Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade does not take into account objective hazards (stone fall, seracs, etc) but only the consequences of the skier falling.
Low Exposure (E1): Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.
Medium Exposure (E2): As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.
High Exposure (E3): In case of a fall, death is highly likely.
Extreme Exposure (E4): In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.
If you want to enjoy the tranquility and wild feel of the Backside classic but want to avoid the steep skiing, the Glacier du Petit Mont-Fort has the answer.
The journey is a magnificent, unforgettable experience through the wild alpine glaciers, rolling moraines and finally the long track around the Lac de Cleuson.
The access can be on hard snow and is exposed, whilst not difficult, a fall here could be fatal.The skiing is excellent but the environment is serious and should not be under-estimated.
The exit can feel long involving, poling, side stepping and generally flat terrain but you'll have had just a great time you won't care.
Don't miss the last Chassoure lift from Siviez if you need to return to Verbier.
From the bottom of the stairs at Mont Fort, cross the rope barrier and traverse left to the ridge.
There is usually a good track from other skiers but take care as the traverse can be icy and exposed.
Do not cross the ridge but follow it down staying on the south (skier's right) side.
Head right down the south face and just below 3100m traverse left and step climb up around 10-20 metres to the ridge.
Leave the ridge by traversing left and ski down to the glacier.
Ski the glacier, staying left to reach the Grand Desert lake where you follow the classic Backside descent.Take harnesses and crevasse rescue equipment including 2 x 30m ropes in the group just in case.