Ascent of Tour Salliere on 2010-06-30

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Tour Salliere
    Elevation:10561 ft / 3218 m

Ascent Trip Report

We had fairly sketchy info for this summit, with a grading of F+ via route via the Col de la Tour Salliere i.e. pretty easy. If there is an easy route we failed to find it!

Wednesday, 05:45 - from the south, there is parking just before the road ends at Lac d'Emosson, with the trail initially passing through 600m of tunnel (dimly lit), then following a surfaced road for 2km (fine views to Mont Blanc and Aiguille Verte) to some reservoir related buildings. A rougher track continues with several undulations and some gully crossings. Once past the reservoir the path climbs, keeping R of a gorge, occasionally traversing steep slopes, cairned in places but sketchy at times. Being fairly early in the season we were on snow from some way below the glacier. The glacier itself had a few tiny crevasses but was pretty harmless. We understood that the standard route climbs the W ridge hence we bypassed the Col de la Tour Salliere and ascended steep snow slopes to gain the broad snow ridge well above the col. From here the W ride looked unclimbable but the W face had several snow gullies. We roped up and selected the southernmost (in retrospect the next gully left may have been a little easier). It involved steep snow (50deg+) and some pretty poor rock. We eventually emerged near the ridge and traversed L(N) across more steep snow slopes, eventually gaining easier snow before a steep chossy scramble led at last to the ridge just south of the summit. This was clearly not F+ territory!

We enjoyed a cloud-free summit (although nearby P600s Haute Cime and Grand Muveran were in cloud), then investigated the W ridge briefly in descent (no sign of a route, very loose, very steep) before returning to the summit and descending the NW ridge which we understood to be PD. This provided a decent way down although there were 3 abseil points suggesting a fairly challenging route. Rock was very loose at times although also having some good quality scrambling; lots of exposure; we used the rope occasionally. There are a few bolts protecting the first pitch but no fixed ropes.

After gaining the col before Le Dome, we glissaded down to the glacier (soft steep snow) then descended via the Col de la Tour Salliere to regain our upward route. The route-march out seemed pretty long, with fairly heavy rain towards the end of the walk.

In all, a fine peak but it would have been a lot more enjoyable had we taken the NW ridge in ascent.

We enjoyed dinner at the Hotel du Col de Forclaz before retiring to Champex ready for an early morning ascent of the much easier La Catogne.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4770 ft / 1452 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4770 ft / 1452 m
    Round-Trip Distance:16 mi / 25.7 km
    Grade/Class:PD, YDS4
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Mostly sunny, rain on walk-out
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4442 ft / 1353 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4114 ft / 1253 m; Extra: 328 ft / 99m
    Loss on way in:328 ft / 99 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:Emosson and W face
    Start Trailhead:La Guelas  6447 ft / 1965 m
    Time:7 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4442 ft / 1353 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4114 ft / 1253 m; Extra: 328 ft / 99m
    Gain on way out:328 ft / 99 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:Emosson and NW ridge
    End Trailhead:La Guelas  6447 ft / 1965 m
    Time:5 Hours 15 Minutes

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