Le Lavancher

IGN M3630OT Argentiere map with route marked

Access from Bochard / Chamois

From the top of the Bochard lift ski down and bear left to take the Chamois piste. As the Chamois piste turns to the right to steepen bear left and leave the piste (there are always plenty of tracks to see where). From this point keep traversing left maintaining as much height as possible. After traversing over an arrete, the area opens into the Combe de la Pendant (Pendant bowl) underneath Col de la Pendant. This area often has lovely snow, if you have stayed high enough you should be right at the foot of the Col de la Pendant's rock faces.

Into the Combe de la Pendant

From here take a look down the Combe de la Pendant and you will see a long obvious wide run down the bowl before it flattens out and the sides become steeper. There is a distinct plateau point which marks the top of the tree line. The Combe de la Pendant is often a quiet and enjoyable part of the Grands Montets, whilst the skiers right hand side of the bowl is often skied out, by staying skiers far left you will often get fresh snow since it commits the skier to the forested descent below.

Lavancher forest

Looking back up the first section of the forest

After the plateau section, often requiring a small traverse in deep snow the forest becomes dense with trees and "varosses" (small stumps/roots). In parts it is 45 degrees and can be quite challenging with the obstacles demanding a "combat" approach.

Looking down the into the lower section of the Lavancher forest descent from the Grand Balcon du Nord trail

It is possible to ski the whole way down to Le Lavancher when snow cover is good, but there is another option to join the Grand Balcon Nord trail which winds down through the forest into the village passing some cross country routes in the lower sections.

Grand Balcon du Nord option from the Lavancher forest descent

Although this trail is much easier than the steep forest sections, it is still a narrow trail with plenty of rock and tree stump hazards and poor snow cover due to overuse can be a problem.

From Le Lavancher either walk down to the bus stop via the road, or ski through the chalets (there is a clear route, once again it can be gnarly depending on conditions)


Do not underestimate this as a sweet little forest run, "lavancher" is local slang for avalanche and they are not infrequent in this area. Always check local conditions, avalanche risk and most of all speak to local professionals. This is not a route to be taken lightly!