Midi-Plan Traverse


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Combine with:
N Face Triangle
Cosmiques Arête
Mont Blanc Traverse

On the Midi-Plan Traverse

The crest of the ridge between the Aiguille du Midi and the Aiguille du Plan is a challenging and interesting route–beautiful, complex, mixed climbing with some of the best views in the Mont Blanc massif.

The route begins at the Aiguille du Midi, reached easily with the first cable car from Chamonix, or from the Cosmiques hut, and initially follows a scenic snow ice ridge. The challenges start with a steep snow or ice descent to the Col du Plan, then passes alternately on snow and rock, sometimes on the Chamonix side, sometimes on the Envers side, but mostly on the crest. At one point a steep section of good rock is descended with several rappels. (see the photo to the right)

After this rocky section a traverse on the Envers side on steep snow brings us to the final peak of the Aiguille du Plan. The last rock tower of the Plan is climbed in about three short pitches on excellent granite. The sharp summit is a fantastic brunch spot!

There are two ways to return to civilization. The longer, but perhaps more interesting is to descend down the southeast side of the peak to the Mer de Glace, passing the Requin hut on the way. This route bring us to the Montenvers cog railway and down into Chamonix. The glacier just below the Plan is quite crevassed, and in the later season or low-snow years may not be feasible. Alternatively, we can reverse the Traverse, back to the Aiguille du Midi. While this second option retraces ground we have already covered, it is a bit faster and has the advantage of returning us to the Cosmiques hut, from which we can make other ascents on subsequent days.


Descending the Aiguille du Midi
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Descending the Aiguille du Midi


The Midi-Plan Traverse is a fairly long and involved route. While the technical difficulties are not great, there is still much belayed climbing, both on rock, snow and ice. Climbers need to be able to move efficiently on this mixed terrain, and fit enough to keep to a good pace. The exposure in many places in classically "Chamonix" so a good head for heights is also needed.


This is a good route for fit climbers who are comfortable on exposed, moderately difficult terrain. You will need to have experience on mixed ground, climbing with crampons on 50 degree snow and ice, and be able to climb up to about 5.6 in mountaineering boots, possibly with crampons.


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 Northwest face of Mont Blanc du Tacul.

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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