Pyramide du Tacul, east ridge

Pyramide du Tacul is a satelite to the Mont Blanc du Tacul on its east side. The east ridge or east arête of the Pyramide du Tacul is the normal route. It is graded D- and a not too difficult rock route on fine granite. It is number 20 in the Rébuffat book of the hundred fines routes in the Mont Blanc Massif.

We got on the first cable car up to midi from Chamonix and walked to the start of the route half way between midi and Helbronner. The walk from midi took a little over an hour and with some pfaffing around I think we hit the first pitch sometime around 9 a.m. It should be possible to do the route in one day from midi and back, but you’d have to be a lot quicker than we were (we were quite slow). The walk back from the bottom of the route to midi is at least two hours and it got really warm in the afternoon, so be prepared to suffer if you wanna do that. We left most of our gear on the rock ledges at the bottom.

The climbing is nice and varying and always exposed with nice views over the Mer de Glace. The normal start is up the easy terrain on the left side of the ridge which is followed by a traverse to the right to reach the ridge. After the traverse climb a slab on the ridge and then stay slightly to the left of the ridge following cracks with some rusty pitons. Probably after the fourth or fifth pitch you reach a big right slanting ledge with a belay at the top left. Climb the cracks to the right, crossing to the right side of the ridge. This is supposed to be the crux of the route at about 5a. Climb the slabs by following some cracks on the right side of the ridge to the summit.

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Slabs on the upper part of the route

We abseiled from just east of the summit, abseiling slightly diagonally to the right (east), finding an anchor about 30 m down, then a big ledge which we traversed eastward to find another anchor and from there it was just a couple more abseils straight down.

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For most of the climb we didn’t make use of the fixed gear for belays. We climbed a little longer pitches and when using the fixed belays, we backed them up with some extra protection since most of them were crusty pieces of cord sitting there for some time.

The rock is really good and there are plenty of cracks to place protection and no loose rock. A fine route.

Rack

We had a fairly large rack with about 10 friends ranging between sizes 0.3 – 3 (BD camalot equivalent) and a set of about 12 nuts. The gear that was used was mostly the medium to large friends and large nuts. There’s absolutely no need to bring the really tiny gear since there are lots of nice big cracks.

Double ropes are necessary for the abseils. 50 or 60 m would be a good choice.

Video

Here’s a video of our climb.

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