Tour Of The Rochers De Buyant

Ski Areas > Northern Alps > Belledonne > Glandon > Tour of the Rochers de Buyant


This trip links the climb of the Rocher Blanc with the descent of the col de la Combe Madame via the Combe Madame. The principal advantage is that the south face of the Rocher Blanc loses its snow very quickly in the spring means you have to climb down 100 meters. The north facing Combe Madame often has good snow as does the sheltered bowl under the eponymous col.

Climb by the Rocher Blanc south face. At the summit remove your skins and ski down the combe Madame to point 2450 meters (or further depending on your desires) then climb the north side of the col de la Combe Madame. The descent is the same as for the south side of the Col de la Combe Madame . At around 2300 meters you reach a narrow gorge, follow the slopes to the left under the Grosse Pierre back to the Rieu Claret valley.

Mountain RangeBelledonne
SummitRocher Blanc
OrientationNorth-East and South
Starting Altitude1747m
Vertical1400 m
MapsIGN n°3335 ET Bourg d'Oisans
GPS WaypointN 45.2470°, E 06.1304°
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:Glandon
Grade[1]Danger: 1, Climb: PD, Ski: 2.3
CommentsNo major difficulties
Road AccessGrenoble -> Rochetaille -> Allemond -> Rieu Claret (open from mid-May)
RefugesRefuge de la Combe Madame?

Trip Reports

7th May 2007

The plan had been to start from the Col de la Croix de Fer, mythic stage on the Tour de France however a tire blowout on the climb at the level of the Rieu Claret changed our plans. The tire could wait, we had climbing to do. We found fresh snow at 1900m and fixed skins. The climb was without incident but the previous days' fresh snow had a wind crust. We would either have to wait at the summit for this to warm and melt or ski down the sheltered north-east facing bowl of the Combe Madame. Unlike last May there was just enough snow to reach the summit of the Rocher Blanc on skis.

At the summit we did a quick change to descent mode. Snow crystals were being moved by the strong northerly wind and were blasting our faces. The first 100 meters was crusted. Jean and I didn't have too much trouble on our Sweet Daddies but David found the conditions more challenging. Fortunately our instincts were right and the snow soon turned to cohesive powder giving 500 meters of excellent skiing. A picnic stop under the warm sun with Jean's home made Terrine and Genepi then the easy 200 meters climb to the col de la Combe Madame and the untouched south facing valley beyond.

Personally I love these tours taking in a variety of slopes and valleys. It feels like a real adventure.

  • Weather : Sunny, Fresh snow with crust at altitude, Windy
  • Avalanche Risk: Weak (1/5)
  • Participants: Jean, David Savoye, David
  • Snow level: 1900 m
  • Montagne 38 - David's website
  • Le Rocher Blanc - Jean's website

Category: Trip Reports

<< Col de la Combe Madame | Glandon | Col de la Croix east face >>