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Coming up the pitch 1 book August 2013
This route can be done in as many as seven pitches or as few as four. It faces east and gets morning sun. While not as majestic as the Mont Blanc region directly across the valley, this cliff offers one of the few gear-protected routes in the area and allows for outstanding views of the Alps.
The traditional first pitch (which we skipped) almost seems like a separate single pitch route due to a long section of 3rd class above it which can be hiked. This first pitch is bolted and goes at 6b (10c).
Above this, hike up a steep slope to the left-facing dihedral just right of a black water streak. The slope contains a lot of loose scree, so move with care.
P2: Stem, face climb, and occasionally jam up the corner to a mostly-hanging bolted belay. The corner climbs better than it looks and is well protected with gear. Rated 6a+ (10b) but seemed more like 5.9.
P3: Thin and committing smearing and edging continues up the dihedral. The crux comes right off the belay, eases slightly in the middle, and throws a last hard move near the end. Sustained 6b (10c). Well protected with lots of small gear. Bolted belay on a nice ledge.
P4: A physical liebacking start eases into steep but short 5.8 climbing to finish off the long corner to a massive ledge. Walk back 30-40 feet to a bolted belay. 6a+ (10b)
From here you have three finishing options: Ex Libris continues to the far left (move belay) via two more pitches. We didn't do these since they apparently have some loose rock and the quality degrades in general. Straight above the belay is a bolted 12- pitch. Or you can move the belay to the far right and finish on the Voie Frison-Roche's last pitch, a bolted crack rated 5.9 which is good quality and solid rock (this was our choice).
Take the cable cars from Chamonix up to the top of Brevent (there are two: first to Planpraz and second to Brevent). If you don't pay for the cars, it is approximately a 1500 m (5000') hike to the start. Once at the peak, pass the beer and snack shack behind the platform and hike down the wide trail on its left. Follow this around until you can swing right and cross a broad, flat dirt area and drop down the east-facing hillside which soon skirts the cliffs (same approach as for Voie Frison-Roche). Pass Frison-Roche. If you wish to climb p1, continue into the drainage to access the small cliff face further down. Otherwise, cross the very base of F-R and start climbing up the loose, steep slope around a corner. Aim for the black water streak and you will arrive in the dihedral.
This route can also be viewed during the cable car ride. Look for the long dihedral just right of the black water streak at about 1 or 2 o'clock as you near the top of Brevent.
You top out the route on the peak of Brevent and it is an easy walk back to the platform. Don't miss the last car (time varies by season).
For the most part, a standard rack will do with a full set of nuts (especially small) and doubles mandatory in very small cams. We also had a #4 and this was useful on p2 for the wide crack section. We had singles of #2-3. Also, I believe we did not need more than a single #1.
While this route can be climbed with a 60 m rope, if you need to bail due to weather it is possible only a 70 m may reach. We used double 60 m ropes. Rappelling the route is easy to do if necessary.
In early season, boots and crampons are necessary for the approach.