July 17th 2009

Mont Maudit- Kuffner Arete

The Kuffner is a great classic of the Mont Blanc range. Its technical difficulties are pretty low but the views are incredible all the way from the start of the Fourche bivouac. The view from the Fourche is one of the best in the range as you get to peer over the massive expanse of the South face of the Mont Blanc.

To get to the Fourche bivi takeas about 2 hours from the Helbronner lift. There is normally a track going up towards it but otherwise you just want to make a bee line for the Cirque Maudit, passing under the Tour Ronde north face, and head towards the easy couloir that leasde to the Frontier Ridge and the bivi itself. The Bivi can be a littl ehard to locate as its actually on the Itlaian side of the ridge so you wont be able to spot it until you get to the ridge- in deep snow you may not even be able to locate it by sight.

From the Fourche you step straight out onto the route and head up the frontier ridge. You end up climbing over some pretty easy mixed ridge ground that, again, is normally well tracked. Sunrise will catch up with you and illuminate the massive expanse of the Brenva face on your left as you are climbing up.

Sun rises over the Mont Blanc

Two thirds of the way up you will get to the crux of the route which is the Pointe Androsasse. Its easy to place yourself as you will have just passed the well known view below.

Rob Jarvis and client on the snow arete before the Pointe Androsasse

The Pointe Androsasse just involves a traverse over rock which is well protected and pretty easy terrain.

Traversing beneath the Pointe Androsasse

Passing back up to the arete, Pointe Androssase in the background

Passing back up to the arete, Pointe Androssase in the background

Once up past the gendarme you just keep moving on up the ridge until you top out.

Mont Blanc and Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey in the background

Nearing the top of the arete

From here you can either head down to the col between the Tacul and Maudit or keep heading up snow aretes for the summit itself. Be careful here though if snow conditions are dodgy as there will always be people passing underneath you for the Mont BLnac and this area can carry nasty windslabs

Yoshiko Mayazaki on the final snow slopes up to the summit, Gavin Pike

The final ridge up to the Maudit, © Gavin Pike

The Alpine Exposures coffee table photo book