Aiguille des Ciseaux - Éperon SE (voie Troussier)
From the hut traverse the snow patches and scree under the N branch of the Envers de Blaitière glacier (1 short passage exposed to falling ice) and take the S branch of this glacier until the SE ridge of the Blaitiere, which you leave to the left to go up the glacier in the direction of the SE spur of the Ciseaux, clearly visible from below.
The start has very much changed because of the shrinking glacier. Climb up a snow/ice ramp, (if it is still there…) at 45° then with some effort gain, by a ramp on the left, a belay clearly visible from below, which was previously the top of pitch 1 of “Festin de Babeth”. There is a knotted fixed rope, but it often hangs in space to the left; a friend with several slings in a sloping corner may help with the manouevre. From the belay, (you can leave your ice axe and crampons here,) make a tension traverse to the left, descending at the end with the help of an in-situ karabiner. Awkward section, a fixed rope is often in place. This brings one to a large, diagonal flake crack and easier ground. 1h15/1h30 until the end of the snow plus 15-45 to reach the flake crack. The main difficulties are over, but the rest of the route is not obvious. Description in the Vallot guidebook: climb a large, meandering crack in the form of a flake (40m, 4b), then climb a corner and a crack, (2 pitches 4b,). Do not follow the crack which goes obliquely to the right but traverse a slab to the left to a step and then climb a slab (4c). After another slab pitch (3c), climb a chimney crack (4b) then a series of ledges (3c) until under an area of white rock. Bypass the white rock on the right and come back above it (5b). Climb the slabby cracks for three pitches (4a-4b) and then by some steps reach the top of the spur.
The terrain is never very steep but there are just 6 pegs for 400m and a few old slings so, in reality, you have use your route finding instincts. The bolts and belays of Festin de Babeth may help to guide you: they are on your right until pitch 5 (shared by both routes,) then on the left. In the upper section, the route zig-zags between “Festin” and the gully which borders the pillar on the right, taking the least steep line. The last 180m up to the actual summit are rarely done, technically fairly easy (II/III) but with earth and large loose rocks. From the summit of the spur there is a superb view of the S face of the Fou.
Make 11 abseils down “Festin”, relatively straight down at first, obliquely towards the gully afterwards. From the bottom of the abseils it takes about an hour back to the hut, (be careful of stone and ice falls in the afternoon after the turn under the Pointe des Nantillons).
In the sun at 09.00h in July The only hard technical part is at the start, that is reaching the flake crack from the snow ramp. After that it is a question of finding the best way. One should rarely have to climb harder than 4c. Feels more like a face climb than that of a pillar.
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