Getting good information on the easier “three star routes” in the Mont Blanc Range is complicated, but a new list of over 100 selected climbs will help mountaineers find route descriptions within a number of guidebooks to the area.
The latest relatively-comprehensive guidebook is now 20 years old, and there is a multitude of “selected climbs” on the market. In particular, Jean-Louis Laroche and Florence Lelong have written five books, (published by Glenat), with chosen routes often appearing in more than one of their books.
Based largely on the Laroche-Lelong selections, Gus Morton, an Alpine Club member living in the Chamonix Valley, has created a list of selected climbs. In the form of a table, the list includes the book in which the description is to be found, and the route number given in that book. Where these routes are described in certain other selected climbs guides, he has included the route number used by that book. In the case of Alpine Club Guidebooks, he has used a colour code to differentiate between the two sections in Volume 1 and the three sections of Volume 2.
Overall grades are generally D/D+ and below. Chosen rock climbs have difficulties up to F6a, though the only ones listed of this standard in the "high mountain" are Géant Branche, and the Swiss Route on Grand Capucin.
In the table, the upper end in terms of high mountain seriousness might be the South Ridge of the Aiguille Noire, the top end of ice climbing the Albinoni-Gabarrou Couloir on Mont Blanc du Tacul, and on mixed ground Mont Blanc's Innominata Ridge.
Morton has also listed other selected climbs guides, of which he is aware but did not use in preparing the table.
The main purpose of the table is to allow alpinists to know in which guides they can find information on a chosen climb. These books are available for consultation at the Office de Haute Montagne in Chamonix, where limited photocopying of some of the older guides may be possible. The table also provides a comprehensive “wish list” for the moderate alpinist.
As with all such lists, there will be some errors, for which Morton apologizes in advance.
Bibliography (Books referred to in the list)
SMB2: Sommets de Mont Blanc: Laroche-Lelong: Glenat 2010: French
SMB1: Sommets de Mont Blanc: Laroche-Lelong: Glenat 2002: French
AMB: Ascensions au Pays du Mont Blanc: Laroche-Lelong: Glenat 2000: Fr
APMB: Alpinisme Plaisir Mont Blanc: Laroche-Lelong:Glenat 2006: Fr and Eng
ECMB: Escalades Choises, Mont Blanc: Laroche-Lelong: Glenat 2009: Fr
100Reb: Mont Blanc 100 Best Routes: Rébuffat: Baton Wicks (several editions)
AC: Mont Blanc Massif Vols I and II: Alpine Club 1990: English
Vol I Section 1 (Black); Vol I Section 2 (Green); Vol II Sec 1 (Red); Vol II Sec 2 (Purple); AC Vol II Sec 3 (Blue)
Alp It: Monte Bianco, le classiche: Bassanini: CDA Vivaldi 1998: Italian
Concerning the grades: black is "alpine" i.e. mixed terrain, blue is mainly snow/ice, and red is mainly rock (usually bolted).
Other Books, (not used)
Le Mont Blanc Vols 1 + 2: Piola: Glenat 1991
Topos de Mont Blanc Tomes 1 + 2: Piola: Editions Equinoxe 1993
Snow, Ice and Mixed Vols 1 + 2: Damilano: JM Ed 2006
Exploits au Mont Blanc: Roch: Nouveau ed Trelingue 1987
Grandes Courses: Lebande: Arthaud 1980
Escalades au Mont Blanc: Suchet: Arthaud 1988
Chamonix Granite: Vogler: Franck 1989
Guide Vallot, La Chaine du MB 1+ 2: Lebande (GHM): Arthaud 2004(1987)
Envers des Aiguilles: Piola: 2007
Aiguilles Rouges 1: Piola: 2008
Aiguilles Rouges: Perroux: DP Ed 2001
Plaisir West: von Kanel: Filidor 2006
Download the list of Recommended Easier Routes in the Mont Blanc Range
You might also like to check out Gus Morton's second list 80 Fun Grade F5 routes in the Mont Blanc region
And Mid-grade icefall climbing in the Mont Blanc region
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