A legendary Chamonix off-piste run. Serious skiing in a spectacular big mountain environment

Statistics

Analysing terrain data

262

m

1,809

m

51

max°

Exposure

Exposure

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.

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Description

** Disclaimer - Unfortunately, the exit of the classic Pas de Chèvre has become increasingly dangerous in recent years.

As climate change has caused an accelerating loss of ice in the Mer de Glace, the moraine walls surrounding the Pas de Chèvre exit couloir have become steeper and more lethal.

The moraine here is now inherently unstable and prone to collapses of potentially large volumes of material.

While it is still possible to find short windows in winter where cold temperatures and sufficient snow cover can allow skiers to pass through the moraine without excessive risk, these windows are increasingly fleeting and difficult to judge.

It is therefore largely no longer advisable to use this exit. An alternative option is to locate an abseil line leading to the Mer de Glace from just below the Flame de Pierre ridge.

After skiing the Pas de Chèvre, skin up a short way until on top of the Dru moraine.

From here ski down heading south east towards the bottom of the Flame de Pierre ridge and locate the summer trail.

Walk down the summer trail (it's not usually possible to ski it), taking care to safely downclimb a couple small steps and using crampons if needed.

After dropping around 200 metres elevation, there is the first anchor to skier’s left side off of the path.

It may be difficult to locate at first and consists of two bolts on a rock slab.

Gaining the anchor is exposed, so take care.

From here, make a series of 3 abseils; 50 meters, 55 and finally 30.

Two 60 meter ropes are needed to get down.** Route - This is magnificent run, with incredible views of the Dru and the Nant Blanc Face of the Aiguille Verte, but is very condition dependent.

The key things to bear in mind are the aspect and the exit.

Firstly the aspect- it faces S and SW so will transform quickly in the sun.

The significance of this is that it can be very avalanche prone the first sunny day after fresh snow.

Also if it hasn't snowed for a while it will refreeze each night and you are well advised to time it well, allowing the slope to soften in the sun before you go down.

The exit is low and again sunny, from the lateral moraine down to the Mer de Glace.

This is down a rubbly moraine gulley that needs good snow cover.

Without it you find and completely unstable steep moraine slope with large boulders regularly bouncing down it.

Hence you need to know the state of the exit before you set off down- do not be encouraged by the many tracks on the top slope unless you are certain of the exit.

You are on a glacier so make sure you are equipped, prepared and have practised crevasse rescue, however unlikely you think falling in a crevasse is- it is possible! A minimum would be each person to have harness, axe, crampons, an ice screw, 3 prussiks, several screwgates, a pulley/DMM Revolver karabiner, a couple of slings and 2 30m ropes in the group.

A more modern simple solution substituting for many of the above might be 2 Petzl RAD systems in the group.

If you have any doubts about this ski with an IFMGA Mountain Guide. From the foot of the iron ladders descending from the Grands Montets lift, cross under the barriers and descend easy glacial slopes, gently convexing down.

You bear slightly down and R to take you into a steeper bowl, usually crossing a windlip to enter it, then taking an arc out R then back L and down.

Avoid the temptation to go straight down at this point (hence straightening out the out R, Back L) as under the snowpack are rocky slabs and it is common for a skier to set off a slide here, which will likely be full depth down to the slabs.

The route tightens up and is steeper, usually the crux of the descent, before opening up again to increasingly wide slopes.

After skiing the Pas de Chevre, skin up a short way until on top of the Dru moraine.

From here ski down heading south east towards the bottom of the Flame de Pierre ridge and locate the summer trail.

Walk down the summer trail (not usually possible to ski it), taking care to safely downclimb a couple small steps and using crampons if needed.

After dropping around 200 meters elevation, there is the first anchor to skier’s left side off of the path.

It may be difficult to locate at first and consists of two bolts on a rock slab.

Gaining the anchor is exposed, so take care.

From here, make a series of 3 abseils; 50 meters, 55 and finally 30.

Two 60 meter ropes are needed to get down. Cross the Mer de Glace by a combination of skiing, side stepping and poling to get to the access lift to the Montenvers train, or early season continue down to, then walk up to, the buvette Mottets and the James Bond track down into town.

Grab a beer to celebrate one of true Chamonix classics.