Col des Droites North Face

Arve Valley

Yet another big 5.4 in the Argentiere Basin

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
2.3 km
Ascent
983 m
Descent
983 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.7 km
High Point
3.7 km
Gradient
61˚
VIEW ON MAP
Col des Droites North Face Map

Description

First skied by Eric Monnier in July of 1980, it is sobering to think that in the 70s and 80s conditions were often optimal for steep skiing mid summer. Climate change induced summer heatwaves have been taking their toll everywhere, and the relatively modest elevation of most of the Argentiere Basin's north faces make them particularly susceptible. During the summer of 2017 much of the permanent ice cover on the north faces of both Les Droites and Les Courtes disappeared.

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 and down the Glacier du Rognons. Take care to watch out for some large crevasses on the upper section. Keep to skier's right of the Rognon itself (a large rock island). This soon brings you down onto the Glacier d'Argentière. Skin up and to the left of the toe of rock separating the north face of Les Courtes from north-east side of Les Droites. Climb up the couloir and onto the hanging face. It is possible to exit rightwards across the serac and onto the col, but more common these days to start to climbers' left side just under the final seracs. Ski back down the same way and out down the Argentiere Glacier.

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

April, May

Features

  • Face
  • Cliffs

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area