Tour des Gémeaux
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BETA PHOTO: La Tour des Gémeaux
A classic route up beautiful rock. Neat features. A variety of fine climbing, from face, to overhangs, stemming, cracks.
After the standard voie normal route, this route is the easiest way to the summit of Mont Aiguille. It’s also a bonus that the climbing is very fun, and the rock is uncharacteristically very good (for Mont Aiguille). It is, however, a bit of a step up in difficulty from the normal route (voie normal at 3c to this route at 5c) and the protection in several places well spaced.
Climb out of the slot at the base, onto the smooth face, making tricky but not too hard moves to the bolt above the horizontal. Climb above the bolt on another smooth face to a welcome crack system with a fixed pin or two for protection. Traverse over to the right to the base of a left facing corner. There is a bit of run out on this pitch. Handy to be tall. 5.8 and somewhat PG/R rated.
A couple of short pitches of 5.6/5.7 gain a ledge system at the gnome garden. Watch out that the gnome doesn’t come out of the hole! Amazing feature.
Just to the right of the hole, climb “on the wire” up the edge to the overhang clipping plentiful fixed gear along the way. Once over the short steep bit, traverse up to the left to the base of the tower and the crack system above. 5.9
Climb neat, steep crack with a few fixed pieces (bolt, pin). Place a few supplemental cams to keep the run out sane. Belay on a small, exposed ledge below a shallow overhang. 5.8+
Ascend overhang to easier rock and gain the top of the tower. Enjoy the view and take a break from the exposed climbing at the spacious open area. 5.7
From the top of the tower, either traverse over to the left to the standard route, or, wander up and look for a bolt line up steep rock on the right side of a cliff band. Pull the short, steep move (5.9?), and then ramble up easier terrain. Scramble up easier rock to the summit plateau. The rock up these last few pitches isn’t that great, so be careful (especially if there are climbers below!).
Located to the right (south) of the voie normale (standard route). Take the main trail to the NW face. Note the cluster of trees on broken ledges in the middle of the base of the wide face. Directly above this treed area is La Tour des Gémeaux.
To the right of the start of the standard route is a large pillar, La Vierge (Virgo). To the right of this pillar is a deep chimney recess. Take the climber’s trail towards this deep recess, and, traverse up and to the south, next to the base, passing through a narrow slot (tall rock on either side). In the middle of this 4m wide slot, is the start of the route. Look up and see a bolt, 5m above, just above a horizontal groove on a smooth face. Necky, semi tricky start. That’s it.
If the lower trail is taken traversing the base of the peak, straight below the route and to the climber’s left of a chimney, there is a plaque commemorating Antoine de Ville.
Use the standard descent to get down. See the main Mont Aiguille description.
8 quick draws, 8 full length slings (with ‘biners to match), a handful of medium to large nuts and .5 through 1 camalots (or equivalent) should prove more than sufficient.
BETA PHOTO: Tour des Gémeaux approximate route
BETA PHOTO: Andrew using his immense height to full advantage ...
The "key passage" crack pitch on La Tour...
Reaching up to the short roof above the gnome's ga...
1 day ago
The first moves of P1 are very height dependent (FR "morpho").
The bolts at the crux of the route are very closely spaced. And the feet there are polished. So lots of people aid those couple of moves by using the bolts.
We simul-climbed some of the upper pitches.
The rappel descent route is not trivial to figure out.
My feeling is there's other routes in France with more fun climbing moves, better protection.