Ascent of Pointe Percée on 2010-06-19

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Saturday, June 19, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pointe Percée
    Elevation:9022 ft / 2749 m

Ascent Trip Report

We met at Geneva airport Saturday mid morning and were on the road before midday. The day was overcast and unpromising; we were due in Chamonix that evening; Andrew had been up Percee before but it would be a new Ultra for me and lay on our route, so we thought we'd give it a go.

At Col des Annes (1721m, car park just above (E of) the buildings) it was drizzling. We started walking at 13:10. At Refuge Gremusset it was gently snowing. The plan was to do the west face route, but the trail fork just E of the hut was invisible under snow, the only footprints led ESE, and before we realised, we were on our way up the Combe des Verts. We arrived at a memorial plaque: from here, green and yellow paint marks the south couloir route, which looked steep but OK - at least there were unlikely to be other parties today to knock stones down onto us; we had axe, crampons and rope just in case, so we headed up. The route is certainly steep - it would have been possible to reverse it but as height was gained the prospect of descending that way became increasingly unattractive and we hoped the upward route and the west face route (which Andrew had done before) were both in condition so that we could do the circuit. Higher up the gradient finally eases but there is considerable exposure in places. Before the final arete we were pleased to see the orange markings of the west face route; some more scrambling and we're at the summit. No sign of the mapped trig (maybe under a snow patch) - and no view as we were in cloud.

The descent is initially straightforward but further down, the orange markings are a little sparse and a big snow slope obscures some parts of the route, requiring some minor diversions; finally we had to descend the snow itself - steep, not in great condition and with cliffs below hence care required. After another rocky section, we descended to snow again, now below the cliffs and with a safe runout so we slid down a steepish section before walking down to the hut, where a workman was renovating some boarding.

We were back at the car at 19:40 and headed to Chamonix, to join Wynn, Steve, Becky and Alan for dinner.

This combination of routes is good - hopefully I'll get to do this superb peak again, on a better day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3474 ft / 1058 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3474 ft / 1058 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Grade/Class:YDS 3
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
    Weather:Snowing, Cool, Breezy, Low Clouds
Intermittent light snow; drizzle at trailhead
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3474 ft / 1058 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3376 ft / 1029 m; Extra: 98 ft / 29m
    Loss on way in:98 ft / 29 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:South couloir
    Start Trailhead:Col des Annes  5646 ft / 1720 m
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3376 ft / 1029 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:West face
    End Trailhead:Col des Annes  5646 ft / 1720 m

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