3 Cols

Arve Valley

Chamonix

A classic high mountain excursion, the Trois Cols is a fantastic journey through three major glacial basins.

Also in Haute-Savoie, France

Ski Touring Moderate

Distance
7.1 km
Ascent
353 m
Descent
848 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
2.8 km
High Point
3.3 km
Gradient
39˚
VIEW ON MAP
3 Cols Map

Description

A relatively long tour at high altitude, the 3 Cols takes in some breath taking scenery amongst golden granite spires and wide glacial expanses. While the skiing is straightforward and low angle there may be some mountaineering involved to get up and over the cols themselves.

From the top of the Grands Montets descend the Glacier des Rognons and follow the line as described for the Col du Chardonnet (ski crampons often useful at the start).

Descending the Col du Chardonnet into the Saleina basin has become increasingly difficult as the Saleina Glacier has lost volume. The initial slope is 50 degrees, which can be skied or downclimbed. Most teams opt to abseil here. However, it is best to get up to date information regarding the length of the abseil due to the shrinking Saleina Glacier.

Continue to the Fenêtre de Saleina where you will need to crampon up some steep snow. From there, ski down onto the Plateau du Trient before transitioning back to skins again and skinning up a short way to the Col Superior du Tour. This is a better option than taking the Col du Tour which is harder to get off and onto the Glacier du Tour. Ski down the Glacier du Tour in the direction of the Aiguille du Chardonnet, then trend right to meet up with the slopes of the classic Col du Passon run that finish in the village of Le Tour. There are infinite options to descend from here and all involve fantastic, exciting skiing. From Le Tour, ride the ski bus back to Chamonix.

Difficulty

Moderate

Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Low Exposure (E1)

1 out of 4

Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.

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

Features

  • Alpine
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area