Alpinism: Aiguille du Refuge – Vive la jeunesse (Mont Blanc Massif)

Vive la jeunesse is a short and convenient route for a half day climb. Perfectly located 20 minutes above the comfortable Argentière hut.
The route offers a mix of cracks, slab and overhangs on a perfect red granite even though I have a preference for Doux Refuge, a bit easier but more pleasant to climb.

Glacier d'Argentière (© A. Gatta)
Glacier d’Argentière (© A. Gatta)

This route is graded TD+/6c+/200m, 6 pitches and has been opened by D. Boroch, E.,P. and A. Moro in 2015. The are a few bolts when necessary and take 1 racks of friends #0.3 to #3.

Approach: go straight above the hut, heading toward the right side of the Aiguille du Refuge. Vive la jeunesse is just right of Doux Refuge.

Vive la jeunesse: pitch #1 (© A. Gatta)
Vive la jeunesse: pitch #1 (© A. Gatta)

Route description:
Pitch #1: 6b, start on an easy crack/corner, pass right of a small Gendarm, then climb an overhang (crux).

Vive la jeunesse: pitch #2 (© P. Gatta)
Vive la jeunesse: pitch #2 (© P. Gatta)

Pitch #2: 6b, the first part is easy up to a shelf, then follow a crack and go left to pass the overhang.

Vive la jeunesse: pitch #3 (© P. Jouany)
Vive la jeunesse: pitch #3 (© P. Jouany)

Pitch #3: 6c+, start with a technical slabs (bolts) up to the left side of the overhang (bolts). After the overhang, climb the vertical crack (don’t go right to an old anchor). The crack is sustained, with some grass/mud and not so easy to protect.

Vive la jeunesse: pitch #3 above the roof (© A. Gatta)
Vive la jeunesse: pitch #3 above the roof (© A. Gatta)

Pitch #4: 6b+ start followed by nice crack in 6a.

Vive la jeunesse: pitch #5 (© A. Gatta)
Vive la jeunesse: pitch #5 (© A. Gatta)

Pitch #5: 5c+, nice and easy pitch.

Pitch #6: we traversed left and joined the last anchor of Doux Refuge where we abseiled down.

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