Aiguille du Midi - Cosmiques ridge
A nice little classic, great for acclimatization, neither long, nor difficult and easy to do in a day using the cable car. On the down side it is very (too) popular.
!!!! route variant from La Chamoniarde after rock fall in Aug. 2018 !!!! https://www.chamoniarde.com/images/files/Variante-Cosmiques-2019.jpg
Descend Aiguille du Midi ridge from the alpinists’ exit of the Cable car station and go along under the S face. Do not go up to the Cosmiques hut, instead go to the Simond Bivouac hut at the foot of the ridge. (3600m).
From the Simond hut, climb up the snow and rocks above. Turn the first buttress on the right and climb onto the summit of the Cosmiques spur. At the summit of this spur there is an abseil ring. This is not the little abseil mentioned in the guidebooks but an aid to help with a small bit of down climbing which leads to a 20m abseil. (It is possible to avoid this abseil by a ledge of snow and rock on the S side which leads to he base of a large pinnacle). Go around the tower and climb up a short section of 3, then a steep gully up to a little gap. Continue, passing through a “letter box”, then bypass a little tower on the right and climb up towards the ridge. This leads to a last tower which can be passed either on the right or the left.
One reaches the foot of a steep rock wall; the crux. Climb it directly by a short crack (4a, a jammed wire nut, a peg with a sling, a jammed friend and chiseled holds to take crampons!) then traverse to the right (avoiding the large crack by going further right or on the left), and come back to a large ledge directly above the initial crack.
Variant If there are a lot of other parties, it is possible to avoid this section, often the cause of a long wait. 20m to the right there is another crack (grade 5 for 10-15 metres), easily protected with friends and slings.
Go onto the NW face. Traverse horizontally for 25m and climb up a vague ramp for 45m (60°, a chimney sometimes with snow/ice), until a belay underneath a viewing platform of the cable car station. Gain this by means of a metal ladder.
By the cable car, or back down the exit ridge for a descent of the Vallée Blanche
A route at altitude on a mixed ridge, be careful of strong winds, when it can be very cold.
It is possible to combine this route e.g. by starting the day with the traverse of the Pointes Lachenal
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