6 - 7
FATMAP difficulty grade
This is one of the great steep classics of the Vanoise, first skied by the legendary Daniel Chauchefoin back in the late ‘70s.
As you drive up the Bozel valley this is the face that dominates everything.
A good fill of snow is needed to bring the face into good condition, with the narrows to access the snowfield at half height almost always needing a short (`~20m) abseil to pass on the descent, and the choke at the bottom of the upper couloir (normally skiable) being key points to check through binoculars before launching up this… From Plan Fournier follow the summer path through the trees to come out onto more open terrain below Plan Fournier Dessus.
Trend generally rightwards to climb the slopes of the Bec Rouge and follow the gentle slopes of the Fontaine Froide to below the north-west face - aim for a line directly below the obvious pencil-thin Cicatrice gully (this has been skied 2 or 3 times!).
The slopes gradually steepen and a short section of slabby ice climbing is normally needed to pass a small step here.
Above this mini-goulotte traverse rightwards onto the big snow slope and follow this to its highest point which then leads into the couloir running all the way to the summit ridge.
This is narrow at the bottom but widens a little as you climb, with a couple of exit possibilities at the top. As you clip in to your modern lightweight ski touring kit think of Chauchefoin on 2m10 skinny skis and remember how lucky we are to have light & performant equipment! :-)