Alpinism: Grand Combin (Pennine Alps)

I really enjoyed the Grand Combin; nice mountain, good snow conditions, great views and we were only 3 climbers.

South Face of Grand Combin from Mt Vélan (© P. Gatta)
South Face of Grand Combin from Mt Vélan (© P. Gatta)

The two others were at skis and made a round trip skiing down the corridor. I skipped the skis this time and opted for a round trip thru the South Face, which means I had to climb Combin de Grafeneire, Combin de Valsorey and Aiguille du Croissant two times (both ways); a good training.

Valsorey valley (© P. Gatta)
Valsorey valley (© P. Gatta)

The route starts at Bourg-St-Pierre (1,676m) in Switzerland and follows the Valsorey river up to the Valsorey hut (3,030m).

Sunrise on Mont Vélan and Mont Blanc from Grand Combin de Valsorey (© P. Gatta)
Sunrise on Mont Vélan and Mont Blanc from Grand Combin de Valsorey (© P. Gatta)

From the hut, climb the East slopes to the Plateau du Couloir (3,658m). Climb the South face of Combin de Valsorey (4,184m).

Combin de Grafeneire from Combin de Valsorey (© P. Gatta)
Combin de Grafeneire from Combin de Valsorey (© P. Gatta)

From Combin de Valsorey go down to a 4,124m pass and climb Combin de Grafeneire, the highest peak at 4,314m.

Two climbers on the way down from Combin de Grafeneire (© P. Gatta)
Two climbers on the way down from Combin de Grafeneire (© P. Gatta)

Continue along the ridge to the Aiguille du Croissant (4,260m) and climb down the Mur de la Cote.

Aiguille du Croissant and Combin de Tsessette (© P. Gatta)
Aiguille du Croissant and Combin de Tsessette (© P. Gatta)

From there, climb to gentle slopes to the top of Combin de la Tsessette (4,135m).

Combin de Grafeneire seen from Combin de Tsessette (© P. Gatta)
Combin de Grafeneire seen from Combin de Tsessette (© P. Gatta)

From Combin de la Tsessette I came back the same way but there are other options Corridor (exposed to the seracs) or the Couloir du Gardien.

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