Breathtaking traverse of Aiguille du Diable

Post storm conditions and mind bending exposure on Aiguille du Diable. Few granite razors of the Mont Blanc massif evoke so much dread, marvel and humility. On-sight guiding on places like this feels way better in the company of a colleague. Thanks to Milen Bratanov for aiding me in the delivery of 17 hours of wild alpine climbing to the Coast guard of Canada. Six 4000m+ summits for Katherine and David!

With an overnight at Torino hut and an early morning start we crossed the glacier du Geant on headlamps in the marginal conditions of a retreating storm. Orienting in the vast and white outed space of the Cirque du Maudit was hard but eventually we found the crevassed entry into the steep and long SW coulouir leading to the Col du Diable. The dry conditions of the season left a lot of rubble that was freshly covered in powder – a tricky terrain to tackle!

Reaching the icy razor of Col du Diable was well timed with the sunrise that pierced the heavy clouds leaving the feeling of a sudden resurrection. It was our first glimpse of the granite towers above us – a truly spectacular and intimidating sight.
The complex 12 hours traverse started with a rather hard M6 variation of the classic and a fall on Camelot. The granite was covered by so much snow that we ended up climbing with one hand and one ice axe almost everything in our way. On few occasions we were taking off the crampons and going for some proper climbing determined to step on every single summit along the way:

  • Corne du Diable /4046 m.a.s.l./
  • Pointe Chaubert /4074 m.a.s.l./
  • Pointe Médiane /4097 m.a.s.l./
  • Pointe Carmen /4109 m.a.s.l./
  • l'Isolée /4114 m.a.s.l./
  • Mont Blanc du Tacul /4248 m.a.s.l./

Due to the harsh conditions and our greedy plan of ‘no summit left behind’ the adventure stretched 17 hours culminating on Mont Blanc du Tacul and followed by a lazy descent towards Cosmiques hut for a well deserved rest.
During the night one thought was reluctant to leave my wasted brain – for sure this was one of the most exposed, varied and beautiful ridge lines in the Alps if not in the world, offering way more than it requires.

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