7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
This is a day to enjoy the amazing glaciated terrain high up in the Vanoise.
As with the day before, retreat would be complex and challenging in the event of poor weather, and again a stable snowpack is needed for the traverse.
There is more than one option for getting to the Refuge du Col de la Vanoise, and as always, it is good to ask the guardian about current conditions. Leave the Refuge de l’Arpont and retrace your tracks from the day before to the flattening above the Lac de l’Arpont.
Skin up the east side of the glacier until the angle eases before turning and ascending in an easterly direction.
There are a few steepenings before arriving at the flat Col de Chasseforêt.
From here you have the possibility of going up the Dôme de Chasseforêt which you will have to boot up from near the summit. After transitioning, ski mellow angled fun slopes towards the Dôme des Sonnailes, before skiing slightly steeper terrain to the flattening at the Col du Pelve.
The next key section gains the Col Du Dard and involves a short steep section and a few kick turns passing by the Pointe Ouest du Mont Pelve.
From here descend the very gentle Glacier de la Roche Ferran which has very few features in poor visibility.
The Rochers du Génepy will come into sight and the descent takes you past its cliffs on terrain which is now off the glacier.
The ski down to the hut is fun but there are lots of small ridges, steepenings and little gullies so some care is needed.
Depending on the line you took you may need to put your skins on for five minutes at the bottom to gain the hut.
The Refuge du Col de la Vanoise is a big modern comfortable hut and it is very well run and friendly.
It is also popular and easy to escape in poor weather so if you have had a few challenging days you can relax a bit.