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FATMAP difficulty grade
You can almost view the full length of this route from the summit of the Grande Sassiere before committing yourself to the downclimb/rappel and if conditions don’t look appealing, skiing the NW face from the summit provides an alternative to find fresh snow whilst staying on the cooler aspects. Start from Nant Cruet or as as far as they have cleared the road, then hike to the snow line or skin directly from your car if possible.
Follow ‘Le Nant Cruet’ summer path up the valley to the foot of the Glacier du Font and head for the little notch between Fond & Sassière glaciers.
Follow the Glacier de la Sassière all the way up to the West ridge of the Sassière to then bootpack the final 100m. Use the attached fixed line found near the summit to drop down into a small hollow in a southerly direction from the summit, then climb back out of the east side of this hollow where in front of you will be a large rock, with a bolt attached on the northern side.
Rappel down the northern side of the Sassière initially, before traversing over towards a col to your east.
Once you can see the col, take yourself off the rope and carefully down climb down to the col. From the col, the descent begins with a not too steep face on the top of a large hanging glacier, which soon steepens out into a couloir leading you under huge séracs marking the bottom of the hanging glacier.
Once under the séracs, follow the couloir directly down the fall-line below, before it quickly opens back out onto the expansive glacier below. After skiing the Face Nord-Est de la Sassiere, you are then left on the Ghiacciaio di Gilairetta, a huge, flat glacier in neighbouring Italy.
Getting back to the Tarentaise from this glacier requires a long ski and skin.
Once on the glacier, attach your skins and head in an easterly direction to reach the col between Punta Bassac Dere and Becca La Traversiere. Either ski down with your skins on or off over to the eastern side of Becca La Traversiere to then take your skins off to ski, pole & skate all the way down through the valley beneath the south side of the Grande Sassiere within the nature reserve.
Locate the road which winds down from the Reservoir of the Grande Sassiere, allowing you to ski down as far as the snow line allows back to to Le Franchet. What a day!