Aiguille du Peigne - Éperon des Minettes
The approach is identical to that of the normal route on the Peigne until the bottom of the Papillons gully: From the Plan de l’Aiguille telepherique station take the Grand Mulets Hut path. Traverse the large boulders and come to the moraine lying underneath the ‘Tournier’ spur of the north face of the Aiguille de Midi. Follow the moraine till you reach the Peigne snowfield. Ascend the snowfield on the left for about 50m then make a left turn (the path is marked). Pass through two small notches in succession to arrive in the Papillons gully. The start of the route is to be found approximately 80m in altitude higher (on the left side of the gully) on a terrace littered with large blocks.
Route # (3h climbing)
The route starts above the terrace. L#1-3 | Go up in three easy pitches (3b) to the left of the crest of the spur. The 3rd belay is on a ledge just after some large blocks. (No protection until this point). L#4 | Continue straight up above the ledge or (easier) bear slightly to the right and come to an easy angled corner (one bolt, 4b). Go round a rib, (1 peg and possible belay) and climb the corner on the right (4b). Continue up (quartz vein) to the 4th belay (pegs and bolt.) L# | Change over to the west face then come back above the 4th belay using a flake (one peg). Climb a corner to regain the crest. 5th belay on two bolts. L# | Go to the right for a few metres, round a corner, and into another corner that ends with runnels (2 points of aid, 4c). Climb to a ledge: 6th Belay (2 bolts). L# | (50 m pitch, full rope, beware of drag.) Don’t take the corner on the right, instead continue on the steep rock (good holds) above the belay point then swing to the west face to reach a horizontal crack. Follow the crack to come back to the crest of the spur by way of a vertical crack (one peg!!!) and climb the sloping slabs. 7th Belay (2 pegs + 1 bolt). L# | Again, don’t take the corner on the right but continue along the crest, over an overhang (1 hidden peg, look up). Continue by using a corner and reach the 8th belay (2 bolts). L# | Take the freestanding flake on the left (1 bolt 5b) and then follow the line of the pillar, whose steepness eases (1 bolt). 9th belay on the left of the crest (2 bolts + 2 old belay rings “Ph. Allardin”, start of the abseils)
2 abseils down (equipped) to come to a gully. Another short abseil to get back into the Papillons gully then easily back to the start of the route. Return to Plan de l’Aiguille using the same path as the approach.
Possible bivouacs next to the Plan de l’Aiguille or higher on the left, by the Lac Bleu
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