Combin de Grafeneire, SE-Ridge from Refuge Amiante | Alpinism | Combin de Grafeneire | Swiss Alpine Club SAC

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Hiking or climbing on routes in alpine terrain requires good physical health, meticulous preparation and technical skills in mountain sports. The routes presented here are undertaken at one’s own risk. If you want to safely practice mountain sports, taking training courses run by experts is highly recommended by the SAC. All the contents of the SAC Route Portal are put together with utmost diligence. However, the Swiss Alpine Club and the authors cannot guarantee that the information provided here is up-do-date, correct and complete. Therefore, the SAC and the authors cannot be held liable for possible errors.

Combin de Grafeneire, SE-Ridge from Refuge Amiante (Normal route) Combin de Grafeneire 4314 m

  • Difficulty
    PD+
  • Ascent
    6–7 h, 1400 m

This is the normal route from the south. Increasingly chosen in preference to routes on the northern side of the mountain, which are threatened by ice fall and serac collapse. The higher start from the Refuge Amiante is another good argument for tackling the Grand Combin this way. In addition, it provides the opportunity to make a traverse of the massif's two highest peaks in one go. Covered with firn early in the season, it offers a pleasant, varied ascent (as well as descent) route. Later, as the talus and scree starts to emerge it becomes more laborious. For the traverse you can also descend to the Cabane FXB-Panossière on the 'Voie du Gardien'. The route leads from Ref. Amiante to the east under the Col du Sonadon and from there over the SE ridge.

Route description

Refuge Amiante - Col d'Amiante

From the Refuge Amiante (on the map: Ref. Chiarella CAI, 2982 m) climb northwards over scree between two moraines. These lead you slowly leftwards (NW) onto an east facing firn/ snow flank behind the 'Petite Tête de By'. Climb this, not too steep or arduous, while arcing slowly rightwards (NE) once more towards the obvious Col d' Amiante. The last bit up to the col being scree and then a short rocky step.

Col d'Amiante - shortly before Pt. 3385

On the Swiss side, descend to the flattening of the glacier, pass low to the right of the Grande Tête de By and head north. Cross a crevasse zone (caution: crevasses running in the direction of travel) and climb back up to about 3300 m before contouring round to the start of the ridge (pt. 3386). For the last section, to join the ridge proper, you will be climbing NE over firn and scree covered rocks. ¾ hrs.

Pt. 3385 - Start of the SE-Ridge

Follow tracks rightwards over the scree. This brings you out onto the ridge, which runs SSE, at P. 3385. Now follow the ridge through mostly rubble and broken rock until it merges into the south flank of the mountain. Continue up and left on the flank, before finally breaking out right on reddish slabs near the top to join the main SE ridge at around 4000 m. 1¾ hrs.

Start of the SE-Ridge - Combin de Grafeneire

Man umgeht einen Gendarmen links, danach folgt man der Gratkante im Firn. Diese führt zu einem felsigen Aufschwung bei ca. 4200 m, 45 Min. Man erklettert diese Stufe durch einen Kamin, der sich unmittelbar links der Gratkante öffnet (2, 3; fester, aber manchmal vereister Fels). Ein heikler Schritt erlaubt, eine Terrasse knapp unter dem Grat zu erreichen. Es ist möglich, aber nicht empfohlen, den ganzen Aufschwung auf einem Band links zu umgehen. Der Grat ist noch felsig und danach wieder mit Firn bedeckt. Er führt direkt unter die grosse Wechte, die den direkten Ausstieg auf den Gipfel verwehrt. Die Passage befindet sich 30 m weiter westlich. Man folgt einem Band aus feinem Schutt nach links. Steil ansteigend gelangt man auf den leichten Gipfelhang und auf ihm zum Combin de Grafeneire (4314 m), 1¾ Std. Variante: Diese alternative Route überwindet die grosse, dreieckige Wand, welche die Basis des SE-Grats bildet. Man erklettert das westliche (am wenigsten steile) Couloir, indem man leicht links hält, um den SE-Grat über einen Sekundärkamm zu erreichen (ZS+).

Descent

Down the route of Ascent. (Alternatively you can make a traverse to Grand Combin de Valsorey)

Additional information

Departure point
Waypoints
History

O.G. Jones with Antoine Bovier and Pierre Gaspoz, 10. September 1891.

Nina Alschwang, Adrien Morend, 25. July 1944 (Variant).

Author

Bernhard Rudolf Banzhaf

Bernhard Rudolf Banzhaf has climbed countless peaks at home and abroad, including all 4000ers of the Valais Alps. He has been organizing trekking trips in the Himalayas and in Europe since the early 1980s. He was a member of the SAC's central committee between 1995 and 2003.

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