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S4

La Meije ski tour

A 4 day hut to hut ski tour around the mount Meije in the heart of the Ecrins range. Explore the fabulous freeride terrain of La Grave and stay in historical and charming mountain huts. 

Nested at the foot of the Col du Lautaret, in the shadow of the North face of la Meije, La Grave is known to freeriders worldwide as a reference for extreme skiing and remote, wild, backcountry. Made in the mold of it’s untamed surroundings, La Grave has distinguished itself from other ski areas by it’s adherence to simplicity and modesty - offering some of the purest lift access backcountry in the Alps with an unparalleled authenticity. This mountain town is the entryway to a renowned classic of high alpine ski tours; a must for the passionate ski adventurer. Mythic couloirs, bowls, and forests give La Grave it’s reputation. Discover these classic runs the first day, before turning the skis toward la Meije’s untamed mountain kingdom.

Standing almost 4000m tall, the Meije isn’t quite the highest point in the Ecrins range, but it is certainly the most emblematic. The surrounding valleys are wild and the access is difficult- giving a true alpine feel- requiring the use of crampons and ice axes to affront steep terrain. High perched huts, a demanding and technical itinerary, splendid glacier descents and the untouched natural splendor of the Ecrins national park will please lovers of wild ski touring - weaving high altitude randonne skiing and technical alpinism.

Description

Course objectives

  • A classic tour around a storied summit
  • 1 ski day in La Grave, Freeride Mecca
  • Exceptional setting in the heart of the Écrins national park
  • Big mountain ski touring, sustained slopes, couloirs, glacier terrain and an alpine ambiance
  • Technical sections requiring rope, ice axe and crampons
  • Historical huts with exceptional character 

 

Level requirements

  • This trip is for experienced ski tourers who have already done at least one hut-to-hut tour or a multi-day ski tour. You should be able to do up to 5 hours skinning with up to 1100m vertical gain per day, at a good steady pace.
  • You have to be good and efficient in your skinning technique and confident moving over a steep and exposed terrain. You are expected to be comfortable and safe doing kick turns on slopes of over 35 degrees.
  • You have to be skilled using ice axe and crampons and be happy to climb over steep, snowy and rocky terrain.
  • You have to be an excellent off piste skier, confident and efficient in skiing in all snow conditions without stopping or losing control over your skis. You have to be confident and safe skiing on slopes of 40 degrees.
  • You have to be physically fit, ready to hike and ski for up to 8 hours per day without being too tired the next day. You have to be able to move reasonably fast (climb 400m/h).
  • Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the ski & fitness levels for this trip, we will be happy to help. 

 

Prices

1750€ per person for a group of 2

1350€ per person for a group of 3

1190€ per person for a group of 4

 

When to go? 

These trips are available from mid March until end of April.

 

Guiding ratio

We accept maximum 4 skiers per guide

Price

1190€

Price per person for a group of maximum 4 participants

Course Dates

Any date on demand

Included

Guide fee - 4 days

4 days of guiding and instruction by a UIAGM qualified mountain guide.

Accommodation (half-board)

3 nights accommodation in mountain huts with breakfast and dinner included.

Lift passes

The cost of any lift access that is required during the course for the itinerary described above. 

Local Transport

Any local transport that is required during your course.

Group Equipment

Ropes, safety equipment, etc will be provided when needed by your guide.

Office Support

Our team is based at the foot of the Aiguille du Midi cable car and will be happy to help you with any questions you may have before, during or after your trip to Chamonix.

Not Included

Travel to Chamonix

The price does not include flights, airport transfers or any other travel to/from Chamonix. However, we can organise airport transfers for you on request, please contact us for details.

Accommodation

Accommodation in Chamonix is not included in the price but we would be happy to advise or organise it on request.

Equipment

Please see the "Equipment" tab to find out what you will need. Anything that you do not already have can be rented here in Chamonix, if there is anything you need then please contact us and we will be happy to organise it for you.

For private customised guiding, please contact us directly to confirm your persoanlised kit list.

Food & Drink

The price does not include lunch or snacks. You can bring your own food and we can stop for a picnic, or there may be the option to buy lunch at a mountain hut. Please make sure that you are carrying sufficient water and snacks as we will be in the mountains for a number of hours.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take our Search and Rescue mountain insurance - we can organise this for you on request.

Skis / Snowboards

The price does not include skis/snowboards, boots or clothing. If you do not have your own we can help you organise rental, please ask us for details.

The given itinerary is a program realized with good weather and good mountain conditions. The guide may tailor the program to suit the needs of the group and the weather/ snow…

Arrival Day

You arrive in Chamonix the day before starting the trip. In the evening, around 6, a briefing with your UIAGM certified mountain guide and the other course participants takes place in the Chamex office. The guide will present the trip plan, possible options or variations, and answer your questions. The guide will also take the time to verify your equipment and give advice on preparing your backpack for the tour. If you have reserved rental equipment we’ll visit the neighboring ski shop and acquire the needed gear.

Day1: Chamonix – La Grave. Freeride in La Grave!

Morning departure from Chamonix to maximize our time on the innumerable descents in La Grave- off-piste paradise! The lifts access 100% backcountry terrain (no groomed/ pisted runs on the entire slope). Pure freeride or free-rando (short tours from the lifts) depending on the group’s wishes. Warm hotel and a gourmet dinner in the mountain village of La Grave, at the foot of the Meije glaciers.

Day 2: Col de la Lauze (3512m) – Brèche du Râteau (3235m) – Refuge du Promontoire (3092m)

From the summit of the lifts in La Grave, we turn our skis toward the southern aspects of la Meije, and plunge into the heart of the Écrins national park. The guide will choose the timing- ideally skiing great snow on the beautiful and sustained slopes of the Selle valley. A traverse with skins and a descent of the couloir from the Brèche du Râteau (gained with ice axe and crampons) into the Étançon valley. The Promontoire hut is here, perched on the Meije’s south facing, sunlit granite. Nathalie and Fredi will reserve a welcome equal to the heights of this majestic hut!

 

+1000m / – 11000m

Day 3: Brèche de La Meije (3357m) – Serret du Savon – Refuge de l’Aigle (3450m)

A demanding, technical, high alpine mountain day. First business- climb up the Brèche de la Meije and over to the La Grave side. High mountain ambiance awaits- an exposed traverse at the foot of La Meije’s impressive north face. Crampons and ice axes are again needed to climb the narrow Serret du Savon. On the glacier’s other side the mythic Aigle hut awaits, practically floating in the sky. Recently remodeled, but keeping it’s soul and it’s original feel, this alpine sanctuary is one of the oldest in France- and is thus a piece of history. The unique position and the storied nature of the refuge is enchanting- we’re walking in the footsteps of the Alps’ finest mountaineers…

 

+700m / – 400m

Day 4: Tête des Corridors (3734m) – Glacier du Tabuchet

The last day! Departure at first light to climb the Tête des Corridors, a beautiful summit surrounded by the spires flanking the Meije. From here on we turn our tips downhill, toward the 2000m of descent separating us from the comforts of the valley. The Tabuchet or the l’Homme glaciers to choose from- better conditions will dictate our choice. In both cases a fabulous run awaits to close out our trip. We leave La Grave, the skyline filled by La Meije’s striking profile. Return to Chamonix.                   

+300m / – 2000m

Clothing

Warm hat

Warm hat

Thermal underwear

Thermal underwear

Fleece or woollen layers

Fleece or woollen layers

Light puffer jacket

Light puffer jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Warm gloves

Warm gloves

Thin gloves

Thin gloves

Sun hat

Sun hat

Technical gear

Ice Axe

Ice Axe

Harness

Harness

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

Ski poles

Ski poles

35 - 45 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis or snowboard

35 - 45 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis or snowboard

Crampons

Crampons

Ski touring skis

Ski touring skis

Ski touring boots

Ski touring boots

Ski / splitboard crampons

Ski / splitboard crampons

Safety Equipment

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Extras

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Sleeping bag liner

Sleeping bag liner