The Dent du Géant remained unclimbed during the golden age of alpinism, and was a much-coveted peak in the 1870s, repelling many parties who attempted it mostly from the Rochefort ridge. In 1880 the strong team of Albert F. Mummery and Alexander Burgener tried to force a passage via the south-west face but were repelled by a band of slabs, causing Mummery to exclaim 'Absolutely inaccessible by fair means!'
On 28 July 1935 the Austrian climbers Herbert Burggasser and Rudi Leitz first ascended the vertical-to-overhanging 160 m-high south face. It was the first climb in the Western Alps systematically aided by the pitons and artificial techniques that were already in use by climbers in the Eastern Alps.
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