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Col du Plan: North face

First ascent: L.Devies and J.Lagarde on 20 May 1934.

Classic route in the autumn and spring but no longer in condition in summer due to glacier recession. Easily locatable conditions when arriving at Chamonix, at the top of the village of Pélerins.

From the intermediate station of the Aiguille du Midi tram, go up the moraine under Aiguille du Peigne towards Plateau des Pélerins and go up the glacier in the direction of the gully resulting from Col du Plan. From the intermediate station to the start takes 1h15 to 2h00.

Go up the broad snow cone and pass the bergschrund. Take the gully which is rather deep, and climb it for 250m via successions of snow slopes and steep rice slopes (maximum 70°, 10 to 15m maximum). Do not stay at the bottom of the rivulet in order to avoid the frequent snowslides. A steep pitch stops the top of the gully. Cross the steep ice wall which crosses it (85°). If the steep slope is dry, go up a somewhat mixed ramp parallel to the corridor and to its right (M3). You then reach a shoulder to the summit of the rocky steep pitch and take foot on the large snow slope which leads to Col du Plan 40/45°. From the bergschrund to Col du Plan takes 3h30 to 5h00.

Via Arête Midi-Plan, you easily reach Aiguille du Midi. From Col du Plan to Aiguille du Midi takes 1h30 to 2h00.

Bibliography: - Neige, glace et mixte... By F.Damilano and G.Perroux

One of the characteristics of this route is the descent, if you keep to the schedule, if the weather does not deteriorate too much, if the wind does not blow too strong it will be done by tram.

Should you undergo one of the unpleasant surprises quoted above, there are 3 solutions: 1 Spend lunchtime at the Cosmiques refuge. Descend the snow ridge then the snow slopes towards the south. Once at Col du Midi traverse under Arête des Cosmiques and go up a snow slope on the right (west) to easily reach the refuge. 3613m, 30min from the ice cave of the pinnacle. Telephone: 04 50 54 40 16. 2 - Spend a bad night in the tram corridors (in theory prohibited, but tolerated in the event of force majeure). 3- Descend via Vallée Blanche and the ice sea; long, long, long... and crevassed!

  • Difficulty: S5 - Very difficult (40-50°)
  • Danger/Exposure: E4 - Extremely high
  • Time: 06:00 hours
  • Total climb: 1530 m
  • Total elevation drop: 1530 m
  • Highest altitude: 3795 m
  • Lowest altitude: 2310 m
  • Extra gear: None
  • Lift access: No



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