Dente del Gigante
from 01/06 to 30/09
Departure:Pontal d'Entrèves (1300 m) cable car to Point Helbronner then Torino Refuge (3375 m)
Arrival:Dente del Gigante (4013 m)
Difference in level:638 m.
How to get there
Motorway toll booth at Courmayeur, then carry on towards the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Stop close to the departure point for the Skyway Mont Blanc Cablecar at Pontal d’Entrèves.
The Dente del Gigante is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable peaks in the Mont Blanc Massif. Its unmistakable profile attracts not only mountain climbers but all those who come to Courmayeur or Punta Helbronner to admire the spectacular scenery offered from the top of the mountain. The climb up the normal route is made easier by a series of fixed ropes that make the Dente accessible to a large number of climbers.
The climb can be completed in a day by taking the first cablecar. If you are unsure whether you will manage to keep to the timing established by the lifts, you can book into the Torino Refuge.
Description of the route
From the Torino Refuge, cross the Gigante Pass plateau and this will take you to the Aiguilles Marbrées base (to be avoided on the left); carry on up the glacier in the direction of the dente; one reference point is the clear snowy stream that cuts through the rocky crag under the Gengiva. This will take you onto the upper ridge of this rocky buttress heading directly up the snowy stream (45°) or staying on the easy rocks on the left bank. From this secondary ridge you can follow a system with gentle stretches that is not difficult, of streams and broken rocks mixed with the snow, moving obliquely to the right until you come to the main ridge and the base of a large gendarme, that should be circumvented on the right. Follow the ridge of rocks mixed with snow with some logical detours until you come to the snowy basin of the Gengiva, at the base of the southern rock face on the Dente del Gigante.
From here, climb down a few metres to the left and start into the road through cracks (spit) on a large detached pillar. Circumvent it and climb back up another 5 metres until you come to a large nail. Once again cross over to the left horizontally for about a dozen metres until you find yourself in a basin of fairly broken rocks with beautiful cracks; follow it for about forty metres crossing slightly over to the left and finding yourself on two beautiful, comfortable terraces where the fixed ropes start. Follow it diligently until you come to the top of the Punta Sella, then come down at the next fork and you will reach the Punta Graham where the statue of the Madonna is located.
Two options for the descent: along the upward itinerary or – if it is overcrowded – in double rope along the southern rock face, on solid fix fastenings and top-roping.
This itinerary requires experience of high mountains and it is recommended that you get a mountain guide to accompany you.