Contamine Couloir

Aiguille du Midi

Chamonix

A great alternative to the Spencer: slightly steeper and narrower.

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
512 m
Ascent
305 m
Descent
305 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
3.1 km
High Point
3.4 km
Gradient
63˚
VIEW ON MAP
Contamine Couloir Map

Description

Follow the same access as for Spencer Couloir- 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 up a little further until under the first rock wall you come to. Transition to boot packing and climb up a brief steep and rocky section often involving very faceted snow (tiring boot packing). The angle decreases before steepening again up a 45 degree couloir. After the couloir, it is normally possible to transition back to skinning before reaching another steeper (sometimes icy) slope. The Contamine Couloir branches off right from near the top of this steeper slope and is sustained at 45-50 degree for about 300 metres and very narrow. The very top is often icy. Ski back down the same way.

NB, as of summer 2017, a section of blank rock slab has opened up in the upper section of the Nantillons Glacier due to the recession of the permanent ice there. If there is not a good build-up of snow covering it, this could be problematic.

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

March, April, May

Features

  • Cliffs

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area