263 Couloir

Alpe d'Huez

A fantastic off piste adventure, in serious terrain

Freeride Skiing Difficult

Distance
4.5 km
Ascent
36 m
Descent
937 m
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.8 km
Gradient
44˚
263 Couloir Map

Though not really a true couloir, this is nevertheless a majestic route, finding a skiable line through very serious terrain. Expert mountain navigation skills are a prerequisite to safely finding and following the correct line, so don't attempt this unless you are well prepared and experienced. The approach is quite long with several flats and slightly uphills sections. From the Dôme des Petites Rousses ski north-east down towards the small Lac du Milieu, and follow the left-hand shore. Continue just east of northwards down the shallow outflow valley to the Lac de la Fare, and ski past this on its left shore too. Follow the shallow outflow valley from this which winds down to a small valley coming down from the Grandes Rousses on the right. To the left this valley quickly deepens and drops away into cliffs, so cross the small valley and make a rising leftwards traverse, heading just north of west, across the small rocky hillside opposite. After passing the crest of the hill, continue westwards, keeping the deepening valley to your left, and heading for the left shoulder of the edge of the plateau ahead. As you reach the edge, an obvious wide ramp/bowl will become visible angling down to the right. Ski down this this ramp, and continue bearing rightwards, past a couple of steepenings, to stay in the base of the bowl as it narrows and steepens into a wide gully. As the angle eases at the bottom of this section, traverse out rightwards across an obvious sloping shelf to avoid cliffs at the base of the gully. As the traverse approaches the next gully coming down from the right, pick a careful line through the rocks (possible small jump required here), until it is possible to ski straight down, clear of the bottom of the face and directly down the Cascade piste below.

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

  • Cliffs
  • Walk Required

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area