5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
A fine outing to the summit of the Mont Bréquin at the head of the Vallon du Lou - still mercifully spared from the expansionist plans of the lift companies… The line described takes in the North couloir of the Bréquin, but it is possible to ski back down the line of ascent for a mellower outing at 'Moderate' Fatmap difficulty rating / 2.2 (toponeige).
It is also possible to access the summit of the Bréquin by following the Caron/Bréquin ridge with some 'up & down-ing', the occasional change of sides and a final steep couloir to the summit. From the Cime de Caron follow the Combe de Rosaël piste until just before it drops through the gap onto the Maurienne/Orelle side - head down and right into the Combe du Lou from here taking a left-trending line down the first big slope until you can traverse leftwards under the rocky shoulder that comes down.
Keep traversing left passing a couple of small ridges, to about 2500m altitiude then skin South to the Col de la Vallée Étroite at 2730m - from here work your way up the West-facing slopes to the summit of the Bréquin. The North couloir is accessible directly off the summit (though there's sometimes an easier entry down and right) with an upper section at 40-ishº quickly easing off - with fresh snow this is a great ski! As you exit the upper valley staying hard left will keep you away from the crowds on the regular Lac du Lou descent, passing the Lacs de Pierre Blanche and eventually coming out at the very head of the Lac du Lou.
Either pole across this or skirt round (taking care of the sunny South East slopes above you) then stop in at the refuge for a well-earned beer, before following the track back to the Plan de l’Eau chairlift and civilisation.