Col De La Balme North east Couloir

Ski Areas > Northern Alps > Belledonne > Pays d'Allevard > Col De La Balme North east Couloir


From St Hugon take the road to the baraque baraque de Cohardin (vehicle access not allowed on the Isere side and danger or rockfall, 4x4 track on Savoie side).

col de la balme
Couloir N/E of the Col de la Balme

Cross over the Bens to climb the path on the right bank to the Pre Nouveau refuge (closed). After the bed of the Bens river is infested with brushwood. You have two choices, either traverse the Bens to follow a forest road not shown on IGN maps which climbs to the Balme chalet (ruins) or continue towards the plan des Ferices and at 1600 meters cross through the brushwood towards a large avalanche zone which descends from the Grde Cristalliere. Continue to the south-west to arrive in a suspended valley. The couloir is obvious, at the end of the valley on the left.

Avalanche track from the Grde Cristalliere


Possible to climb via the col de la Bourbière or descend via this route if the couloir is not in condition.

Mountain RangeBelledonne
Summitle Grand Charnier
Starting Altitude1245m
MapsIGN TOP 25 3433 OT Allevard
GPS WaypointN 45.3642°, E 06.1733°
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:Cohardin
Grade[1]Danger: 1, Climb: D-, Ski: 4.1
CommentsShort, steep couloir (45° over 50m, 40° over 150m), danger of avalanches from the Cristalliere/Charnier
Equipmentski crampons, ice ax, crampons
Road AccessGoncelin > Allevard > La Chapelle du Bard > Saint Hugon
Refugesrefuge de Férices?, Baraque de Cohardin?

Trip Reports

18th April 2007

The road was clear to Cohardin. I took the option of climbing to the Balme and then the long traverse over to the Cristalliere valley. The refreeze was poor. I climbed the last 100 meters of the couloir on foot. It alternated between soft snow and refrozen crust. Not great for the descent. After the skiing was on very soft snow, like ice soft icecream but not unpleasant to ski. Avoid the bed of the Bens river which is like an tropical jungle with the brushwood, instead head to the west before reaching the valley to traverse to the Balme forest road.

Couloir de la Balme
Looking down the couloir
  • Weather : Very Warm, Sunny, Poor refreeze
  • Avalanche Risk: Moderate (2/5)
  • Participants: David
  • Snow level: 1550 m

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