Often used as an approach route to the Capucin Couloir and the Breche Du Tacul. From the Aiguille du Midi descend the Vallee Blanche to the Salle a Manger. From here head up the Periades glacier for a short way before bearing left. The Col Du Tacul is the lowest point at the top of this valley. The last slope to the Col is the steepest section and often requires crampons. Ski back down the same way to finish at Montenvers.
Grade: AD, 4.1
Gradient: 40° – 45° for 200m.
Height gain: 920M
Height of Col: 3337m
This extremely popular tour is a great place to start in the world of Ski Touring. The First climb up can be tricky on cold days when the slope or track is icey and can be a real test of your kick turns. The skiing is realativly straightforward for the most part and you’ll often find good snow on the final ski down to Le Beut.
From the top of Floria drag lift at Flegere ski down 100m and put your skins on. From here start the first climb up to the to the Col Des Aiguille Crochues (see picture in Gallery). There is often a track in this section. The final slope to the col is too steep for skining so it is advisable to put ski’s on you pack and climb up on foot (crampons advisable too). From the Col take off your skins and make a long traverse on the south facing slopes to the right. Be carefull on this traverse as you are above some quite large cliff bands and you are crossing under some large avalanche prone slopes (early start very advisable) You’ll pass the couloir which you climb up for the Glacier Mort. At the end of this traverse you will reach a large flat area at the bottom of the ridge you have skied parallel too. From here put your skins back on and start the final hike up to the Col Du Berard which is the lowest point at the top of the valley around to the right. From the Col Du Berard take of your skins and ski down into the massive Berard valley keeping on the right hand side of the stream all the way down to Le Beut. Don’t forget some money for a beer at the bar at the bottom of the ski slope and if you can remember one thing when you get to this Bar its that the Trains are at 38Mins past every hour back to Chamonix! The bar owners get very bored of this question!
In condition From: December to May
Grade: PD, 2.3
Height Gain: 480M
The Col between the Droites and the Courtes is an excellent “climb up, ski down” tour from the Talefre Glacier. The slopes are never more than 40degrees and is best skied before midday due to its South-West aspect.
Grade: AD, 4.1
Height gain: 1500m
Height of Col: 3733M
Another fun and interesting ski tour ending in the Berard valley which requires intermediate mountaineering skills. Also a great way of accessing the Col de L’Encrenaz. The skiing of the back is good and as per its neighboring col, the Belvedere, the north side holds good snow days after it has snowed and late into the season. This route has more of a mountaineering feel to it than the Col Du Belvedere and requires crampons for the last section of climbing to the col and often a 30m abseil off the back to access the north side where the descent begins. Follow the route for the Col Du Belvedere to the Lac Blanc refuge. From here head up and rightwards over small headlands to reach the Combe de Beugeant and the start of the climb proper to the col. Near the top of this combe you will reach a point where a vauge ledge system lead out left to a snowy saddle (which is the Col de Beugeant). This section is exposed and often icy so you will need crampons and an ice axe and some experience of using them both. There are a few bolts and pegs on the traverse and it is also possible to get some slings over spikes too. Its worth putting a rope on and moving together along this section if your not confident, THIS SECTION IS NOT TO BE UNDERESTIMATED!! From the col, depending on conditions, you can ski down the initial steep section (40° for 60m) or set up an abseil to get to a point where you can put your skis on.
The normal route down is heading out skiers left to join the large powder bowls that lead to the base of the Berard valley where you can ski down to Le Beut via a track on the right-hand bank of the river. There are also other ways down to the to right of this which weave there way through cliff bands and are slightly steeper in places. As mentioned before the col Beugeant is a great way of accessing the Col de l’Encrenaz where you can ski down to Le Beut or the Col des Montets. For this tour head far skiers right from the bottom of the abseil via a long traverse and 10m bootpack to low point on the ridge which is the Col de l’Encrenaz.
Height of col: 2807m
Height Gain: 900m
Aspect: South on ascent and North on descent.
When: January to May
The easiest route to and from the Summit of the Argentiere is a superb and popular ski mountaineering route. The difficulties are concentrated in the final 200m where often ski’s are left behind for the final climb up and down. Often completed from first lift of the Grandes Montets but more commonly from the Argentiere hut.
Grade: D, 4.2
Gradient: 45° for 150 m
Height gain: 1130M
Height of Summit: 3900M
This, the first stage of the Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route, is an extremely popular ski tour easily accessible from first lift at the Grandes Montet. The first section of the climb up is often very icy in the morning so ski crampons are a good piece of kit to have with you as the first section is the steepest. You can see the Col from the Grandes Montet Lift station. From the Argentiere glacier head up towards the col on the right hand side of the Chardonnet Glacier. The Climb up is about 770m from where you put your skins on. Ski back the Same way. This is also the starting point for the South Couloir of the Chardonnet (TD, 5.1) and the 3 cols.
Grade: PD, 2.3
Gradient: 35° for 250m.
Height of Col Du Chardonnet: 3323M
One of the best descents into the Berard Valley and an increasingly popular ski tour. Start from Top of the Floria drag lift at Le Flegere and climb to the Col Des Aiguilles Crochues. From here the couloir that you need to climb to reach the summit of Pointe Alphonse Favre is visible on the south face which faces the Col (see photo bellow). Make a short traverse down to the bottom of the couloir from the Col (5-10 mins). Climb the couloir directly to the ridge and head to the summit of Pointe Alphonse Favre which is rightwards along the easy ridge (crampons advisable). The descent heads directly down the north face from the summit and joins into the massive Berard valley after 400m or so. Watch out for cliffs on the way down!! Head rightwards to start then after the first steep section head back leftwards. Easy and pleasent skiing leads down to the Berard valley. Stick to the right-hand side of the river all the way down to Le Buet. Don’t forget to bring some money for a beer whislt you wait for the train back to Chamonix.
Possible from: January-may.
Average Time: 5-6 Hours
Grade: AD, 3.3
Gradient: 40° for 50 m
Height gain: 850M
Height of Summit: 2788M
A popular and aesthetic ski tour requiring some mountaineering skills. Described as a traverse here starting from La Flegere and ending at the train station in Le Beut. From the top of the Floria drag lift at Flegere follow a high traverse in the direction of le tour, traversing underneath a series of short cliffs to a small shoulder. Attach your skins and head up towards Lac Blanc and the Lac Blanc refuge. From here you can clearly see the Col with the Aiguille du Belvedere on the left with aesthetic ramp lines on its east face (can and have been skied, often with a short abseil at the bottom, if your quick and looking for a longer day then this could be a good option). From the Col you can ski back down to Flegere following your line of ascent with little to no difficulties but it is normal for teams to drop off the back into the Berard valley via the North-West face. This is one of the best descents in the Mont Blanc Massif and often holds good snow days after it has snowed due to the slope aspect. Often people will abseil the first 30m down this side because the snow can be scraped off and runneled and a fall would not be without consequence. The slope widens and eases after the initial 100m which is about 40°. From here you can follow down into the massive Berard valley. Following the track all the way down this valley on the right-hand side of the river will eventually bring you out at the Cascade du Berard and on to the Railway station where you get back to Chamonix on the Train which runs every hour and costs around 8 euro unless you have a Carte d’Hote. Don’t forget you beer money for the Bar at le Beut. Also if your curious why the land lady is annoyed about you asking what time the train will be there it’s because she gets asked 200+ times a day…. Perhaps this could help?
Total Height Gain; 420m
Grade; AD for traverse, F for there and back.
Equipment; Rope, Avalache Equipment, Crampons and Ice Axe could prove useful.