It’s the end of the season and in a desperate hunt for the last of the winter ice I hear of a non-guide book route up off the Cosmiques arete. Its high, its north facing, it could be perfect. Up on the first Midi bin we head straight for the interconnecting bridge and set up a rather airy abseil off it into the Cunningham couloir below. Its an interesteing way to start your day but its certainly the quickest way to the route.
Abseiling into the Cunningham Couloir, photo © Gavin Pike
4 Rappels down the couloir and you arrive at a fantastic mixed line that soars up to the Cosmiques Arete.
The pitches with green dots as belays
The first couple of pitches are nice and easy- a good warm up for what is to come.
On the second pitch, photo © Gavin Pike
The third pitch starts to get a little trickier as the ice stepens but it is short.
on the third pitch, photo © Gavin Pike
The crux of this climb is on the 4th pitch which takes you up into a tight mixed chimney affair. The key is to head out right under the jammed block and not try and squeeze underneath it. Its a really great pitch with lots of interesting sections and goes at about M5. there is lots of good rock pro to be had on this pitch so its got a well protected crux
Entering the crux of the climb, photo © Gavin Pike
The 5th pitch is a long ice pitch with a bit of mixed thrown in. Not more than about 80 degrees maximum (with maybe a small 85 degree step) its a great way to end the climb and takes you right up to the Cosmiques arete. There are lots of placements for ice screws and rock pro here so once again its very easily protected.
On the 5th pitch, photo © Gavin Pike
From the top of the route you find yourself just below the crux of the Cosmiques arete and so can happily move together and make the Aiguille Du Midi in about 15/20 mins. The great thing about this route is that its so fast as you dont have to abseil or downclimb off it. As well as that, its also a reallly fun route to do as a warm up for some of the harder climbs around the massif. Highly recommended