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Ascent of Grand Muveran on 2010-06-29

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Grand Muveran
    Location:Switzerland
    Elevation:10010 ft / 3051 m

Ascent Trip Report

The swisstopo map shows no route to the summit, but being assured there was an established scramble we thought we'd give it a try - well worth the effort!

After yesterday's Testa Grigia ascent we returned to Switzerland and spent the night at Ovronnaz near the trailhead (N46 12 17.7 E7 09 47.6, 1369m GPSr, large car park).

Tuesday, 07:00 - the route initially follows a surfaced road NW, then a track, then a narrower path, always well marked. Trees then nice alpine pasture, with Petit Muveran looming impressively ahead. Past Saille, the path curves R, zigzagging steeply beside a waterfall to reach a hanging valley, then climbing steeply again to a rocky cwm with the cliffs of Grand Muveran rising ahead. The path, well cairned, winds its way up to the Cabane Rambert (09:30), perched on the ridge below the main bulk of the mountain. The hut guardienne says there is no via ferrata (just a short chain), currently a few snow patches but the route should be OK.

From the hut an intermittent path heads NW along the ridge. Soon the ridge steepens dramatically - the route isn't obvious here but climbs R. Here we encounter a largeish snow slope; beyond it is a nice steep scramble on good rock. From here, cairns and paint mark the way, making a long ascending traverse L across the S face, crossing several ribs. At one point is an exposed section with a memorial plaque and a short chain - the only fixed protection on the route. The route is generally quite exposed and fairly loose in places but never more than easy scrambling. Eventually the route zigzags back R, then steeply up to cross a narrow neck and finally ascend the summit block - a cross with a cairn slightly higher; no convincing sign of the mapped triangulation point. The summit is compact and impressive although apparently not particularly shapely (we never manage to get a proper view of the peak from any distance, due to topography and weather).

The descent is no faster than the ascent, until we are finally off the steep ground. Back at the hut (13:30) we enjoy a drink before making a quick easy descent to the trailhead (15:00). We encounter plenty of walkers during the day but no-one on the mountain itself. Then into Martigny for a meal before finding our way to the Tour Salliere trailhead ready for tomorrow's ascent.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5715 ft / 1741 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5715 ft / 1741 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Grade/Class:YDS3 (short chain)
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
cloudy view from summit
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5617 ft / 1712 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5519 ft / 1683 m; Extra: 98 ft / 29m
    Loss on way in:98 ft / 29 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Route:Cabane Rambert; south face
    Start Trailhead:Ovronnaz  4491 ft / 1368 m
    Time:4 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5617 ft / 1712 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 5519 ft / 1683 m; Extra: 98 ft / 29m
    Gain on way out:98 ft / 29 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Route:South face
    End Trailhead:Ovronnaz  4491 ft / 1368 m



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