4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
This is the key stage in the traverse of this northern section of the Mercantour.
You are obliged to traverse via the summit of Mont Ténibre at 3030m, the highest peak in this area and the only one above 3000m.
It is definitely ski mountaineering rather than ski touring, so you will need your axe and crampons today.
The view from the summit would be spectacular, though we did it in a storm.
It is a relatively short day to the Vens Hut and if you are fit, quick and leave early you may be able to enchain this with the next day to Maison Méane.
This would need to be not too hot a day as most of your ascents face S. Leaving the hut cross the two lakes, then pass to the L of the Lac de Cimon.
Head NW up a gentle valley under big cliffs, passing close to the Pas de Rabuons.
From here stay initially to the L of the ridge, then onto it higher up, with skis on your pack for the last section to the summit.
Descent the far side is skiable in optimal conditions, but many will feel safer to downclimb a little, with a diversion out to the N, for less steep ground if desired.
Descend SW on steady terrain, looking for the link through at 2650m, on a short steep slope between rocks, heading NNW.
Continue in this direction towards and over the R hand of the two Lacs de Ténibre.
From here you have another climb up to Brèche Borgonio at 2904m, steeper towards the top.
Take a descending R traverse into a lovely N facing narrow valley that leads you down to the Vens Hut.