4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
Accessing the Tete Pelouse via this 'there and back' itinerary offers 1,150m+ of ascent, a spectacular summit with panoramic views of the Mont Blanc Massif and the potential of some excellent powder skiing on N/NW facing slopes.
The flip side of taking the Bella Cha combe to the summit (as opposed to the next combe in the line - the Grand Cret) is that you're likely to have to share the lower half of the descent with hard-charging freeriders who have accessed the combe from the opposite side via the La Clusaz lift system! That said, there is more than enough space and snow for everyone and the upper third of the descent from the summit of Tete Pelouse itself is strictly the preserve of those who have earned their turns. Park at the bottom of the combe at Confins and either make your way directly up the combe or wind your way up through the forest under Mont Rachais (2,311m) to the left of the combe, avoiding the steepest slopes.
Ski crampons are likely to be needed on anything other than a fresh powder day! Once you have emerged into the combe itself, take the safest route up the combe, avoiding any cliff bands and being conscious of what's above you. Around 2,000m you are likely to become aware of freeriders entering the combe from the Roualle (2,589m) side.
This is also the point that you start to make your way round in an easterly direction towards the summit itself.
The final slopes climb more steeply up to a ridge revealing the Grand Cret combe on the other side.
You can either skin up the steep ridge to the summit itself at 2,537m or leave your skis here and make your way on foot.
Back at the ridge you have the option to drop in to Grand Cret and do a circuit of the two combes or reverse the itinerary. The descent back down Bella Cha offers lots of potential for fresh tracks and excellent powder or spring skiing so take the time to hunt for the best line.
Lower down the combe between 1,700m and 1,600m there are some steeper sections with cliff bands so take your time to find the safest way through.
The route then flattens out and before you know it you'll be back at your car and ready for another lap!