Circumnavigation of the Pain de Sucre

Briançon

Pontechianale

4 cols in 2 countries and some great skiing around a stunning mountain!

Also in Hautes-Alpes, France

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
8.3 km
Ascent
925 m
Descent
924 m
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
2.6 km
High Point
3.1 km
Gradient
45˚
Circumnavigation of the Pain de Sucre Map

With descents of all sorts and on all aspects, this is an exceptionally varied day around a gorgeous peak right in the middle of the Queyras. It makes a wonderful day tour from the Refuge Agnel and is a good way of turning the Traverse of the Queyras from a 3 day trip into a 4 day one.

Description

The day starts with the ascent up to the Col Vieux and then a nice north-facing descent off the back of this. After this head due east and climb up to the Brêche de Ruine - the second col of the day. The ski off the Brêche de Ruine is one of the highlights of the day and takes you down a short, narrow runnel and then down some gorgeous, north facing snow. The only negative factor about the descent from the Brêche de Ruine is that it isn't long enough!

Put skins on and head due south to the Col d'Asti, just east of the Pic d'Asti. There's a bit of bootpacking required to reach the col but nothing too steep or technical. Drop off the Col and descend diagonally skier's right down some nice, wide bowls, heading towards the final col of the day - the Col d'Agnel.

In summer the Col is home to a road and so when you arrive you'll find various signposts and paraphernalia telling you the speed limit and customs regulations! The descent down to the Refuge Agnel is pretty mellow so you are unlikely to pick up a speeding ticket, but it's a lovely way to finish a great day in the wilds of the Queyras National Park.

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

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

Features

  • Bowl
  • Face
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area