7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
An enjoyable tour in the shadow of the imposing bulk of the Glaciers de la Vanoise, the upper slopes below the col are mostly north-facing and can hold some very good snow - it is also possible to prolong the ascent by continuing up to the Col Supérieur du Génépy (approx.
300m vertical extra) or up to the Passage de Rosoire (3472m) if conditions and legs are good (remember that glacier kit is needed for this).
From 1 May (approximately) the road above Pralognan starts to open which saves a considerable amount of the approach… in winter it may be more logical to build this into a multi-day tour with an overnight at the Roc de la Pêche refuge. From Pralognan follow the cross country tracks into the Prioux valley (or drive up…).
At the Pont du Gerlon follow the road onto the east side of the valley and continue to follow this all the way to the hamlet of Montaimont opposite the Roc de la Pêche refuge (to access the refuge continue a couple of hundred metres upstream to a bridge).
From Montaimont skin up and left into the valley falling between the roc du Blanchon and the Pointe Ariande.
From 2400m follow the north-facing slopes directly up to the col (branch left before this if heading for the Col Supérieur). The descent follows the line of ascent - for the keen and fit it is possible to add in an extra skin up from c.2300m to the Col du Vallonnet to ski down the Vallon des Nants (finishing back on the Pralognan/Prioux road).