Aiguille du Moine - S ridge integral
From the Couvercle hut follow eastwards a cairned path which climbs towards the Moine glacier. Go along its base, descending slightly and traverse towards the S ridge. Join the ridge at a square notch.
The route is fairly logical, passing from one side of the ridge to the other to take the best line. Just follow your instincts.
Climb up to the notch. Traverse for several metres on the Talefre side and climb a chimney, (3c/4a) which brings you back to the crest of the ridge. Follow the ridge (4b) on the Talefre side until a conical pinnacle. Cross to the Mer de Glace side. Climb a crack with a jammed block (4b) which brings you to the summit of the pinnacle. Continue on the Talefre side by traversing a large, flat slab. Descend to a gap on the Talèfre side and climb back up by a corner chimney (4c). Cross on the Mer de Glace side and follow the ridge, turning a first pinnacle on the Mer de Glace side and a second on the Talefre side to reach a narrow gap above a large gully on the Mer de Glace side.
Go into the gully by a 25m abseil and climb back up easily for 60m to reach a chimney/gully with a large boulder (4b) which leads back to the ridge. Pass onto the Talèfre side and gain a platform at the foot of a large pinnacle. Go onto the Mer de Glace side and turn the pinnacle by a gently descending ledge. Climb up a chimney crack with large boulders (4c) and follow the line of the ridge. Get onto the crest of the ridge by a corner (4b). Go onto the Talefre side and follow a little grassy ledge which leads to a red corner, (4b). Regain the crest of the ridge and cross to the Mer de Glace side. Climb up the slopes above by an easy angled corner (4b) and some easy steps to reach the crest of the ridge again.
Here you join the Classic S ridge route. There is a red pinnacle with a large flat boulder on top. By a horizontal ledge on the left reach the foot of a 70m chimney crack, which is to the left of a large pinnacle in the form of a “T” on the ridge. Climb it (flakes and wide crack 4b/c, 2 pitches). The belay is about 5m under the notch to the left of the pinnacle. Climb a wall (5c) and at the notch, descend 3m on the Talefre side, traverse on a ledge for 10m to reach the foot of a leftward leaning corner, climb it for 20m (3c) and exit onto a large platform.
Traverse on the Mer de Glace side for about 30m. Descend 2m and by a long stride to the left gain the foot of a flared corner. Climb it (5b, strenuous, wooden wedges and slings), then a smooth, narrow chimney (4c, awkward). Exit onto a good ledge (30m) and follow it leftwards. Climb down a little wall, then climb a large crack with boulders which can be taken on the outside (4c) to exit onto a good terrace. Follow a crack obliquely left until a triangular niche with a belay on a jammed block, (4c, 30m). A small flake (3c) leads to the ridge at a large platform (with a view of both faces.) Climb another small flake then a short chimney (3c) to reach a terrace at the foot of a little wall (5c). The exit to the left is easier (4c). Take the easiest line up the ridge to the summit, about 80m after the little wall.
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 (upto 25m) but not essential. Come back to the right, (looking down) an down climb (or abseil) onto the Moine Glacier.
Facing S and low altitude means the route is often in condition both early and late in the season.
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