Mont Blanc : the Payot Ridge, unrecommended alternative to the Goûter couloir

Mont Blanc. Au centre gauche on distingue le couloir du Goûter, l'arête Payot est la ligne qui sépare l'ombre de la lumière . ©J. Chavy

In order to find an alternative to the Aiguille du Goûter couloir and its infamous landslides, the Petzl foundation and several scientists have carried out a diagnostic on the Payot ridge, another route leading to the Goûter. Could this Payot ridge become the solution to access the Goûter ? Nothing is less certain.

The Goûter couloir is an obligatory part of the normal route of Mont Blanc. It is known to be subject to frequent landslides, making it risky for climbers. An alternative to the couloir exists, on the left, and is called the Payot ridge. But is it really a good alternative? According to the analysis and the diagnosis made by the Petzl foundation and two scientists from the GEOLITHE engineering consultancy, this Payot ridge is not a good alternative to climb the Goûter and reach the Mont Blanc. Here is why.

Extract from the rock fall diagnosis of the Payot ridge in connection with the practice of mountaineering. © Petzl Foundation

Can the Payot ridge be a safe and technically accessible access route
for the normal mont blanc route ?
The experts say no.

The team’s initial question was simple: “Can the Payot Ridge route be a safe and technically accessible access route for the public who use the normal mont Blanc route?” After having established a rigorous assessment, based on the expertise of a geologist and the crossed views of three mountaineers, the experts decided in the negative. 

The diagnosis of rockfall