Petite Fourche - Face N de Tête Blanche et Traversée
Nice beginner’s route up a long slope, with some mixed climbing for the Petite Fourche (good views).
- From the Trient glacier
- 1st day: Climb up to the Trient hut (3-4hrs) Take the chairlift from Champex (Switzerland) then follow the footpath to the Orny hut, (2-3h). From here go onto the glacier and go up it (45mn to 1h) until the Plateau du Trient. The Trient hut is a little higher on the right.
- 2nd day (30min) Go to the foot of the N face of the Tête Blanche (obvious)
- From the bivouac de l’Envers des Dorées (1h30/+ 529m) From the bivouac go across the scree towards the N until a vague snow ridge which starts to the left of Pointe 3110. Follow it to the NW aiming for the col between Roc des Plines and the Point 3325. The first part is snow/ice then you go up broken rocks, (as indicated on the map.) At the col (cairn) climb up the snowy ridge to reach the magnificent Plateau du Trient (1h30 from the bivouac). Then reach the foot of the N face of the Tête Blanche (obvious.)
- From the Albert 1er hut (2h) Cross the Col Supérieur du Tour (1h30 to the col) and go down to the foot of the face passing along the side of the Aiguille du Col du Tour to avoid crevasses, (30m.)
Route # 30min-1h + 1h for the Petite Fourche
Cross the bergschrund, can be awkward. Go up the face (50/55°,) to the summit (30mn - 1h). If the face is iced then a maximum of three 50m pitches may be necessary. If conditions on the N face are not good, or the bergschrund is problematical, an alternative is to go up the E ridge, easy at first then PD. If conditions permit, (weather?) traverse to the Petite Fourche, (very nice summit with a great view, F, 1hr there and back.) To do this go to the Col Blanc then climb the snow slope (S) until the crest and follow the easy rocks on the left to the summit. Return the same way to the Col Blanc.
From the summit of the Tete Blanche or the Petite Fourche get to the Col Blanc, from where there are three options:
- To get back to the Trient hut: Make a 30m abseil, (deadman belay,) to the Trient Plateau and so back to the hut (30mn - 45mn) or descend the normal route on the French side and cross the Col du Tour to reach the Trient hut.
- To get back to the Albert 1er : descend the glacier (normal route) usually tracked, preferably staying close to the ridges on the right to avoid crevasses in the centre of the Tour Glacier.
- To get back to the Envers des Dorées: Make a 30m abseil, (deadman belay,) then cross the magnificent «Fenêtre de Saleina » (tricky descent, 60m abseil possible.) Once on the Saleina glacier bypass a rock island (Pointe 3175) on the left and then find the best route, (some cairns,) to reach the bivouac.
• Start early to get the best snow conditions. Best done early in the season before it becomes icy.
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