Grande Aiguille Rousse

Charbonnel Group

Espace Killy

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Tignes and Val d'Isère

A great adventure! Take in the remote summit of the Grand Aiguille Rousse with a fantastic ski down the north face of this peak.

Also in Savoie, France

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
14 km
Ascent
742 m
Descent
2 km
Duration
5-6 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
3.5 km
Gradient
48˚
Grande Aiguille Rousse Map

Take in the remote summit of the Grand Aiguille Rousse and get a fantastic ski down the north face of this peak, leading onto the Glacier de Sources de l’Isére and into the tricky Malpasset gorge.

Description

You should be properly equipped and before you set out, find out if you can get out through the Malpasset (which translates as bad passage!) Gorge.

There is usually a board at the top of the Cascade Express chair, or ask the ski patrol. Countless people have needed to be rescued by helicopter down in the gorge!

Start from the top of the Glacier du Grand Pisaillas T-Bar with your skins attached and traverse in a south east direction to head towards the ridgeline which drops down to the Glacier du Montet on its eastern side. Where you choose to skin to and drop over on this ridge line is up to you, there as multiple descents on the other side, so use the terrain layers on this map to select which you think is the safest way to descend from this ridge based on avalanche conditions and your ability.

Once you have dropped over the east side and onto the Glacier du Montet, you then need to cross the glacier in a north east direction. Try to ski/pole as far as possible before putting your skins on to start the ascent up towards a col on the north east side of this glacier.

From this col, drop down the north side for a short distance before heading up the Glacier de Sources de l’Isére whilst traversing around a small peak to your east. Again, get as far up the glacier as possible before stopping to pop your skins back on.

Skin up the glacier towards the col that splits the Grande Aiguille Rousse and a smaller satellite peak, then a short bootpack leads to the summit from the top of this col. Sat at 3,482m, this summit is the largest in its vicinity which gives you a fantastic viewpoint of the area and a great vantage point to see the hustle and bustle of both Tignes & Val d’Isére ski resorts from a much more quiet environment.

The descent portion of this day begins from the east side of this peak, which is accessed from a short down climb (rope may be needed) followed by a few steep and exposed turns on the east face, before traversing skier’s left to reach the north face. With all the skiing technicalities now aside, you can open out your turns on this large north face, running all the way back down to Glacier de Sources de l’Isére.

From the glacier, you can thread your own way down the fantastic terrain stretching beyond you, all the way to the Malpasset gorge.

This gorge can be delicate even under good snow cover.

The snow bridges above the river aren't always great - be careful! Reach the bridge and skate along the road back to the Fornet cable car.

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, June

Features

  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area