The Grépon is one of many peaks that overlook Chamonix and may be the best known.
Climbed in 1881 by the famlous climber Albert Mummery – Alexander Burgener and faithful bearer Benedict Venetz. This ascent was seen as a real achievement at the time. The trio borrowed the north ridge, a section that even today we traverse while doing the Charmoz-Grépon crossing.
In 1911, the party conducted by Joseph Knubel managed to open the eastern side, a huge wall of 800 meters high overlooking the Mer de Glace glacier. Just beneath the summit, an impressive crack defends the access to the summit. Knubel starts climbing, sticks his ice axe which acts as a cleat and reaches the top of Grépon. The “Knubel crack” became the first V+ of the Mont-Blanc massif.
Even today, despite the evolution of hardware and progress of climbers, this terrible crack leaves a lasting impression on those who lead. Protected only by a miserable boulder stuck in the middle of the pitch, you better take a look at the Vallot guide, where each movement of the pitch is described, to catch the famous knobs that follow the crack.
The route of 1911, commonly known as “Grépon – Sea of Ice” is one of the most beautiful in this difficulty in the Mont-Blanc massif. 800 meters of climbing, excellent rock and beautiful orange & gray granite. The climbing is quite physical, especially with all the climbing gear on their backs, which they need for the descent onto the Nantillons glacier. The climbing never exceeds 5 except of course the Knubel crack just below the summit.
In 2013, the Guides Company in Chamonix has equipped a new rappelling descent on the slopes of Nantillons. A rappelling line that makes a much safer descent.
Preparing for the trip :
One week before the trip departure, the head-guide will contact you to answer your questions and provide complementary information (i.e. touring gear, clothing, specific equipment etc.)
Day 1: Rock course ex: normal route of the Peigne
Long route with big shoes. Review of mountaineering basics, rope handling and rappelling).
Night in Chamonix.
Day 2: Technical rock course in altitude. Ex : Lépiney route at Trident du Tacul
An even more technical climb on granite (5-5+).
Night in Chamonix.
Day 3: Ascent to the hut of the Envers des Aiguilles.
Via the Montenvers train, you climb to the refuge of the Envers des Aiguilles. The walk is not technical but rather long (3 hours).
Night at the hut of the Envers des Aiguilles.
Day 4: Ascension of the Grépon by the Mer de Glace side. The return to Chamonix.
This program is a general guideline for the trip. The guide alone can decide and apply changes in the program during the trip, according to weather and terrain conditions, skier’s physical condition and skills.
Grépon – Mer de Glace description:
Long rocky course – D on a face of 800 meters of difference in height.
Good rock. The difficulty doesn’t exceed 5 except the last pitch in 5+.
Excellent physical ability.
TECHNICAL LEVEL :
6a in climbing and good physical shape to get better fast along the course. Good technique of cramponing necessary to cross the bergschrund (sometimes problematic) and descent on the Nantillons glacier.
All summer depending on the conditions from June 15th to September 15th.
The guide will contact you a few days before the course begins.
PRICE 2017: 2265 € per person.
Included in the package:
- Mountain guiding service
- Lift access
- Lunch picnics
- Half-board in a mountain hut
- Personal gear
- Repatriation insurance
- Lodging in Chamonix