4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
The ‘Vallée Blanche’ of the 3 Valleys.
A good ratio of up to down and a tour that sees a fair bit of traffic, this is however not a run to be under-estimated from an objective danger point of view despite the fact that you will see people cruising over here with no obvious signs of crevasse rescue kit - the Gébroulaz glacier has been known to swallow the occasional person (though none permanently as far as I know!).
The route described takes the ‘long way’ back down into the head of the Mottaret valley - it is also possible to branch right at about 2950m and ski down to Pralognan, or bear left at 2800m and link up to the Col de Borgne for a bonus run back down into the Mottaret lift system. From the Col chairlift head down onto the Chavière glacier and skin up to the Col de Gébroulaz - it's a big "S" left then right, with a final boot-pack (normally) to reach the col.
An easy detour to the summit of the Mont de Gébroulaz is possible from here.
From the col a slightly rising traverse around the first big bowl takes you the middle branch of the Gébroulaz glacier below the Aiguille de Polset - a first steep pitch leads to more moderate terrain, but be wary of more heavily crevassed sections down between the rock ridges lower down. Once through the upper section (once the 3 branches have joined up) you have about 5km of easy cruising (great fun in good spring snow) down a short but narrow and steep-sided gully to pass through above the Refuge du Saut, then follow the Tuéda valley under the Aiguille du Fruit to eventually emerge in the cross-country tracks above Mottaret.
One last bit of work here takes you back to the lifts.