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Pointe de la Sana, NW Face Direct


Vanoise Massif

Steep, consistently exposed and tricky route finding - one for the seasoned experts.

Ski Touring Extreme

482 m
0 m
360 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
3.1 km
High Point
3.4 km
Pointe de la Sana, NW Face Direct Map

“You skied that?!” - A frequent reply from friends when looking at this route from the Grande Motte Télécabine station after you inform them that you’ve just descended the face ahead of them.


This north west face requires deep snow coverage to even think about descending and it's best to wait for April/May when the snow depth is at its optimal and avalanche conditions are perfect (ie. you're 100% certain of stability). It’s advised to get a good look at this descent from the top of the Grande Motte funicular station the day before to see the best route through the rocky steps, which is constantly changing depending on snow conditions.

This face falls directly from the summit of Pointe de la Sana, into the Leisse valley. Accessible from the summit of Pointe de la Sana which is reached by starting at the top of the Grand Pre chairlift and taking the Tour du Mont Roup ascent path, going onto the Barmes de l'Ours ascent path when it veers off right at the rocky pass.

Before reaching the Col de la Barmes de l'Ours which splits Pointe de la Sana and Rochers Barmes des l'Ours, leave the ascent path and head right towards Pointe de la Sana. You’ll begin to feel the altitude as you start to climb to fairly steep south east face of Pointe de la Sana, so make sure you’re feeling fit! The climb isn’t anything technical, but it’s recommended that you’re happy with completing kick turns on a fairly steep gradient, on an aspect which is usually icy in the morning.

To start this descent, attach your skis/board and slowly head in a north easterly direction along the ridgeline that leads from the summit. The NW face will then be revealed below you.

The open top section of this descent rewards you with some fantastic, exposed turns before you need to meander your way through the first rocky step (your route through should be planned based on snow conditions). Once this step is passed, you’re then onto the next snow shelf where solid jump turns are required to control your descent down to the next narrowing which is found in the middle of the face.

Once the narrowing is passed then all technicalities are over and you can relax a little before opening your turns out into the Leisse valley. Once you and your party have dropped into the Leisse Valley, try as best as possible to keep your height and head in a north west direction to join back onto the return skin back to the Génépy piste.



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

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.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between April and May


  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area