Pointe Lachenal Traverse


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1 day

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3 climbers per guide

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Combine with:
Midi-Plan Traverse
Cosmiques Arête
Mont Blanc du Tacul
Mont Blanc Traverse

Across from the Aiguille du Midi, at the foot of Mont Blanc du Tacul, is a short section of ridge known as Pointe Lachenal. These three or four summits are famous for the hugh sweep of clean and steep granite on the southeast side–the home of many very hard rock climbs. But the lesser known traverse of the summits makes a fine climb of only medium difficulty.

This is a mixed route and can easily done in a day from Chamonix by riding the cable car to the top of the Midi. This route offers a good introduction to mixed climbing with both ice and rock alternating in quick succession. Most of the climbing is fairly easy though there are a few short, steeper steps that deserve special attention.


The difficulty of this climb varies with conditions. If the route is very snowy, the rock sections can be difficult, but if it has lost all its snow and reveals hard underlying ice, then the ice is challenging. Ideal conditions occur when there is a good amount of snow in the mountains still, but a few days of warm weather have melted the rock clear.

We would have included the route in our "one-mountain" category of difficulty if it were not for the changeable nature of conditions on the peak. If you catch it in good nick it presents few serious difficulties.

Regardless of conditions, there are always a few sections we belay, and on these the main challenge is on rock or mixed climbing. This is a good route to warm up on if you are planning a Traverse of Mont Blanc, and we often include it in a 4 or 5 day program, culminating with Mont Blanc.

The summits of Pointe Lachenal
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Mixed climbing


Climbers need to know how to flat-foot up moderately steep frozen snow, as well as front point on harder ice. Usually we can do this climb with one one ice tool, but a knowledge of how to remove ice screws is a real asset.


The Refuge des Cosmiques at the Aiguille du Midi is quite close by and makes a very good hut from which to base yourself for several days. Other good routes from the hut are the Arête des Cosmiques, the normal route on the Mont Blanc du Tacul, the Midi-Plan Traverse and the Traverse of Mont blanc over the 3 summits.

On the east-most summit
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Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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