Col Armand Charlet Northeast Couloir

Arve Valley

Chamonix

A spectacular hanging couloir, this line is a 1000m TD alpine route that has seen only three known descents

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
4.1 km
Ascent
1.4 km
Descent
1.4 km
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
2.6 km
High Point
4 km
Gradient
67˚
Col Armand Charlet Northeast Couloir  Map

When viewed from the Argentiere Glacier the upper hanging slopes of the north-east side of the Col Armand Charlet offer a dramatic and tantalising setting in which to make turns. However, the upper slope is guarded by three pitches of technical ice and mixed terrain. The line is very steep and sustained and rarely in condition. There have been three known descents, first by Emanuel Ballot in 1993, then Davide Capozzi, Julian Herry and Luca Rolli in 2013 and most recently Ben Briggs, Jesper Peterson and Mikko Heimonen in 2016.

Description

From the top of the Grand Montets cable car, ski down the very start of the Point du Vue piste before quickly ducking the rope and heading skier's right. Take the high traverse across the Glacier des Rognons and around the lowest toe of rock coming down from the Aiguille Verte. Skin up towards the bottom of the Col Armand Charlet. The maximum difficulty of the climbing was reported to be grade 4+ ice or M4-5 depending on the line taken. This normally requires three abseils on the descent.

Difficulty

Extreme

Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

Extreme Exposure (E4)

4 out of 4

In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June

Features

  • Cliffs

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area