Share the experience
Ski instructor and mountain guide qualified since 2008, I discovered another way to practise alpinism: sharing my passion with other people. From snowboarding in powder to big faces of the Alps ascent, passing by pretty sunny climbs, I am ready to make you discover the incredible diversity of alpinism.
Having been climbing for 10 years already, mostly in the Alps, I would like to bring you into wild and unusual places, rediscovering old abandoned routes, and eventualy climbing a virgin summit in Nepal or Pakistan...
Here is a suggestion of unusual journeys or routes, already done by myself or in project:
Snowboard or ski freeride:
- All the runs from le Tour going down to Trient village and also the nice forests of Courmayeur, never tracked and more often in deep powder.
- Classical steep slopes with easy access: Glacier Rond and Cosmiques’ gully at the aiguille du Midi, Marbrés slope in Italy, Rectiligne couloir at the Grands Montets.
- The wilder steep slopes: Barbey and Y couloir on aiguille d’Argentière, the ramp on Mallet’s shoulder, south face of the Courtes...
- Ski trip to Pakistan with the possibility to ski virgin mountains in one of the most beautiful landscape all over the world.
Backside of Mont Blanc:
This is the most Himalayan face in the range, offering many historic and exposed routes finishing at 4800m.
The Brouillard ridge, witch is the most on the left, is a nice long mixed route. Then you have two nice old routes on the Brouillard pillars (the Bonatti route an the Bonington one) exiting on the Brouillard ridge.
The Innominata ridge is the easiest and most classical route, a good test piece before going to the harder routes. Just on the right follows the Fréney pillar, maybe the most known and envied route in the area.
Peuterey ridge, standing in the middle of the side, is the most impressive ridge in the Alps. Its ascent is requiring almost 2 days of sustained climb to gain more than 2000 meters.
For the ice climbing, the north face of Grand Pilier d’Angle seems to be the best place with a few1000m high gully. Most of them were first climbed in the 1970s, by the pioneers of ice climbing. The East face big wall is standing just on the left with the steepest route of the area going threw the overhanging face: Divine Providence!
I shouldn’t forget the Major route (incredible but exposed snowy ridge) and the Crétier route on the Maudit’s south face, a complete route in a wild face.
The Grandes Jorasses:
Walker spur is still the most classical route but you have to be lucky to climb it in dry conditions, what is faster and more convenient. The ice gullies standing on each side of the spur, including Linceul, Mac Intyre and Slovens’ routes, were often in good conditions the last years at the end of snowy summers.
Nevertheless, the wildest place seems to be the East face, an unusual view of Grand Jorasses. The first route was climbed in 1943 by one of the craziest Italian climber of this time, Giusto Gervasutti. The steep rocky face had to wait more than thirty years to see a second ascent. You can climb it in a day now, starting by mixed ground then climbing the steep wall before following the final Tronchey ridge.
Tronchey ridge which is also a nice never climbed ridge, demanding one night in the little ??????? hut and offering a long sustained climb on exposed ground.
The Jorasses Tower, unknown granite tower hidden on the Italian side, is one of the wildest summit in the range. The Machetto diederhall is upgraded 6a and seems to be a complete route, the south spur on the left is longer 800m (2400ft) but easier and quiet never climbed.
The aiguilles of Chamonix:
The backside of the aiguilles is a paradise for rock climbers (climbing daily from the refuge, lightweight, on sunny interesting routes) but also for alpinists with many rocky or mixed spurs finishing on the main summits (Ryan ridge, Crocodile south ridge, Grépon-Mer de glace, République-Grands Charmoz traverse...)
On Chamonix side, some old routes are really complete and interesting: snow, mixed, rock, you have the choice! The aiguille du Plan north face and Lagarde-Ségogne gully on Crocodile are two unusual mixed routes, not climbed anymore but really interesting.
Finally one of the craziest ridge traverse, going from aiguille du Midi to the Gépon summit, is requiring two days of exposed climb and many ropes manipulation, including an unforgettable night on the ledges of the Fou pass.
Aiguille verte and Drus: Two summits full of history...
Unfortunately the west face of the Drus suffered big damages during the last years, tons of rock fell over... so all the routes including American direct and Bonatti pillar are now belonging to the past. The Pierre Allain route on north face is the last rocky climb realisable on Chamonix side but exposed to rockfalls.
On the left, the impressive north gully easily visible from the Grands Montets, looked unable to climb until the 1970s and the apparition of “ice axe traction” method. It offers a sustained technical climb in such a famous and unusual route.
The Drus traverse on Charpoua side is still classical, demanding physical resources for the typical crag climbing, and endurance for a long journey. On its right, the Contamine route is a nice climb in the fifth degree (5.9) you should realize with climbing shoes and sun!
Once on top of the Verte, you become a real alpinist... was saying a famous guide. And even with time and the gear evolution this sentence is still available. The aiguille Verte is not an easy summit anyway and the way down is requiring a total concentration!
The four main ridges are quiet classical, purposing exposed mixed climb on narrow and aerial ridges. Whymper and Couturier couloirs are more forbidding but offer some nice receding perspectives during the ascent.
The North face of aiguille Sans Nom is the most impressive side, like an Himalayan mixed wall, facing to the valley. The face is covered by a few long ice climbing routes following thin gullies and purpose also an impressive spur first climbed by English alpinists Joe Brown and Tom Patey. The route is requiring two days of intensive climb, using all the different techniques of alpinism, and is finishing on a tiring exposed snowy ridge.
Argentiere bassin: a lovely variety...
Having been working for 3 months in Argentière hut as help keeper, this place is leaving me a special taste, impressive and welcoming at the same time.
Except the massif Tournier spur (often compared to Walker spur), all the north face of the basin is icy and covered by many famous long routes mostly in the Courtes and the Droites.
Triolet and Mont Dolent, in the back of the glacier allow shorter but nice ice climbing too. On the sunny side, the aiguille d’Argentiere is a complex mountain made of long ridges, rocky faces, and steep glaciers. The Jardin ridge is the prettiest way to ridge the summit, offering 800m (2400ft) of typical alpine climb.
Swiss Valais: a tank of 4000m summits...
Monte Rosa and Matterhorn are the main summits of the area surrounded by dozens interesting summits.
The cresta Signal, on Italian territory, seems to be the most elegant and wildest way to ridge Monte rosa, demanding a good all ground experience.
The normal route of Matterhorn is to often crowded, so it is better to climb its italian classical ridge or one step beyond, the Zmutt ridge.
The historic Schmidt route can be climbed in a day with the new gear if you can catch the opportunity to do it in snowy conditions rarely present.
The Dent Blanche is one of the other massif summit, offering one of the biggest north face in the Alps and a few interesting complex ridges.
Oberland and Angadine:
The Eiger is the most famous summit with its well known “climbers killing” north face, the highest face in the Alps. The classical route, as on Matterhorn, is now easier with the new gear and the opportunity to climb it in safer conditions, with the rockfall risk limited by the ice and the cold.
In the back of Grindenwald valley is appearing the most beautiful profile of the area: Scheidegg Wetterhorn west pillar (1000m/3000ft of sandstorm alpine climbing).
Finally the Piz Badile is covered by one of the best climbing routes of the Alps, the Cassin ridge which is not hard but really aesthetical.