Aiguille de Triolet

Aiguille de Triolet

12696 feet/3870 meters
Haute-Savoie/Aosta, France/Italy, Europe

Last update: April 15th, 2002
   © Copyright by Rahel Maria Liu

Aiguille de Triolet

Aiguille de Triolet Northface
(Picture credit to: © )


The Aiguille de Triolet is situated as the last big mountain of the long line of impressing summits and northfaces on the glacier d'Argentière. Near the Aiguille de Triolet, three important ridges come together:

1. The line of the Courtes, Droites and Aiguille Verte with northern direction.

2. The ridge with the Aiguille de Talèfre, Aiguille de Leschaux and the Grandes Jorasses to the south.

3. The ridge with jagged peaks to the Mont Dolent with East-direction.

Above the Argentière cirque, bounding at its remotest and most hidden pint the great wall of northfaces of the Aiguille Verte , Droites and Courtes, some thousand metres high, very difficult, very awe-inspiring, is the face of the Triolet, which unites a tumbling glacier and a rock wall. From the summit there are superb views.

The first climbers of the Aiguille de Triolet were J. A. G. Marshall, U. Almer and J. Fischer on 26. August 1874.

During a long time, the classic northface route of 1931 was important. It has been counted for a long time as the most difficult ice tour in the Alps. Even today, it is a tour with which ice climbers can increase their reputation. The other routes are seldom climbed. This classic route from 1931 was done by R. Gréloz and A. Rochs, technically very gifted climbers from Geneva. At that time, the main problem of the face was a problem of conditions; this is a problem which has lessened over the years from the first ascent. Of course, on any snow and ice route, success always depends on the quality of the snow; nevertheless, these days, with the technical advances made possible by front-point crampons and by ice-pitons and screws which allow good belays and abseils (both of which were impossible earlier on), it is possible to undertake this climb even if optimum conditions do not prevail everywhere on the face. It is this, as well as the Face's intrinsic beauty, which explains why there are a number of ascents every year.

As is the case for any glacier face, the northface of the Triolet changes year by year. The snow, annually accumulating above and slowly compressed to form ice, moves downwards, adds weight to and extends the rows of seracs. The slope is very steep, 53° at the bottom and even steeper in the middle. The angle towards the top depends on the route taken; you can go straight up as did A. Contamine and L. Lachenal, but normally you traverse right above the big serac barrier and then either come back left to get to the summit or exit directly onto the ridge of the Petites Aiguilles du Triolet.

Routes Overview


  • AD, III, 500 hm, to Brèche 2,5 h, from here to the summit 3,5 h ( Eberlein )

  • 55°, partly 60°, 700 hm, 6,5 - 8 h ( Vanis : The most beautiful one of the beautiful ones!)
  • 4 - 8 h (face), 800 hm ( Rébuffat ): excellent technique and a sound balance, physical and mental, are necessary!)
  • V 2, 60°/65°, 800 hm ( Damilano/Perroux )

  • TD-, 58° (steepest passage), 54° (average), 6 - 8 h from the foot (on 3120 m) ( Eberlein )



Getting There

1. To the Aiguille du Triolet

  • a. You can come from the Ref. d'Argentiere.
  • b. You can come from the Ref. de Couvercle.
  • c. You can come from Ref. Dalmazzi.

2. To the Ref. d'Argentiere
  • In order to reach the hut, you have 3 possibilities:
  • a. From Croix de Lognan (1970 m) in 3 - 3,5 h, to Croix de Lognan with cable car from Argentière: From Croix de Lognan, you go on foot up over the morainecrest till about 2250m. Than you continue horizontally to the glacier, which you follow on the orographically left side. After about 1 km, the glacier becomes steeper and more torn. You climb onto the morain of the Rognons, first over a slippery shelf, than via a marked way which you follow until you reach the upper end of the ice break. You climb the glacier with SE-direction and reach over the moraine the hut.
  • b. On foot from Argentière in 5 h: From the ground station of the cable car, you follow the wide aisle of the ski-run. You leave it at the height of about 1750m and reach the way of the middle station of the cable car (2 h). Now, you need 3 h to the hut.
  • c. From Aiguille des Grands Montets (summit station of the cable car from Argentière; last train up: 4:45 p.m.) in 2 h: From the summit station, you go via a stairway to the Col des Grandes Montets. You traverse a bergschrund (maybe with the help of a rope) and go up the steep hang to the Glacier Rognons. You go with ENE-direction on the western side along P. 3000 to P. 2754m. You go down southeastern to the glacier d'Argentière, which you reach above the icebreak. From here in 2 h to the hut.
  • You reach Argentière by train (from Martigny/CH or Geneva or Annecy - TGV to St. Gervais), bus (from Annecy, Geneva, Grenoble, Courmayeur, Aoste and Turin) or car from Geneva or Martigny (Switzerland) via Vallorcine and the Col des Montets.

3. To the Ref. de Couvercle
  • a. You reach the hut from Montenvers in 3,5 h over the glacier. From Montenvers to the starting point of the hiking way to the Ref. d'Envers des Aiguilles: You have to follow the way with direction to Les Echelles which goes slightly down to the western side of the Mer de Glace. But before you enter the Glacier, you have to follow the way on the western side of the glacier for about 20 min. Now you have to go up the glacier first more on the western side, then just through the middle with SE direction to Les Moulins. Now you do not follow the marking signs to the moraines but continue with S and then E direction to the steep passages at Les Egralets (partly a little bit like a way). You go the steep passages up and via a good way through grass hangs to a moraine, from which you reach the hut soon.
  • b. You can reach the hut via a new climbing track below the Flammes de Pierre and the ends of the Aig. du Moine to the Ref. du Couvercle. But because of ice avalanches, some passages of this route have become very dangerous. You have to ask for the actual conditions. 3,5 h from Montenvers to Couvercle.
  • To Montenvers:
  • a. With the special Montenvers-train from Chamonix. The train goes the whole year except from the middle of November till the middle of December. The first train starts during the season often not before 8 a.m., the last train down not after 6.30 p.m.
  • b. Or on foot from Chamonix on the marked way via Biollay in 2,5 h.
  • You reach Chamonix by train (from Martigny/CH or Geneva or Annecy - TGV to St. Gervais), bus (from Annecy, Geneva, Grenoble, Courmayeur, Aoste and Turin) or car from Geneva or Martigny (Switzerland) via Vallorcine, the Col des Montets and Argentière.
4. To the Ref. Dalmazzi
  • You reach the hut from the end of the road near Arnuva. First, you follow the way with direction Col Ferret. At the first sharp bend, you left over the Doire (there is a sign). You follow the way over the moraine to its end. Now you go right over rock (a little bit marked) up through a groove. You climb the exposed way up. Short below the hut, you climb through a chimney. (I/II). 2,5 h.
  • You reach Arnuva (1769m) via the road of the Val Ferret (Italy) from Courmayeur via Planpincieux, 1564m, and la Vachey, 1642m. During summer, there goes a bus to Arnuva.
5. You reach the Chamonix Valley by train :
  • a. From Martigny (Switzerland) via Vallorcine.
  • b. From Geneva (airport) via Anncey (TGV till here) and St. Gervais.
6. You reach the Chamonix Valley by bus :
  • From/via Annecy, Geneva, Grenoble, Courmayeur, Aoste and Turin
7 . You reach the Chamonix Valley by car :
  • a. From Geneva (from the NW) on the A40 till St. Gervais and from here on the N205.

  • b. From Martigny (from the NE, Switzerland) via Vallorcine and the Col des Montets on the road no. N506.
8. You reach the Val Ferret (Italy) by bus or car:
  • a. From Chamonix through the Mont Blanc Tunnel from the NW.
  • b. From Torino (from the SE) on the A5 via Villeneuve.

When To Climb

  • It depends on your capabilities ... (summer and winter).

  • Camping and/or Accomodation

  • There is a campingplace in Chamonix .

  • Mountainhuts

    Ref. d'Argentière (2771m):

    The Ref. d'Argentière is a modern big hut with a view directly to the northfaces on the opposite side: from Aiguille Verte to Mont Dolent. It is situated near the corner where the Glacier d'Argentière and the Glacier des Améthystes come together.
      according to Eberlein :
    • 120 beds
    • serviced from 15. March to 15. September
    • winter room with 35 beds
    • phone: +33-450 531692
    • Email:
    • internet: Ref. d'Argentière
    • to the Ref. d'Argentière :
    • a. from Croix de Lognan (1970 m) in 3 - 3,5 h, to Croix de Lognan with cable car from Argentière
    • b. on foot from Argentière in 5 h
    • c. from Aiguille des Grands Montets (summit station of the cable car from Argentière) in 2 h
    2. Ref. du Couvercle (2687m):

    The Ref. du Couvercle is situated very nicely in the region of the Aiguille du Moine. It is visited frequently. Instead of the old hut, a new big house was built in 1952.
      according to Eberlein :
    • 137 beds
    • serviced during the season
    • phone: +33-450 531694
    • internet: Ref. du Couvercle
    • ascent to the hut from Montenvers in 3,5 h via moraines or via the Balcon du Mer de Glace in 3,5 h
    3. Ref. Dalmazzi (2590m):

    The Ref. Dalmazzi (also called Ref. du Triolet) is located below the relatively lonely glacier du Triolet.

    Mountain Conditions and General Information


  • Institut Géographique National 
  • Books

    A. Aiguille de Triolet mentioned:

  • Hartmut Eberlein: Mont-Blanc-Gruppe. DAV-Gebietsführer. 9th ed. Munich 2000.
    ISBN 3-7633-2414-3
    (to order at )
  • Gaston Rébuffat: The Mont Blanc Massif. The 100 Finest Routes. London 1996
    ISBN 1-898573-03-4
    (to order at or at )
  • Erich Vanis, Im steilen Eis. 80 Eiswände in den Alpen. Munich et al. 1980.
    ISBN 3-405-12158-2
    (to order at )
  • Damilano/Perroux, Neige, Glace Et Mixte: Mont Blanc.Editions Ice 1996.
    ISBN 2950986803
    (to order at )

    B. Aig. de Triolet not mentioned, but interesting information about the region:

  • Laroche/Lelong: Die Gipfel des Montblanc. Munich 1999.
    ISBN 3-405-15693-9
    (to order at )
  • Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, Viertausender der Alpen. 11th ed. Munich 1998.
    ISBN 3-7633-7427-2
    (to order at )
  • Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, The High Mountains of the Alps.
    (to order at )