Mont Blanc du Tacul, NW Face


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2 climbers per guide

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Combine with:
Aiguille d'Entrèves
Cosmiques Arête
Vallée Blanche Traverse

Descending the Aiguille du Midi

Mont Blanc du Tacul is the massive glaciated peak that dominates the foreground view from the summit station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car. It is the first of the three summits that are climbed on the Traverse Route of Mont Blanc, and as part of that outing it is usually done in the dark of the wee hours! But it is an interesting and rewarding climb in its own right, and it presents a tremendous variety of climbing on its northwest and east sides, ranging from steep but non technical glacier and snow climbing, to steep water ice couloirs, to rock climbs of varying difficulty on high quality granite.

The Northwest Face is a great, moderately steep glacier route finishing with easy rock scrambling to a pointy summit in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif, with panoramic views of all of its famous peaks. At 4248 meters, or 13,933 feet, it is an excellent acclimatization climb for those planning harder ascents.

Descending the Aiguille du Midi
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The Northwest Face on Mont Blanc du Tacul is a snow and glacier climb with a tiny bit of rock at the end. Most of the route is fairly low angled, but there are inevitably some steep sections as the track surmounts crevasse and the bergschrund at the shoulder. The nature of these steep sections varies from year to year, and even week to week as the route changes in response to glacial movement. Usually, however, there are a few short sections we belay which can be difficult, but no more than a few meters at a time.

The climb is at high altitude, with the summit at 4248 meters. And this takes its toll on unacclimated climbers, though it is frequently climbed by folks coming from sea level. The route usually takes from 3 to 4 hours up.


Climbers should have previous experience in crampons, but glacier travel experience is not necessary. A good level of fitness is required.


There are two huts on this traverse, the Refuge des Cosmiques at the Aiguille du Midi end, and the Refugio Torino at the Italian end. By staying in one of these huts, you can do additional climbs, using the huts as a base. From the Torino hut the Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entrèves is a good choice, and from the Cosmiques, the Arête des Cosmiques.

Descending the Aiguille du Midi
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Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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