Couloir Pissoir

Arve Valley

Chamonix

Balme

Balme (Le Tour)

A big adventure through some huge terrain

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
11 km
Ascent
1.1 km
Descent
2 km
Duration
5-6 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
3.1 km
Gradient
46˚
VIEW ON MAP
Couloir Pissoir Map

Description

This is a fantastic adventure through some big, wild mountains which culminates with an exciting and remote ski descent.

The majority of the terrain the adventure passes through (on both the way up and down) is extremely serious, and an avalanche at virtually any point along the route would be disastrous - save this one for when conditions are safe and you are confident that you can pass through steep terrain on all aspects in (relative) safety.

Begin by riding the Charamillon gondola and the Autannes chairlift in the Le Tour ski area and then make a descending traverse south until you are underneath the Col des Autannes.

Put skins on and climb up to Col, passing through a narrowing midway up the climb.

The last few metres to the Col are best climbed on foot and in icy conditions crampons may be useful. Drop into the face east of the Col and ski this drifting right and minimising height loss before putting skins on again and ascending up to a little notch north-east of the Pointe des Grands.

Skin/traverse east across the Glacier des Grands to locate the vague col at the top of the Pissoir Couloir. Make an assessment of snow stability and if things look safe, drop in steeply to the line via a 5 metre wide, 40 degree channel.

Once in the main section of the line the skiing is fast, exhilarating and doesn't require much route finding - you're not going to get lost! As the couloir begins to open up, and the Trient Glacier begins to loom above you begin to drift left and ski perfectly spaced trees down to the foot of the Trient valley. Once in the valley follow the clear track that leads out to the edge of Trient village. There's a pleasant little bar/cafe in the village so grab a drink and then catch the bus back to Chamonix.

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

February, March, April, May

Features

  • Alpine
  • Couloir
  • Tree Skiing
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area