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Grande Sagne South Couloir


A stunning line in the high Écrins

Ski Touring Severe

8.6 km
1.6 km
1.6 km
6-7 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
3.4 km
Grande Sagne South Couloir Map

This is a big route in the high Écrins which delivers great skiing surrounded by big mountains and glaciers.


As the road to Ailefroide is normally closed at Pelvoux, park here then skin up the road and spend the night in the winter room at the Refuge Cézanne (which has no heating - pack accordingly). From there you can climb up the route and ski back down to Pelvoux the next day, or you can do it as a round trip via the Glacier Blanc refuge this involves a long skin in if leaving from Pelvoux.

If you are unsure of snow conditions it's probably best to go up and down the same way. From leaving the refuge head towards the Glacier Noir and then cross it, climbing onto the moraine ridge. Climb up the ridge (or the gully behind it) until you get to the Ravin de l’Armaille, turn into the ravin and go up it. It's a mixture of wide open slopes and small gullies that are tight and closed in by rocks. Near the top is a very tight section.

Ski back down the couloir taking care in the tighter sections. At the bottom you follow the gully and then cross back over the Glacier Noir, then make the traverse back to the refuge to collect your stuff. From here it is a pole or ski back across the flat section and then descend the road to the parking. In Spring they open the road to a Spring parking near the refuge, so the route can be then done in a day.



Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

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.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between January and May


  • Couloir
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area