Grand Balme Couloir P4

Espace Killy

Tignes and Val d'Isère

Vanoise Massif

A true classic; P4 should be on the to-do list for all experienced ski mountaineers in the area.

Freeride Skiing Extreme

Distance
1.2 km
Ascent
126 m
Descent
478 m
Low Point
2.3 km
High Point
2.8 km
Gradient
50˚
Grand Balme Couloir P4 Map

A stunning atmosphere throughout with consistent steep and narrow skiing down to the valley, you’d think that this route would be heavily tracked out moments after the last snowfall, but the mountaineering experience required means that this gem keeps the crowds at bay and welcomes only the committed.

Description

Ski down the large funnel at the top of the line until the slope is broken by a small cliff band. Make sure you are 100% certain on the snow conditions before you drop into this funnel because you do NOT want to release any snow slabs at this point and be taken over the cliffs below.

3 pitons sit at the top of this cliff band allowing you to perform a short 30m rappel to reach the snow slope below. These pitons can be fairly loose, depending on ice coverage around them, so always bring a spare piton or two and some cord in case you feel as though you need to backup the current setup.

Once the rappel has been made, you’re left with an awesome couloir that makes the shape of an inverted Y, with a choice of two different descents when you reach a ridge in the middle - both exits are of a similar difficulty!

Sometimes snow conditions dictate an abseil from the top to assess the snow conditions. There is an obvious rock that skiers used to rappel from, but this has become dislodged, so it is now best to perform a buried ski anchor for the first skier to check the conditions before committing.

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

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, December

Features

  • Cliffs
  • Couloir

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area