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Col du Monêtier: W-E traverse of Col de Monetier from Glacier Blanc refuge to Monetier les Bains

Day 1: If the road is not open until Pré de Mme Carle, start by following it cutting across some bends until the meadow. Go past Cézanne refuge (1874m), following the summer trail and go up the southern slope on the right bank of the torrent of Glacier Blanc, primarily along the path of the summer trail. This slope dries quickly during the season, while the meadow may still be covered with much snow. Above the point 2163 a rock band cuts across the slope. Cross it via the trail if it is visible, if not slightly more to the east, be careful the slope is steep and exposed

By ascending traverses you then reach the broad flat area at the foot of the final arm of Glacier Blanc. This entire first part is exposed to avalanches due to strong snow cover.

Pass to the left bank of the dale and climb in the direction of Glacier Blanc refuge which is visible. Go back up the dale to near rock barriers dominated by the glacier seracs, and climb in a steep corridor to the NE emerging to the west of the refuge, it is sometimes more comfortable to climb on foot. (It takes 2 hours from the Cézanne refuge to the Glacier Blanc refuge-2550m).

Day 2: Climb a hundred meters to the north from the refuge then head towards Glacier Jean Gauthier via morainic hills and valleys. Take foot on the glacier to reach a small cirque at the foot of Pic Jean Gauthier (3389m.). In the cirque go up the steep slopes to the north between 3050 and 3250m. which lead to a small suspended dale; go up it towards the right to reach the foot of the ledge of Col de Monetier 3320m. traverse the ledge, which is generally snow covered and exposed (crampons are generally necessary). You arrive at Col de Monetier (3339m.). 3 to 3 and a half hours from the refuge. From the pass, descend to the SE in the direction of a glacial plateau (3100m.). Pass crevasses via the east descending a steep northern facing slope (S4) to reach the upper part of Vallon du grand  Tabuc.  Descend this dale on the left bank, until the junction with the Montagnolle "Champ Vieux", at approximately 2100m. You then reach the right bank via a trail, packed all winter by the wilderness skiers from Rocher de l'Yret via Vallon de la Montagnolle. This slope maintains its snow for a fairly long time. On skis or on foot depending on the snow, you can reach the base of the Monetier les Bains slopes and the rest area of Pré Chabert. It takes 1 and a half to 2 hours to descend.

  • Difficulty: S4 - Difficult (<45°)
  • Danger/Exposure: UNKNOWN
  • Total climb: 789 m
  • Total elevation drop: 789 m
  • Highest altitude: 3339 m
  • Lowest altitude: 1845 m
  • Extra gear: None
  • Lift access: No



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