Grande Motte, South Face Intégrale

Espace Killy

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Tignes and Val d'Isère

Vanoise Massif

An extremely challenging descent where a fall is completely out of the question for almost the entirety of the route

Freeride Skiing Extreme

Distance
3.1 km
Ascent
264 m
Descent
1.2 km
Low Point
2.4 km
High Point
3.6 km
Gradient
47˚
Grande Motte, South Face Intégrale Map

You’re consistently exposed by huge cliffs below the length of this beautiful path through the steep and imposing south face of the Grande Motte. Aside from the exposure warnings it’s a beautiful descent in the right conditions.

Description

To reach the couloir, take a steep bootpack up a small gully that is found straight ahead of you as soon as you step off the Télécabine (there’s usually a fixed rope in this gully) which then leads to a stunning ridgeline that ascends steadily to the summit of the Grande Motte at 3653m. Be aware that there are frequently large cornices on your left (south side of the Grande Motte) as you're bootpacking up the ridge - stay further right if there are any questions regarding cornice stability on your left hand side.

Carefully ski a short distance in a south west direction to reach the top of the couloir which is found directly below the large funnel you reach after the short ski south-west. The top section of this funnel is almost flat, take a break here and try to assess conditions in the couloir as once you’re in the couloir itself, the gradient never eases.

It’s best to take the narrow couloir at the top of this face, instead of following the funnel down as it’s hard to see if the funnel is complete or has a broken rocky section to it lower down. Once you’re in the couloir, the gradient never relents so a solid focus is required turn after turn after turn…

You’re in epic settings throughout the length of this couloir with the vast south face of the Grande Motte stretching out either side of you.

The key to this couloir is to stay right - try to squash any thought of taking the left hand variants when the couloir splits into two. If you stay right, you can't go wrong but you can get yourself into a lot of trouble if you try take a skier's left hand variant.

Once the couloir has ended, you can open out the turns and head straight down towards a small lake to attach your skins. Then take the same skin track out as all other routes that finish in the Leisse Valley - leading back to the Génépy piste or Leisse chairlift.

This one is a beauty - enjoy.

Difficulty

Extreme

Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

Extreme Exposure (E4)

4 out of 4

In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

March, April, May

Features

  • Cliffs
  • Couloir
  • Glacier
  • Walk Required

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area