The Giant’s Tooth

Earlier this week Joel, Ali and I headed up to attempt one of Chamonix’s classic alpine challenges, the Dent du Géant (or the “Giant’s Tooth” for those who don’t parle français). The Dent is an exceptionally aesthetic peek that soars out of the long ridge line defining the the French-Italian border and is one of Chamonix’s most recognisable and coveted peaks.

Our original plan was to grab a lift up high via the Aiguille du Midi in the mid-afternoon, find ourselves a nice spot to camp beneath the peak that evening then go and attempt to climb the peak the following morning. However, when we met at the Midi at 2pm Ali suggested scrapping this plan and heading over to climb the peak there and then. Joel and I weren’t convinced at first, being more mentally prepared to spend the afternoon eating lots of food and doing bugger all. However, Ali’s persistence paid off and he soon had us on board. Ultimately we figured it was a win-win situation. If Ali was right, we’d have the peak all to ourselves in some glorious late afternoon sun. If Ali was wrong and this turned into a cold, dark epic, Joel and I could at least spend the evening reminding Ali of what a muppet he is.

As it turns out, Ali’s actually a bit of a genius. Come 6pm we were at the base of the peak with not another soul in sight. Climbing warm(ish) rock in the evening sun, it was great fun and one of the most enjoyable day’s out climbing I’ve had in a long time. We made the summit just as the sun set and after a few quick rappels down the south side we donned head torches for the descent. With a bit of loose rock about the descent took us a little longer than planned but with no early start needed the following day we weren’t bothered.

The next morning we woke up at a civilised hour to see dozens of climbers streaming past our tent as they rushed over to be first on the peak. Packing up our camp site, we headed in the opposite direction to the nearby Helbronner cable car for a breakfast of fresh croissant cremas washed down with fine Italian capuccinos. I think I could get very used to this approach to alpinism!

Dent du Geant-1

The Giant’s Tooth in all its glory!

Dent du Geant-3

Joel starts up the Burgener slabs and makes his way towards the summit.

Dent du Geant-4

Ali at one of the incredibly scenic and comfortable belays.

Dent du Geant-2

Joel gets ever closer…

Dent du Geant-5Standing around at the belays is almost as good as the climbing. It’s hard not to be blown away by the views on the route.

Dent du Geant-6 After 100m of slab climbing, we made our way onto the summit ridge just as the sun started to set.

Dent du Geant-7 Ali tops out on the first of the Dent’s two peaks with Mont Blanc in the background.

Dent du Geant-8

Joel joins Ali on the first summit as they make their way over to me on the second, and slightly higher, true summit.


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