Tsanteleina West Face

Albertville

Tignes and Val d'Isère

Fantastic skiing on a perfectly positioned glacier, a great full-on day covering a huge variety of terrain.

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
8.8 km
Ascent
37 m
Descent
1.7 km
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
3.6 km
Gradient
46˚
VIEW ON MAP
Tsanteleina West Face Map

Description

This ski tour begins on the summer road which leads out of Le Fornet. Start to ascend this road in a north east direction for a short distance, before breaking off and joining the summer path that leads up to the Réserve Naturelle de la Bailletaz. Once in the nature reserve (the terrain flattens out when you arrive), head in a north east direction and ascend up the Glacier de Court dessus - you should start to get a view of the south face of the Tsanteleina from here.

Once at the foot of the south couloir, take your skis/board off and bootpack straight up the couloir (crampons and walking axe advised). A fantastic ridge awaits you at the top of the couloir, with brilliant views of the north face of Tsanteleina and down into neighbouring Italy. Ascend the ridge in a westerly direction to stand on the 3,601m summit of Tsanteleina.

The summit is frequently wind scoured and rocky, so it's usually best to walk back down the ridge you ascended before putting your skis on at the top of the south couloir. Once at the top of the south couloir, keep walking in a westerly direction around the large rocky buttress in front of you. Once on the west side of this buttress, you can put your skis on and get ready for the awesome descent down the Glacier du Santel.

The top of the glacier starts fairly steep and quite exposed above a large rocky band below, so take your first few turns easy until you thread your way through the rocky band to put yourself on the glacier and a slightly more mellow gradient.

Head towards a short north facing ramp to get yourself off the glacier and heading down into the Réserve Naturelle de la Grande Sassiére. Keep skating, skiing and poling your way down this valley until your reach the finish point in Le Recluaz where you can either hitch or have left a car with which to drive home.

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

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

January, February, March, April, May

Features

  • Bowl
  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area