This is one of the most spectacular ski mountaineering itineraries in the Mont Blanc range including an alpine summit and impressive, steep downhill descent.
Climb to the summit of the Tour-Ronde (3792m)
Itinerary combining ski mountaineering, alpinism, steep skiing and big mountain free riding in one day!
With a start from the top of the Skyway lift, Punta Helbronner, we head to the Vallée Blanche area from the Italian side, and after an initial short ski down, we put on the skins and hike to the start of the normal route of Tour Ronde. Once we reach the bergschrund, we will swap the skis for crampons and ice axe and, leaving the skis behind, will start to climb up the normal route of Tour Ronde in alpine style. As we climb, little by little, the huge east face of Mont-Blanc and its Brenva basin will come into our view.
The route finishes by a large snowy ridge with few spiky, rocky steps to the summit, where a statue of Madonna overlooks the valley far below. You can enjoy the views and take a well deserved break.
Ready to ski?
The start of the descent is definitely the steepest part of the day. It is crucial that we time our skiing well to have the descent in good condition if we want to enjoy it. If we start too early, the snow may be hard or icy. If we start too late the snow maybe too soft and unstable. During the descent, we must remain focused and in control of every turn. If the exposure becomes too intimidating, we will rope up and ski the couloir using safe steep skiing techniques.
Once out of the steep couloir, we finally reach the Brenva Glacier. Here we put the skins on our skis again and rope up to traverse the glacier until we reach the base of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey. From here we will ski down under the big North Face along the Brenva Glacier all the way back to Entrêves, our starting point. If we have parked our car at the right spot we could even get straight back to it!
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You ski often and at a high level. You ski both sidecountry and backcountry, as well as ski-alpinism. You are steady and comfortable on any terrain. You ski couloirs (gullies) of up to 40° and would like to improve your steep skiing and mountain skiing skills. You are familiar with avalanche companion rescue techniques and glacier safety methods. You have previous experience with crampons on ice and mixed ground, and can belay and rappel. You have participated in assorted multi-day, hut-to-hut ski tours in the Alps.