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Col de la Fenêtre

3 Valleys


Les Menuires

Vanoise Massif

A fine tour along the skyline between the Belleville and Encombre valleys.

Ski Touring Moderate

10 km
465 m
1.7 km
3-4 hrs
Low Point
1.4 km
High Point
2.6 km
Col de la Fenêtre Map

The traverse of the Col de la Fenêtre from La Masse to le Châtelard gives a fantastic day out on moderate terrain, with an infinite number of variations possible depending on snow, fitness, weather etc. The views of the far side of the Encombres valley and over towards the Lauzière range are spectacular and very different to the scenery of the rest of the 3 Valleys. Some forward-planning (or a good set of legs) will be needed to either drop a car at Le Châtelard, book a taxi or be ready for a walk on the road down and then back up to St Martin (about 1,5km).


From the summit of La Masse follow the piste down the ridge then skate towards the top of the Lac Noir chairlift (or where it used to be once it is removed) - a bit of side-stepping or walking will be needed before you can drop round to the Col de la Bache. From here skin or hike to the summit of La Gratte (often a good boot-pack in place if it hasn’t snowed for a while).

From here drop down to the left of the North face (the scene of several avalanche incidents including at least one fatality) and follow the ridge-line along to the Col and then summit of Geffriand - it is possible to continue along the ridge to the next summit but the track described drops down from here to ski the East facing slopes down to about 2000m, before skinning back up to the ridge at the minor summit at 2303m. It is possible almost anywhere along the ridge (or from the Gratte summit) to drop down into the Geffriand valley then skin back towards this summit which can give more skiing and less ridge-traversing.

From pt 2303 take a long descending traverse to hit the Col de la Fenêtre and drop through this onto the North-Facing slopes below. Staying skier’s right gives open skiing down to about 1600m, where a snowed-up road will get you down to the last meadows above Châtelard.



Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Low Exposure (E1)

1 out of 4

Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between December and March


  • Ski Safari

Equipment required

  • Skins

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area