3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
As a base for ski touring it does not come much better than the Val di Rhêmes and the Rifugio Benevelo.
There are no cable cars and although the area is popular in springtime it never feels crowded.
There is always a good welcome from the locals in the variety of café’s in the picturesque Rhêmes-Notre-Dame before you skin to the hut.
It is essential to contact the Refuge in advance to make a booking as it tends to get busier at weekends. Where to park will depend on the time of year, how much snow there is, and how far the road has been ploughed.
Assuming the road has not been ploughed skin along the flat road until it gently goes up to Thumel. From here start off on the summer path which has some undulations before taking you to the stream bed and valley floor.
Cross the river by a bridge and skin up the east side of the stream - it is not recommended to go up the other side as it is prone to avalanches.
A steeper section is negotiated with a few kick turns before a further undulating traverse takes you to more easy angled terrain.
Continue up until you cross the river to the Refuge where you have the opportunity to practice your avalanche rescue skills in the surrounding terrain or go for a skin and a ski.
A lot of the journey up to the hut is in the trees, but at various points it is exposed to avalanches from above, so good judgement of the snow conditions are needed.