Reaching Heaven in the Swiss Alps

Mont Blanc Routes, Part II
By Richard Goedeke

Climb 3: The Italian Route

Start from the Val Veni from Cantine de la Visaille (1653m, bus from Courmayeur). Take the path along the moraines on the northern bank of the Miage Glacier. Alternatively, from Lac Combal (1940m), further up the valley, take a path over the big moraine on the south side to reach the Miage Glacier. Ascend the middle of the glacier. Pass below the Dome Glacier (2493m) on the right and go on to P.2530 at the foot of the southern spur of the Aiguilles Grise. Take a path on the right, 150m beyond P.2530, first up a scree couloir, then working steeply up east to cross a shoulder on the ridge to reach the Dome Glacier side. Continue up and across, bending right, across couloirs and snow slopes to a rock spur that leads up to the Gonella Hut (3071m, CAI, 40 beds, managed from mid-July to the end of August, tel. 0165-89369).

Dome Glacier to Gouter

Ascend near the western edge of the glacier, then move toward the center (crevasses). Higher up take the left (west) arm of the glacier, cross the bergschrund, and go left to the Col des Aiguilles Grises (3809m, three hours). This point can also be reached by following the Aiguilles Grises ridge from the hut (PD), climbing over the first two towers, turning the third on the west side by descending somewhat, and after that, going on the broad snow ridge over the summit of the Calotte des Aiguilles Grises (3826m to the col, four hours). Now continue northward on the ridge. Turn a rock rise on the left and continue on the snow ridge to the shoulder (4003m) on the frontier ridge just above the Col de Bionassay. Continue (northeast) up the often corniced ridge to a further shoulder (4153m, iron posts) and then on to the Dome du Gouter (4303m) to join the Gouter route (See Gouter to the Summit).

Adjacent Peaks

Mont Blanc de Courmayeur (4748m) is the southeast summit 600m away beyond the rocky P.4741, La Tournette. The Dome du Gouter (4303m) as well as Grande Bosse (4513m) and Petite Bosse (4547m) are traversed on the ascent from the Aiguille du Gouter. The more independent Pic Luigi Amedeo (4469m) is only reached on an ascent of the Brouillard Ridge. Pic Eccles (4041m) lies close to the Innominata Bivouac Hut. The Grande Chandelle (4600m) is the rock tower at the top of the Central Preney Pillar. The not very independent shoulder summit Grand Pilier d'Angle (4243m) is crossed when climbing the upper Peuterey Ridge.


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