5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
A fantastic spring snow line down a big ‘toboggan-run’ slope and a great stepping stone for those who want to progress on to some of the steeper lines in this area.
While never seriously steep you definitely wouldn’t want to take a slide down here on firm snow and crampons (and an ice axe) will almost certainly be needed for the ascent.
Timing will be key to enjoying the descent with ‘just-softening’ spring snow, and given the aspect a pre-dawn start will be needed by most mortals to be on top at the right time.
The starting point of Les Barmettes is easily reached by skinning up the Pralognan pistes - after the ski area closes in spring the road is open to Les Fontanettes at 1600m.
It is also possible to stay in the Refuge Des Barmettes, or the tour can be built into a stay at the Col de la Vanoise hut. From Les Barmettes follow the valley up to the flatter area before the Lac des Vaches and then skin more steeply north to the Chalet des Gardes and into the Vallonet hanging valley.
A short, steeper slope takes you out of this and into the Patinoire bowl.
Skirt (or cross) the lake and head straight up the slope due north to the Col des Volnets.
This is mostly in the 30/35º range, but steepens slightly in the top 100m.
The ridge is often corniced though this can generally be passed on the right.
From the Col it is possible to continue up the ridge running west to the summit of the Pointe du Vallonet.
The descent follows the line of ascent.