Gervasutti Pillar, Mt Blanc du Tacul (TD, 900m)

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Date of climb: 25 Aug 2017
Climbing partner: Kyros Rossidis, Rob Powell
Topo for Pilier Gervasuttihere. See also the description here.

Gervasutti Pillar is situated in the E Face of Mt Blanc du Tacul, on the right-hand side of Supercouloir.

This famous classic climb is never too hard (up to 6a max on rock), but very long! Once you finish climbing the 550m of the pillar on an amazing granite, you still have to find your way trough some mixed and loose rock up to the E summit of Tacul ( 4247 m) for another 350m. Should not be underestimating!

A good topo for the Gervasutti Pillar you may find here. Credit (c) Fourmont&Duhamel.

Route finding and some simul climbing is the key if you want to climb the route in one day.

Our story: 

Together with Rob (South Africa) and Kyros (Cyprus) we took the last cable car to Aig du Midi on 24 Aug and slept at the small bivouac close to Cosmique hut.

In the morning of 25 Aug, we left the bivouac at 03:30 am and passed the bergshrund at 05 am. Rob started to lead the first ice pitch in the dark (good to have 2 ice axes here for the leader!)

The first ice pitch takes you 20-30 m up to a ledge, from where you start traversing in the right and climb the start of the pillar for 3 very nice rock pitches. You will find good belays on bolts here, which is a good thing as the start of the Pillar might be prone to rock fall.

The rest of the Pillar goes on as a poetry on very good rock, with good cracks to place the gear:

In the upper part of the pillar, there are 3 mixed pitches on the N face which in “camptocamp” description says it’s the key section for the route. I found them quite mentally demanding.

The next section after the proper Pillar involved a lot of route finding. We had to check the Topo and read the description several times to see exactly where to continue. And the route seems that never comes to an end…

Finally we reached the E summit of Tacul (4247mm) and started to descend via the normal route, taking advantage of the last light to make it safe to our bivouac.

Thanks Rob and Kyros for such a nice climb, a real adventure!

Gear we had: 2 x 60m half ropes,  a rack of cams up to no 3, a set of wires, 2 ice-axes for the leader (useful on the first ice pitch), rock shoes for the pillar if you want to be fast.

  • The end.