Le grand parcours
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The major classic of the mountain, up the striking ridge.
Photo this page. See also route 9 on previous page and general view on page 26.
1) to 4) 5. Starting at the name on the rock, four pitches lead up the Aiguille Bertine to the col at its top.
5) Easy scrambling leads up to grassy ledges below a steeper wall.
6) to 8) Take the easiest line up cracks and slabs to reach ledges below the steeper upper section. (Trace Noire crosses here so familiarise yourself for the descent). There is no fixed gear on this section. It can be by-passed by walking around to the right.
9) 5. Climb up cracks to a belay beneath a prominent roof.
10) to 13) Four more pitches up the superb ridge lead to big ledges beneath the long upper crack.
14) 5. Tackle the wide crack chimney past plenty of fixed gear and a couple of awkward moves.
15) 5+. Follow the left-hand branch on the 'Y' past a tricky section to a good ledge.
16) 5. Another steep pull up flakes gains a wider gully system then continue up and back right to a belay below a rib. There are bolts on other routes that cross this pitch which can be clipped.
17) 4. Climb the rib to gain easy ground and the summit.
Descent (See diagram on page §§) - Walk along the summit ridge towards the Croix de Provence to the west.
Option 1 - Pick out a steep gully with some chains and drop down this to gain the Trace Noire.
Option 2 - Continue to a large cave/tunnel on the left - Le Tunnel du Garagäi - a short distance before the Croix.Scramble through this (steep and slippery, but easy enough) to the open slopes, then bear left down scree to pick up black paint-marks and cairns that indicate the Trace Noire. Follow this as it descends eastwards and cross the route of ascent to drop through the cliffs at the short rocky step of Le Pas de l'Elephant (look out for his footprint). DO NOT be tempted to try and descend any earlier - cliffs (and big ones at that) run below the full length of the Trace Noire.