Length of climb – 150m in 5 pitches. 2-3 hours climbing, 6-7 hour day.
First climbed in 1920, this is a beautiful route in a superb mountain environment. It allows many climbers to experience the wonder of the high altitude Alpine environment for the first time.
The Aiguilles Crochues comprise 3 summits in close succession and are traversed from south to north. The southern summit is at 2840m, the central at 2834m and the northern at 2837m.
It is a sharp airy ridge with amazing views of the Mont Blanc range to the south. It is a scramble/climb on exposed, but easy alpine rock terrain.
High season – mid June to the end of September
4 quickdraws, 50m rope, half set of nuts, friends 1+2, 4 slings, helmet, ice axe, crampons may be needed early season.
From the village of Les Praz, take the Flégère téléphérique and then the Index chairlift to 2400m.
From the top of the Index lift, go north following the track in the snow which leads, after 10 minutes, to the base of the climb to the Col des Crochues 2704m.
The route leaves the path on the right then climbs steeply heading slightly left. Helmets are needed here due to rockfall from preceding parties. The upper section is 45-50˚. Go left up the grassy spur, rather than up the loose scree. This leads to a path which takes you to the Col des Crochues. 1 hour.
The climbing begins 60m from the col on the right with a 30m corner leading to a good ledge. From here, fairly easy climbing leads to the line of the arête.
Then descend by abseil 20m and follow a succession of small steps to regain the arête and reach the south summit 2840m. Continue along the arête leading to the north-east summit. The start is fairly narrow to begin with but not difficult as good footholds on the northside and good handholds on the south. Later, the arête widens into a broader path to the summit at 2837m.
The descent is from the first summit. Climb down the north side across loose rock to the snow. Continue south-east across snow and rock to the path to Lac Blanc. A quick stop at the restaurant for refreshment, then follow the well-marked path back to the Flégère lift.