Traverse of the Pointes Lachenal

We took the Aiguille du Midi lift at around 1pm on Wednesday afternoon. As usual surrounded by snap happy tourists oohing and aaaahing as the lift sped over the pylons on its way to 3842m high in the Chamonix skyline. I always chuckle to myself. I remember the first time I took the Midi lift and to be fair I was equally amazed.

After gearing up at the top, crampons on and roping together, we walked down the arête towards the Col du Midi.

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The arête at Aiguille du Midi. Steep and exposed on both sides. It’s not equipped with a rope like in Winter.

We made for the Perroux Bivouac, a small basic wooden shelter built on a steep rocky ridge. We had brought camping gear incase the bivouac was already full up but to our joy we arrived and had the place to ourselves for the night.

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A room with a view

It felt good to be up in the high mountains again as I’d spent most of the summer in the mid-ranges running, hiking and rock climbing in the valley and had missed the big mountain environment.

Our plan was simple we wanted traverse the Pointes Lachenal, a snowy, rocky ridge line to the east of Mont Blanc du Tacul. It’s an easy route, nothing too technical but it looked like a fun way to spend the following morning and we’d be back in time for brunch in the valley.

A natural continuation of the Pointes Lacunal would be the Arête à Laurence followed by the Cosmique arête but we were short on time.

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The traverse of the Pointes Lachenal (left to right)

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Dinner

After an evening spent cooking food, enjoying the simple things in life, drinking beer at the Cosmiques Refuge nearby and then star gazing for a while, we clocked off around midnight and set alarms for 04:30 the next day.

We woke and watched the head torches of climbers ascending the north face of the Tacul en route to Mont Blanc via the 3 monts. It was also fascinating to see head torches all over the place, on the pyramid du Tacul, on the Dent du Geant, traversing from the Torino hut.

The sun was rising by the time we set off towards the Pointes Lachenal.

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We found the route to be fun and whilst it was easy enough we still felt challenged in the alpine environment. We did a 15m abseil off the first Pointe Lachenal down to a snowy patch where we could make a second abseil of roughly the same distance until we reached the second more exposed snowy section that lead to the final climb.

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Looking up the 45m chimney which lead us to the summit
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Ferg climbing the chimney
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We completed the traverse in around 2hrs

The sun was already beating down on us and we had to be back so we returned to the arête at Aiguille du Midi and made our way back to the valley.

This is a great way to experience a (free) night at 3500m and enjoy a fun alpine route on the same trip. The huge benefit of bivouacing is that you will find the route empty like we did. Not to mention the great experience of sleeping at 3500m!

 

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