Combe à Marion

La Clusaz & Le Grand Bornand

An exciting ski tour in one of the wilder parts of the Aravis.

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
3.7 km
Ascent
765 m
Descent
765 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.5 km
High Point
2.2 km
Gradient
45˚
VIEW ON MAP
Combe à Marion Map

Description

The Col des Aravis is a well known landmark and has featured in the Tour de France several times. Having driven up it in winter you are likely to be cured of any desire to cycle up it, but there's no doubt that it is a spectacular and somewhat desolate place.

This tour starts from the Col itself (where there is ample parking) and climbs up a steep bowl and then into a hidden couloir. The skin from the Col gradually steepens as it climbs towards a small section of trees, and then stays consistent at 30 - 35 degrees for most of the way once past the treeline. (The angle is ideal for avalanches, so only come here when you are sure that the route will be safe.)

For the final few hundred metres of ascent you are skinning up a wide couloir with high rock walls either side of you and the top section of this couloir is, at times, so steep (35 - 40 degrees) that bootpacking might be easier than skinning.

At the top of a couloir is a broad col from where you can enjoy great views across the peaks of the Beuafortain. Once you're done soaking in the view, clip into your skis and reverse (roughly) the ascent route, moving left or right of your skin track throughout to find the best snow and terrain.

Keep a bit of a speed for the final section back to the Col!

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, December

Features

  • Bowl
  • Couloir
  • Tree Skiing
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area