Haute Maurienne Ski Tour

Val d’Isere and Tignes backcountry skiing

HM1

This is an excellent tour in the back country behind Val d’Isere and Tignes. The Haute Maurienne hangs between the Southern and the Northern Alps. It is a particularly snowy place and holds a numbers of records for the depth of snowfall. Although many seasoned French tourers love this area, relatively few foreigners have explored its savage beauty, perhaps because, unlike its neighbours, it cannot boast a 4,000 metre peak. But this is to ignore the multitude of summits over 3,500 metres which help turn this trip into classic example of a ski tour. It’s a circular route, leaving from the the well known piste skiing base of Val d’Isere. It’s ironic that this resort area is so well visited and yet on the doorstep lies the Haute Maurienne with its empty cols, impressive summits and wild, open spaces. This fine scenery and the high quality of the accommodation combine to make this trip something really special.

¤ A circular tour beginning and ending in Val d'Isere
¤ Ascend L’Albaron at 3637m
¤ Lovely skiing just behind the resort crowds

Dates:
Grade: D2:A3:F2
Price: 1395€pp includes accommodation, dinners, breakfasts, picnic lunches, transfer from Geneva and return.
Meeting Point: Geneve
Extras: Lift passes, hire gear.
Contact: Sian

Itinerary

Day One: We organise a taxi or bus to Val d’Isere where we spend the night. Meet with your guide for a briefing on the week ahead.

HM2Day Two: We set off from Val d’Isere using the cable car to gain easy height. There will be the option of a warm up ski on piste before we head up to the narrow pass, Col de l’Ouille Noir from where it is a straightforward off piste ski down a gentle valley to the Refuge Carro. We will use the early arrival time to practise with the avalanche transceivers.

Day Three: From the refuge this morning we ski over a moraine. This is basically a long traverse during which we seek to maintain altitude while continuing in a straight line about 500 metres below the Col de Trieve. It’s a place where you need to be careful and follow the guide’s advice as there are potential avalanches from above from high plaques of wind blown snow. Next we climb the 500 metres to the pass up a 40 degree slope before continuing on a widely crevassed slope and skiing down the 150 metres to the Col de Disgrace. From there we descend a further 500 metres to the Refuge des Evettes.

HM3Day Four: On this day we again start on glacier but heading now to Italy. From the hut we climb to the Sella Albaro (3474) and then head on down to the petites murailles d’Italie (the little walls of Italy!), and from there on down towards our final hut – a descent of about 800 metres . This part of the route can feel exposed in places. Our way comes out below the hut and we then have a steep climb on crampons to arrive for dinner and bunks in Refuge Gastaldi for the night.

Day Five: This is a big day of a potential 1000 metres up and the same down again. We start on an easy slope to the Col d’Arnes. From here there is an optional extra climb to the Ouille d’Auberon at 3560. Alternatively we can head straight for the Refuge d’Averole.

haute-maurienne-bonneval-hiver-1Day Six: From the Averole Refuge we climb 1400m up to the Albaron summit (3637m), the last 30m with a fixed rope. Hopefully lovely views at the top before a descent towards Bonneval, with 2000m of superb descent to arrive in a typical old Savoyard village – well worth the visit.

Day Seven:  Now it’s time to head back to Val d’Isere. We start on steep slopes just above the village (depending on conditions we may have our skis on our back) to the Col des Fours (2976m). From here we ski all the way back down the ski resort, passing by the Refuge Fond des Fours (stop for lunch and a drink). Around 1100m ascent and 1100m descent for the day. A good finish!

Day Eight: Today you head back to Geneva to meet your return flight home.

Reserve your place

To book you can use the on-line booking system below - check the start date and the end date and then proceed. The system will ask for a deposit which you pay using PayPal. Or, if you prefer, you can email us directly (sian@pyrenees-mountains.com), ring directly on +33 5 62 92 81 52 or Skype: sian.grigg.

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