Mont Blanc du Tacul (Normal Route: NW Face)

Published by Lone Ranger , 25 August 2011, 00h21.

Region: World » France » Massif du Mont Blanc » Chamonix
Date of the hike:22 August 2011
Mountaineering grading: PD+
Climbing grading: II (UIAA Grading System)
Geo-Tags: F 
Time: 2:30
Height gain: 700 m 2296 ft.
Route:Cosmiques hut-Mont Blanc du Tacul- Cosmiques hut
Access to start point:Aiguille du Midi or Cosmiques hut
Access to end point:As above
Accommodation:As above

Did this the day after Cosmiques Arete.

A reasonably good climb, we started out at 6:15 am, summitted around and 8:45, and rapidly descended in just over an hour. The only real difficulty was the last section which has a bit of grade 2-3 rock climbing. Actually it is a simple chimney, but when the ground is icy (it was hard bare ice when we went), it feels tricky. We had to set up ice-anchors before doing this pitch, and left it there until we reached the summit and down-climbed it. Actually we saw the previous party abseil down this section, not sure how they managed it because I didn't see any proper rings. maybe they used the summit cross, but we found it shaky, so didn't use it. Actually ir takes surprisingly less time to ascend the 700 vertical metres because the route is so steep.

Mont Blanc du Tacul is considered a dangerous mountain (relative to other popular routes at this level), because of objective dangers related to serac falls, opening up of crevasses which makes crossing them hard in summer, and lastly, the last section becomes icy when bereft of snow, this makes things much harder. Its difficulty can range from PD-AD depending on conditions, and in our case, I would rate it at PD+ or AD-.

Equipment: One rope, and if you don't plan to belay on the last section, a 30 m scrambling rope is sufficient. However a longer rope and some ice screws maybe recommended depending on conditions. One walking axe is sufficient.

Other routes: There are many other routes AD+ and higher on the Triangle (North face). On 23 Aug, we attempted the, the Chere' Colouir, which has 6 ice pitches up to 80 degrees angle. We knew we wouldn't be able to complete it, because we had only 1 technical and 1 walking axe each, and one half rope, this one requires two technical axes and two 60m ropes for the 60 m abseils (the whole face can be abseiled down). Plus I made the stupid mistake of dropping a glove just after leading the first pitch and setting up the anchor, so prudence dictated that we abseil down to safety and back home.

So this is a project on my ticklist, to complete maybe in September, going with someone with more ice-experience. Let me know if interested.

Hike partners: Lone Ranger

Click to draw, click on the last point to end drawing


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16 Aug 94
Mont Blanc du Tacul(4248m) · trainman
16 Jun 13
Mont Blanc du Tacul · Mauronster
D+ V+

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