+ A0) – Climb easier ground up and right, moving towards the arête. Reach a small ledge (optional belay). Look up at the piton several metres out of reach and wish there were some gear you could place before it. Make difficult slab moves towards the piton (6a+/b, no gear to prevent hitting the ledge in a fall) and breathe a sigh of relief as you clip the piton. Make a desperate slab move left, the crux of the route, which goes at around 6b+ (Piola says 6c+…). Those not wanting to risk falling on the piton may consider gingerly pulling on it, bringing the difficulty down to around 6a+. Continue up a flared crack until you can move back right onto the arête. Easy climbing in a great position leads to a small ledge in common with the Contamine route

P4 – 30m, 4b – Climb a wide crack on the edge of the arête to a good ledge (pitch in common with the Contamine route). Move to the back of the ledge and into the shade to make a belay above a jammed block

P5 – 45m, 6a+ – Climb the corner crack system on the right of the spur, taking the line of weakness. Continue up the obvious diedre ahead to a good belay at the top. Brilliant pitch though take care with loose rock in the first half. Optional belay after 25m

P6 – 50m, 4b – Continue up cracks near the crest of the spur and just to the right of the Contamine route

P7 – 60m, 5a – Continue up the crest, following the obvious line of weakness to the summit

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Route of Interest

Le Ticket, le Carré, le Rond et la Lune

Grade: TD+ 6b ***
(Aiguille du Peigne)
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