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Routes in Argentière Basin

Couturier Couloir - North Face Aiguille Verte AI3 Steep Snow
Ginat - North Face of Les Droites, The AI5
Swiss Route - North Face of Les Courtes AI3-4 Steep Snow
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Type: Ice, Alpine, 3000 ft, Grade IV
FA: J. Ginat, G. Modica, J-P. Simond, J-M. Troussier, July 24, 1978
Page Views: 760 total · 22/month
Shared By: Rui Ferreira on Dec 15, 2015
Admins: Euan Cameron, Luc-514

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Description

The Ginat is one of the more popular routes on the North Face of les Droites due its continuous nature and combination of pure steep snow and ice climbing. It is named in honor of Jean Ginat who died on the descent to the Talefre glacier side during the first ascent.

The most frequent start to the route is by crossing the bergschrund at a curved snow/ice gully-couloir trending at first right and then back left on the far right side of the steep initial face/slab, 60 to 85-degrees (aka Messner Couloir). The next section is approximately 200 meters of steep snow/neve (60-degrees) to get about half-way up the face. Above, a system of ice gullies and steep ice dihedrals (85-degrees) trending right will get you to the bottom of a steep section of mixed rock/ice - possible crux. Depending on conditions this section might be easier to exit left in order to reach the upper snow field (150 meters, 55-degrees). The snow section brings you to the exit notch (Breche des Droites).

An aesthetic link-up is to do the Ginat with the upper Davaille exiting onto the summit of les Droites (more or less the directissima)

This route has been soloed in about 2 hours...

Location

One hour approach to the base on the bergshrund from the Argentiere hut across the way. Plan on 10 to 12 hours from the bergschrund to the exit at the Breche. Rappel off the Breche down the couloir on the South side. There is plenty of loose rock and given that it is not vertical be careful pulling the ropes. The bergschrund is typically rappelled climbers' right. Once on the glacier only go down about 100m and then do a high traverse (skier's right) to make way to the hut. Going straight down is not recommended as you will end up in a maze of crevasses.

About 2 hours to rappel from the Breche down the South side to reach the Talefre glacier and then 2 more hours from the end of the rappels to reach the Courvecle hut.

Protection

ice screws and small sized gear (BD Camalots blue to red, Aliens black to yellow, some thin pitons and nuts might be useful as the granite is very compact and the cracks typically narrow). Depending on the season, fixed Abalakov stations will be located on the route, otherwise bring cord to make your own. Also recommended to bring some webbing for the rappels down the South side.

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