All Locations > International > Europe > France > .Snow, Ice and Mixed > Mont Blanc Range > Argentière Basin
Swiss Route - North Face of Les Courtes
Avg: 4 from 3 votes
|Type:||Ice, Alpine, 2500 ft, Grade III|
|FA:||C. Cornaz and R. Mathey, 7/31/1938|
|Page Views:||254 total, 10/month|
|Shared By:||Rui Ferreira on Dec 8, 2015|
|Admins:||Euan Cameron, Luc-514|
DescriptionBefore the development of modern ice climbing equipment, this was considered one of the most difficult North Faces in the Alps and was number 94 in Rebuffat's list of the 100 best routes in Mont Blanc, these days it is frequently soloed in a few hours by those competent and comfortable with the alpine exposure. Either way it is still one "the" classics and highly recommended.
Cross the bergschrund on the North Face proper and climb the first third of the face straight up to where the couloir narrows: first on steep snow 50/55-degrees and then changing to 75/80-degrees of ice for about 60 meters or so. Depending on ice conditions it might be necessary to go around some rocks through this bottleneck. Above the initial ice crux section the couloir widens and the angle decreases back to 50/55 ice and hard snow with another section of 65-degrees for about 20 meters. There are two possible exits at the top, either go right and join the NNW ridge to the summit or go straight up to the summit for the steeper exit option.
As with other long alpine ice routes this one is a calf burner.