Dent du Géant - SW Face by the Burgener Slabs
From the Torino hut, cross the Géant glacier to the N of the Aiguilles Marbrées. Pass near to the Col du Géant then go upwards, (usually tracked,) until a rising traverse left leads to the foot of a couloir. Go up this if there is enough snow, if not climb the rocks on the left, both lead to a little col with an obvious, slender pinnacle on the left. Turn to the right and follow the ridge, keeping to the crest as much as possible, (though this becomes vague.) Initially go around any obstacles mainly to the left. When you get to a broad, triangular pinnacle, traverse to the right, (cairns, path) to join the crest of the main ridge. This leads to the “salle a manger”, (flat area suitable for a picnic!), where you can leave crampons, ice axes etc.
Start a little to the left and lower down by a ledge leading leftwards. Traverse a few metres to the left to reach a bolt belay. Go 2m to the left and climb up 15m, trending slightly leftwards (many bolts, 4c/5a). Here you reach the original route, (whose start was destroyed by a rock fall). Belay at a large metal ring or two bolts, at the foot of an obvious gully. Go up the gully for 30m to a large terrace, (a mantleshelf at 4b/4c, 1 abandoned friend.) You are now at the foot of the Burgener slabs (plates) which are equipped with fat, fixed ropes. Climb the slabs for about 100m/ 4 pitches. The third belay uses the fixed rope at a little platform. Now climb slightly leftwards for 5m then traverse to the right by a series of flakes. Climb a steep corner with few holds (4c) to the belay. Continue up a chimney then the crest of the ridge (3b/4b) to reach the Pointe Selle by an exposed ledge on the S side. (4009 m). Descend a chimney (3c) and overcome the next step to reach the Pointe Graham (4013 m).
Descent # 2 options
Abseil down the same way, belays with chains. Recommended only if there are not many other parties on the route.
By the S face, in 3 abseils from bolted anchors, (quicker, but free hanging, be careful not to miss the next abseil point!) Go back to the gap between the two summits and find the first anchor near the Pointe Selle, S side. 1st abseil is 46m, (there is a belay at 23m) and descends slightly leftwards (facing into the rock) to a platform. The 2nd abseil is 30-35m and descends slightly to the right to a belay in a steep corner, (which you only see at the last moment.) The 3rd abseil reaches the bottom.
To allow the rock to warm up, you do not need to start too early.
The altitude can make you feel weak. It can be less tiring to climb the rock rather than pulling up on the ropes.
An impressive summit, made less serious by the fixed ropes.
The text and images in this page are available
under a Creative Commons CC-by-sa licence.