Pointe de la Sana, NW Face

Espace Killy

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Tignes and Val d'Isère

Vanoise Massif

A wild face which quickly funnels into a narrow couloir leading back to Tignes via the Vallon de la Leisse.

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
5.9 km
Ascent
214 m
Descent
970 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
2.6 km
High Point
3.4 km
Gradient
49˚
Pointe de la Sana, NW Face Map

This fantastic couloir drops 350 vertical meters almost straight from the summit of Pointe de la Sana, down into the Leisse valley.

Description

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.

Attach your skis and drop down in a southerly direction for around 45 vertical meters to reach the top of the face which is found on the very obvious Col below the summit. You’re never fully committed to this line as you drop down to the Col, so if you see that avalanche conditions are not favourable, then it’s easy to just turn around 180 degrees and head back down in a south east direction towards the Pisset Valley.

If snow conditions are safe for this descent then buckle up as you’ve got an awesome descent ahead of you! The first turns at the top of this face are usually the best ones, where you’re likely to find shaded, cold & untouched snow on the NW aspect with the Grande Casse watching over you on the opposite side of the valley.

The face then quickly becomes a couloir with only a short narrow section presented to you in the middle of this descent. Make sure none of your party are waiting in this narrow section when descending as this face frequently produces large sloughs which will flush any helpless skiers out.

The couloir then finishes, but the 5 skiing continues on the apron slopes which lead onto 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.

Difficulty

Extreme

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.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June

Features

  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area