The traverse of the Aiguille d’Entreves is often referred to as Italy’s Cosmique ridge equivalent. Sitting on the French Italian border it offers an excellent half day route from the Torino refuge.
We left Chamonix on the first lift and before long we were passing over the glacier on the Helbronner cable car.
shot from the cable car
The approach is straightforward and only about 1 hour from the Torino refuge. The glacier is crevassed in places but they are easy to avoid or step across. One of the few benefits of the later season conditions. We witnessed some serious rockfall on the Tour Ronde, the bergschrund was big and a few teams were struggling. Disappointing as I was planning this for the following day. Suppose you would rather see it in daylight than in the dark the next morning though.
traversing from right to left
Despite being the “Italian Cosmique” the route was quiet with the few teams well spaced out. It wasn’t going to be a rushed stressful climb. The rock is good quality and we moved together for until the first awkward down climb. This leads to a col and two very impressive rock spires.
The ridge narrows at this point and has you moving across an awkward tower before reaching the crux wall. The wall can be seen in the above picture, the climber in the orange trousers standing at the foot of it. There is one move of 5b which is difficult on an AD- route however it is well protected and can be aided if necessary. The two climbers at the wall in this picture, a guide and her client, actually backed off at this point. The client wasn’t able to make the move so they decided the reverse the ridge. Not the easiest place to pass people!
I didn’t find the wall too tricky, my long reach and a big rockover helped to get up in a few moves. After this it’s an easy scramble to the summit. An exposed traverse and an abseil down a polished chimney and all the difficulties are behind you.
A scramble down the wider north east ridge leads to an abseil back to the glacier and a nice enjoyable route in the bag.
abseil back to the glacier
Geant from the Torino Refuge
home for the night
Being so late in a warm season our plans to do a route on the Tour Ronde the following day were now not possible. A sadly fatal accident on the Geant a few weeks earlier put me off that as well. The approach slopes were visibly dry and I didn’t want to do battle with the loose rock. The Torino Refuge was a comfortable place to sit with a beer and think of an alternative.