Ascent of Pointe Blanche on 2006-09-01

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Friday, September 1, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pointe Blanche
    Elevation:7999 ft / 2438 m

Ascent Trip Report

Pointe Blanche, 2438m, P825m; Pic de Jallouvre, 2408m, P148m

Map: 1:25k: 3430ET

Stats: 975mH, 11km

Time: 2 Sep 06, ascent 3h to Pic, 1h to Pointe, descent 1h

Start: from SE, Col de Colombiere, car park

Route: mapped path to mouth of couloir (1950m), paintmarked via ferrata on L following ledge to gain S shoulder of the Pic (la Cuchat). Follow path W, then climb S ridge of the Pic, bypassing difficulties. On reaching wall, traverse E to find wide steep ledge with paintmarked scrambly route (unmapped) ascending crags then following fine S arête to summit. Mapped “red” path leads W, descends N then leads E below N cliffs to Col du Rasoir. Paintmarked route (unmapped) ascends the Pointe diagonally to gain ridge just W of summit. Return to Col du Rasoir, then follow mapped path (steep gravel, scree descent then good track) back to Col de Colombiere.

Difficulties: many passages of scrambling, nothing technical provided paintmarked route followed closely. Descent from the Pointe a bit daunting in places. Scrambling generally similar to scrambling on the Black Cuillin, Scotland, although much easier than the hardest there. Was comfortable solo. Descent SE from Col du Rasoir was initially intimidating, but taking to the scree at point where route steepens and turns S, it is straightforward.

Trig point: Pointe: 15cm granite block on cement, X on top, IGN and other script on side faces.

Notes: Not for the faint hearted. The most continuously interesting route out of approx 40 during two weeks spent in the French Alps, with two of the best summits, and great views. Cross marks summit of the Pointe. Several parties visiting the Pic, by the mapped route, apparently approaching mostly via the longer route from the N, i.e. les Frachets (recommended by Terry Marsh), thus avoiding the steep descent SE from Col du Rasoir. No-one showing interest in the Pointe, although this is the higher of the pair. The Pointe ascent comes c/o Terry Marsh (100 Walks in the French Alps, Hodder & Stoughton): the Pic ascent route was a chance discovery. Pair of Alpine Accentors on S arête of Pic, giving close views; Chamois below. Rock Thrush (I think) heard singing on ascent from Col de Colombiere; 2 Ibex seen on descent.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2707 ft / 825 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2707 ft / 825 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.8 mi / 11 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2707 ft / 825 m
    Distance:4.3 mi / 7 km
    Route:from Col de Colombiere
    Start Trailhead:Col de Colombiere  5292 ft / 1613 m
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2707 ft / 825 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:from Col de Colombiere
    End Trailhead:Col de Colombiere  5292 ft / 1613 m
    Time:1 Hours 

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