Aiguille du Moine - E face - Contamine Labrunie route
Beautiful granite, in a great situation facing the Droites and the Whymper Couloir.
Approach # 40 minutes
From the Couvercle hut you go along the Talefre glacier under the E face. After passing a pillar which comes down from the summit and then two chimneys, you reach a sloping corner at 50m to the right of the pillar. (You can see 4 or 5 pegs.)
Route # 5 to 7h
Plenty of pegs in the first third of the route. The first two pitches are the most difficult (6a) and the best protected. After that some slabs then a corner to exit onto the spur, with pegs at the belays and the more difficult sections. In the second third you follow the spur, no in-situ gear. After the spur there are some pegs and two equipped belays to exit onto the crest of the ridge a few metres to the N of the summit.
L#1 | 6a | | Climb the corner to a belay on pegs about half way, (6a, with pegs at the difficult sections.)
L#2 | 6a+ | | Continue up the corner and exit to the right by a crack which leads to the pillar, (6a+, pegs and a jammed nut at the crux.) Belay with pegs on the pillar. L#3 | 5a/b | | Follow a series of little chimney cracks and rock steps to the foot of some easy slabs (5a/b). Belay on pegs. L#4 | 4c | | Climb the slabs, trending slightly leftwards (4c). Belay on pegs. L#5 | 5b/c | | L5 : Climb straight up the runnelled, (small water worn channels,) slab to a belay with a sling (5b/c). L#6-7 | 6a/6a+ | | Climb the corner which leads to the spur on the left (1 belay at half way.) You can avoid the bottom part of the corner by doing a pitch traversing to the right to a belay on a small ledge then coming back leftwards towards the corner. (Belay on pegs before regaining the corner.) 6a/6a+. Belay on a flake at the top of the corner.
L#8-10 | 4c..and..5a/b | | Climb the spur (4c and 5a/b). No in-situ gear. L#11-12 | 4b..5b/c..4b | | Climb the flaky slabs to the left to gain a chimney corner, (1 peg at its foot), 4b. Climb it, 5b/c, finishing up some unstable boulders and gain the ridge to the N of the summit, 4b. It should be possible to exit further left to avoid the loose boulders.
Descent # 2 to 3h
Descend the S face route. Take the easiest line by zig-zagging down stepped ledges for 200m. It is possible, but not essential to make some short abseils. Trend leftwards, (looking down) to gain a vague gully. Climb down this (3c) taking the easiest line by following the cairns. Many abseils are possible (up to 25m) but not essential. Come back to the right, (looking down) and down climb (or abseil, 40m) onto the Moine Glacier.
One can start early as the sun arrives quickly. The first 2 pitches are the hardest. The 6a corner to reach the spur can be damp. The rest of the route just has some sections of 5.
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