Queyras Traverse Day 1 - Saint Véran to the Refuge de la Blanche.

Briançon

Molines-en-Queyras/Saint-Véran

A classic couloir combined with epic views make this a classic day.

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
7.6 km
Ascent
632 m
Descent
933 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.3 km
High Point
3 km
Gradient
45˚
VIEW ON MAP
Queyras Traverse Day 1 - Saint Véran to the Refuge de la Blanche. Map

Description

The Queyras is a hidden gem of a mountain range, with fun but not particularly extreme terrain, no glaciers and excellent mountain huts. The region is also very peaceful and the lack of glaciers and high altitude peaks make this is a good place to start your hut-to-hut ski touring career.

This is a day with many possible variations, and the one shown here is the toughest and best. It's possible to skin straight up to the Refuge de la Blanche via a jeep track which leads from Saint-Véran village but this is only really worth doing if the weather is poor. If at all possible, ski tour to the summit of the Pic de Château Renard and, if skills, conditions and weather permit, ski the North couloir. The line here is drawn taking in the north couloir but if you or it aren't in suitable condition, there's still a lovely ski to be had by skiing south-east from the summit.

Ride the Saint-Véran lift system to the top of the Téléski du Grand Serre and then from there skin up the beautiful broad ridge which leads to the summit of the Pic de Château Renard. Ski south-east off the summit and then swing left and drop into the atmospheric North couloir. It's not super steep (a shade under 40 degrees) and is wide enough that it never feels too technical. Ski down, enjoying every turn, and then when it opens up drift out right and ski down to the foot of a shallow valley. Put skins on again and climb easily up to the Col de Longet.

Ski south-east from the col down lovely open slopes to reach the jeep track from Saint Véran. Follow this easily up to the Refuge de la Blanche via the fascinating Chapelle de Clausis, which is generally locked but looks amazing even from the outside. Pilgrims really must have been dedicated to build a chapel in such an isolated spot!

Speaking of isolated spots, the Refuge de la Blanche is in an amazing position and is surrounded by great looking ski terrain. If you arrive in the hut with time and energy remaining, there are plenty of options for a short tour in the afternoon. Regardless of how you pass the afternoon, enjoy the peaceful ambience of the hut and then get an early night before the crossing to the Refuge Agnel.

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

Features

  • Bowl
  • Couloir
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area