Travels Abroad, 1962-3, Chapter 5 – Aiguille de Blaitiere

With David down, I found an Englishman to climb with, who I recall only by his first name  – Peter. On July 29, we headed east from the Plan des Aiguilles and ascended the Glacier des Nantillons, which separates the Aiguille de Blaitiere from the Aiguilles Grands Charmoz and Grepon, with the Blaitiere as our target for the day.

Postcard Aig. Charmoz to Fou

Aiguilles Grands Charmoz, Grepon, Blaitiere etc.. The Glacier des Nantillons lies between the first-named and the Blaitiere (postcard)

On the Glacier des Nantillons, looking up at the Pointe Central and the Spenser Couloir

On the Glacier des Nantillons, looking up at the Pointe Central and the Spenser Couloir of the Blaitier

My notes on the backs of these photos state that we were following a route called the Rocher de la Corde, but I can find no mention of such a route searching around on the Internet. I know our descent was by the Spenser Couloir, because David’s journal notes a comment I made to him on our return, with respect to the Spenser Couloir, that: “All that glitters is not snow”, meaning that we had encountered a lot of ice. But Peter and I certainly did some rock climbing on the route, as the following photos evidence. My guess is that we followed a route along the left-hand ridge, as seen in the above photo.

Aiguille des Grandes Charmoz, from the Blaitiere

Aiguille des Grandes Charmoz, from the Blaitiere


Les Periades along the foreground ridge, and the Grand Jorasses, from the Blaitiere


Peter, on a classic “au cheval” (horseback) lead


Peter follows a nice traverse, protected by a runner placed over a horn of rock. Note Peter’s ragged trousers – typical wear for British climbers.

The website “” provides this info on the Spenser Couloir climb

  • Min / max altitude:

    1046m / 3522m

    Elevation gain / loss:


  • Difficulties height:


  • Configuration:


  • Main facing:


  • Route type:

    return trip / abseil down

  • Duration:

    1 day

  • Global rating:


My next climb was the Traverse of Mont Blanc, seen in the following chapter.

About Evensteven

I am a photographer and author, and live in Embudo, New Mexico, alongside the Rio Grande. I have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: The Grand: I have also published six additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: 2. Coyote Buttes: 3. Four Cornered, the Land: 4. Four Cornered, The Rivers: 5. Rio Marañon: 6. Rio Grande:
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