Col de la Bûche

Aiguille du Midi

Chamonix

A beautiful and varied run with a tricky ending.

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
4.8 km
Ascent
562 m
Descent
980 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.8 km
Gradient
54˚
Col de la Bûche Map

From the mid-station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (Plan d'Aiguille), follow signs for the Lac Bleu and start skinning eastward and under the Aiguille du Plan and Blatière. Cross over several small moraine walls (might require a couple of very short boot packs) and head towards the Nantillons Glacier. Drop over one final short but steep moraine wall and onto the Nantillons Glacier. Skin across the foot of the Nantillons Glacier to reach the South West Couloir of the Aiguille L'M. Locate the ladders coming down from the looker's right side of the couloir. Climb up these ladders (crampons advisable) and continue up the 200 meter 40 degree couloir above it. This brings you to the Col de la Bûche. Ski down the east side (Mer de Glace side). The top entrance is steep, but the angle and exposure lessens further down the couloir. Ski out under the North Face of the Grand Charmoz trending skier's right and towards the summer access trail for the Envers des Aiguilles Hut. The start of the ladders are marked by a lone tree before the slope steepens. In very good conditions it is sometimes possible to ski the moraine wall just to skier's left side of the summer trail and ladders. Do not try and ski the moraine unless you have scouted it beforehand from the Mer de Glace! You could find yourself on very steep frozen rubble with nowhere to abseil from. Unfortunately the sinking of the Mer de Glace will only continue to worsen this situation. It is therefore usually advisable to follow the summer trail down onto the Mer de Glace. This will involve down climbing steep ladders and exposed rock slabs and may necessitate some abseiling depending on conditions and the skill of the group.

Difficulty

Extreme

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

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.

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

January, February, March, April

Features

  • Cliffs

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area