FATMAP difficulty grade
Aiguille de la Grande Sassière is a mountain in the Graian Alps, on the boundary between the Aosta Valley (northern Italy) and the French department of Savoie in the Tarentaise Valley. This route to the summit of Aiguille de la Grande Sassière (3,747m) is a high alpine challenge, with the final third being along a ridgeline beside Sassière glacier.
There are stunning views the entire route! Highlights include views of the nearby Grande Sassière, multiple lakes, Sassière Glacier, and down the Aosta Valley from the summit. There’s only about a 6-week window every summer (July-August) where the snow on the glacier has melted on the West Ridge part of the trail.
Of course, it is possible to undertake this route outside of this period if you have suitable experience and equipment. Start from the parking at Le Chevril, the route is up pretty much all the way to the summit, and at times along very steep terrain and loose shale. Take the time to enjoy the stunning views, particularly as the path comes around the back of Grande Sassière—you can look down on Sainte Foy and Tignes.
The final third of the ascent is straight up a 45° rocky shale slope on the west ridge. Shale will move below foot and is difficult to get a good grip on.
Black ice is also highly possible, so extreme caution is required here.
You’ll undoubtedly experience an overwhelming sense of triumph once you reach the summit! Pause to take in the amazing views over the Western Alps and towards the Aosta Valley. To return, reverse the route. This is an incredible, epic route and should be undertaken seriously and responsibly.
But despite the difficulty, it is well-worth the effort.