Type: Trad, Alpine, 900 ft (273 m), 15 pitches, Grade IV
FA: By Walter Bonatti and Luciano Ghigo (1951)
Page Views: 1,921 total · 38/month
Shared By: Eric Blanc on Oct 22, 2018
Admins: Luc-514, David Riley

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Approach: 1h from the Torino hut, 2h from Aiguille du Midi.

Two solutions to getto the start itself, the “Cave”.
1. Ascend 100m the couloir des Aiguillettes.
Reach right an anchor common with the Voie des Suisses. Ascend a few meters and then follow to the right a sometimes snowy plateau which leads to the edge of the East face. Anchor, pitons. Move onto the East face, and reach upwards right the plateaus that are the start of many routes in the East face. Stay on the lower plateaus. Traverse to the right until they end, then descend a little. 2-bolts anchor.

Instead of traversing directly the slab that separates you from the cave, ascend 10 or so meters upwards right until an anchor. Put up a top rope and in this way reach the end of the cave’s plateaus. 2-bolts anchor. The second climber can reach the plateaus directly by swinging. Then follow the plateaus of the cave towards the right, until their end, at the foot of the third corner. Start anchor, 2 bolts.

2. Climb one of the routes of the base,
for example Po-éticomania (5.7/5.10a/5.10a) to get to the cave


  • The “Bonatti/Ghigo” route is a great multipitch classic. It is also a historical route which has left its mark on the evolution of mountaineering. To go there is to experience some of the spirit which animated the pioneers. It is also to take on demanding route which has withstood the test of time. Athletic, sustained, difficult, wonderful also in its choice of itinerary, it remains a challenge for whoever decides to climb it free.
  • East Face, very vertical, receives early morning sun
    900 ft starting in the Couloir des Aiguillettes, 1200 ft by Po-eticomania or by l’Elixir
    Historical itinerary, long and athletic climbing
    Many pitons from the 40m wall onwards.
    The first six pitches have been partially stripped of gear.
    All the anchors are new, 2 bolts and a chain
  • 5.12a/b / 5.10c obligatory.
  • More information: chamgranit-topos.com/cham_n…
  • Translation from french by Aanoud Petermann


- Glacier gear
- 14 quickdraws, 16 for the 40-m wall in one pitch
- 1 rack from grey C4 .4 to blue 3. Double grey .4, the purple .5, the green .75, the red 1
- 2 racks of C3 from 0, or X4 .1 .2 .3  for the L6 traverse
- Nuts
- Rappels 2x50m, 2x60m advised

Itinerary "Bonatti-Ghigo"

The route is described from the « Cave « located 120m above the bottom of the Grand Capucin

Pitch1 (40m 5.10b) : Above R0, get over a short and athletic crack. Then traverse left to find another cracked corner, fingers. At the height of R1, traverse horizontally towards left to get to the anchor. A bit exposed.

Pitch2 (30m 5.10b) : To the right take the chimney crack, then the cracked corner which follows. R2 is on the left.

Pitch3 (30m 5.10d) : From R2, take the crack to the right, and then the beautiful corner which follows. Some pitons are in place. Come out left in the middle of the slab, athletic. R3 is some meters above, in the slab.

Pitch4 (15m 5.10d) : 
Traverse right under the large roof, through the slab, easy. Then ascent vertically until the back of the roof and continue right to reach R4, at the first Bonatti bivouac. Last athletic mantle move.

Pitch5 (40m 5.10b) : From the bivouac, ascend a crack system upwards left, some pitons. Then continue upwards right, towards the large corner, unstable flakes. In the corner, overcome a short more vertical section to reach R5.

Pitch6 (30m 5.11a) : From R5, traverse right and take the thin horizontal crack. C3 from 0. Marvelous. Continue right through the easy chimney which leads to a beautiful plateau, at the foot of the 40m wall. R6 is at the end of the plateau.

Pitch7 (40m 5.12a/b) : Grade suggested by mountaineers who redpointed the pitch. Sustained 40m wall, many not always trustworthy pitons. Go right of the first roof above the anchor. The crux is a 10 or so meters above to reach a cracked corner to the right. The exit cracks are easier. R7 is just under the plateaus of the second Bonatti bivouac.

Pitch8 (30m 5.9) : Traverse the plateaus of the second bivouac upwards left. Overcome a short cracked wall and reach a platform. Follow it left until its end to find R8.

Pitch9 (30m 5.10c) : Climb a crack above the anchor, aerial. R9 is just under a steeper section.

Pitch10 (20m 5.11b) : Overcome this athletic section and after a few meters go right. R10 is just underneath.

Pitch11 (20m 5.11d) : Follow the crack with short, very athletic sections. R11 is under a small roof, towards the right.

Pitch12 (35m 5.11c) : Climb up to the roof and overcome it left, athletic, technical. Follow with a cracked corner that leads to a beautiful cracked slab. R12 on the left.

Pitch13 (40m 5.11a) : Overcome right a short vertical athletic section then upwards right, follow with sections of easier slabs and cracks. R13 is at the gap between the N and E face.

Pitch14 (30m 5.9) : Move onto the North face, often snowy. Traverse horizontally, then ascend directly towards the large gap between the two summits of the Capucin. Loose-ish rock. R14 is at the gap, on the left. Watch out, it can be tempting to abseil from R14. Don’t do it. The line does not continue. Keep climbing.

Pitch15 (30m 5.9) :
From the gap, first take the East face, reach the summit ridge and move onto the North face for the last meter which lead to the summit and the start of the “Echo des Alpages” rappel line . Be careful to stay in the line of rappels.


Abseil “L’Echo des Alpages” (50m ropes, 60m advised)
  • Many anchors are bolted all over the place.
  • Be careful not to find yourself at the end of the rope in a big overhang.
  • According to the latest information, the anchors and rappels of “Echo des Alpages” have been rebolted