Valsorey Hut to Chanrion Hut (via Plateau du Couloir)

A committing day crossing the 'Plateau du Couloir'

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
12 km
Ascent
1 km
Descent
1.6 km
Duration
5-6 hrs
Low Point
2.2 km
High Point
3.6 km
Gradient
41˚
VIEW ON MAP
Valsorey Hut to Chanrion Hut (via Plateau du Couloir) Map

Description

This is arguably one of the most famous days on the Haute Route, the crossing of the 'Plateau du Couloir'. Stable conditions are essential, and even then the crossing will require ski mountaineering skills, the use of crampons and a rope being essential for the vast majority of parties.

From the Valsorey hut climb north east under the Combin de Valsorey, as the slope starts to steepen create a ski depot early as the slopes above are steep. 45-50 degrees and you will need to proceed on foot. Climb the steep slopes directly aiming to the left of pt. 3662, the entry to the Plateau du Couloir is often corniced but is usually outflanked slightly further to the left. From the flat plateau head south east and then east again to ski a short steep pitch to join the Glacier du Sonadon. Continue to the east to reach the Col du Sonadon, which often requires skinning for a short distance.

From here its tempting to descent the glacier directly, but large cliffs and icefalls are lurking just out of sight. Instead, head south east towards the Grand Tête de By sweeping around in an arch under the Col d'Amiante to reach the Glacier du Mont Durand. Follow it's right bank until and exit on the right is possible at ~2700m. Make a traverse to access a bench and small ridge overlooking the Grand Charmotane. Swing to the south east skiing a few pitches down to contour the Chanrion Gorge, before crossing the steam and skinning north to the Chanrion Hut.

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

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

February, March

Features

  • Cliffs

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area