Type: Mixed, Ice, Snow, Alpine, 1000 ft, 8 pitches, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 5,764 total · 69/month
Shared By: Dan Flynn on Mar 4, 2012 with updates from Rui Ferreira and 1 other
Admins: Euan Cameron, Luc-514

You & This Route

39 Opinions

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The Classic Climb. AD, Grade II, mostly snow and moderate alpine climbing, with a few sections of strenuous mixed climbing (in winter) or easy rock.

The start up from the Cosmiques laboratory is quite easy, no need to rope up. The beginning of the arete apparently is a slab in summer, but an easy snow slope in winter. From the second peak, two short rappels take you down to the base of the third peak. Easiest route is around to the right, also possible to go straight up it (but need to abseil again).

A short chimney pitch was the crux for us. The guidebook calls it 4c... felt like M5 to me!

Traverse around the corner to the Chamonix side of the ridge, and don't get distracted by the gully with the small roof.. instead head further to the left for the last, brilliant pitch of mixed snow and ice climbing. Really a blast!

Finish on a shoulder in view of the platform of the cable car station. Walk over and up the metal stairs to top out on the platform, doing your best to ignore the cameras (why yes, I am a famous alpinist...).


From the cable car station, walk down the steep ridge (put on your crampons, you have them!), and turn down the easy slope towards the Refuge de Cosmiques. Hike up the slope towards the abandoned Cosmiques laboratory, and follow the obvious line up the arete.

Since the finish is on the cable car station, it makes a popular round trip!


In winter, we used about 3 short screws and a bunch of cams and nuts. There are a few ancient pitons to clip as well. A single 60m rope is fine, and 50m would probably work.
Scott O
Scott O   Anchorage
They say it's doable in almost all weather conditions (it is), however blowing snow/sleet mix will HAMMER you on this route. It's quite exposed to weather, and we did it in suboptimal conditions. Snow was loose, the "easy rock" was covered in verglass, and the route was still crowded! Get up early (need to stay at the hut as we took the first lift) and beat the crowds on this ultra classic route. Apr 21, 2015
Chris C.
Seattle, WA
  5.6 AI2 M2+
Chris C.   Seattle, WA
  5.6 AI2 M2+
Much easier done with crampons than without. Because it is a classic introductory mixed route (well deserved!), crampon footings are deeply embedded in the rock in tricky spots. The crux slab is essentially walking up a ladder with crampons on. Without crampons, the crux is about a 5.6-7. I did not find dry tooling necessary, so I am not sure why the route is graded as M4. Sep 4, 2016
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
  5.6 AI2 M4
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
  5.6 AI2 M4
Did this in mid-June 2012. As my partner doesn't climb ice, and we were on a non-climbing vacation anyway, I rented gear and hired a guide who had been recommended by a friend who had hired him 25+ years before as an "associate" guide! Now he was thinking about retirement. We took the first tram up (While in line he sort of "yelled" at me that my harness was in my pack and not yet on my body)

We rapidly moved out and down the snow ridge, well ahead of the many other climbers on the tram who were putting on their harnesses. Of those on the tram, we got on the route first, although there were a couple of parties ahead who had obviously stayed at the hut. They got a bit off route and we passed them where our route descended an ice slope for 20 meters to go down and around a steep pillar. [The guide wanted to lower me, but I told him I could downclimb it faster than he could lower.]

Beautiful alpine route! ...on a perfect day. (see photos) I thought the crux "slab" was a bit physical and was glad for a rope above. As stated below, a well-worn slot for the crampon point (note the singular), but a pretty high step and pull-up..at least I thought. 5.7 at least Well protected though.

We climbed fast, but I never felt rushed. Excellent guide. The "world-around" guides really do like climbing with competent climbers. Were back in the valley by noon, which made the guide very happy, as he could then sign up as "available" for a potential afternoon 1/2 day client. Dec 9, 2018
Bogdan P
Boulder, CO
Bogdan P   Boulder, CO
The rock fall last summer (summer 2018) destroyed the landing below the first rappel bolts. Do not rappel. Downclimb/traverse to the second (main) rappel. Jan 12, 2019