An impressive south face on a stunning peak just a stone's throw from the Espace Killy


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The magnificent Grande Sassière (3747 meters) towers above the Lac du Chevral and the Tignes villages.

There are no lifts to facilitate the approach to this amazing peak and despite being well outside the confines of the Espace Killy ski area, its omnipresence makes it a natural inclusion to any list of classic Tignes’ ski lines.

Starting from Villaret du Nial the climb is 1900 meters vertical to the summit.

The Grande Sassière straddles the French-Italian border and derives its name from the Italian ‘Sasso’ meaning rock.

It certainly is a very rocky formation, particularly its impressive and steep south face.

Due to the rocky nature of this face, a good buildup of snow is needed and cold enough temperatures to make it safe.

In good conditions the line can be skied cleanly through the rock band without a rappel.

The top just exceeds 50 degrees in places so be sure of your ski technique! There are two ways to approach the line.

Firstly, starting from Villaret du Nial you can ascend the west side of the mountain by mostly low angle slopes where it is possible to skin almost the entire way.

This can also provide a good alternative descent for those not wanting to attempt the south face or the Grande Sassière can also be descended via the north-west slopes (which often hold good, cold snow on the glacier).

If approaching from the west and therefore skiing the south face onsight, be sure to check the conditions beforehand! The south face can also be climbed directly, starting also from Villaret du Nial.

This has the advantage of a team being able to navigate a good way through the lower rock band on the way up, mitigating the risk of a route-finding error on the descent.

The top of the Grande Sassière is a truly fantastic viewpoint and has the added bonus of being skiable right from the summit.