Le Col Du Tacul


This tour starts from the top station of the Aiguille du Midi and you will want to bring crampons and an ice axe, if only for getting down the Midi arrête to the Col du Plan. Full glacier kit required. Start early. This is like skiing the Vallée Blanche, but with a pit stop to climb for a few hours before you ski back down. This tour does not go up Mont Blanc du Tacul (4248m), but rather up a col of the Aiguille du Tacul (3444m)

Start the tour by skiing any variant of the Vallée Blanche you care to take, to the point of the Salle à Manger. The Grand Envers will put you a bit lower than you want to be, but you can skin back up to the start. Cross the Salle à Manger to the far side where the Séracs des Géant meet the Glacier des Périades. Normally the climbers left side of the glacier is easier to ascend and less heavily crevassed. Continue climbing up this glacier as far as you like, really. Some parties stop at the Chandelle du Tacul, others the Cloche du Tacul and if you have time, attain the Col du Tacul at 3337m. Remember to think about the snow condition for skiing faces on the way down, and the last train time for the Montenvers if the ski out track into Chamonix is not in condition. You can determine this before your tour by asking locals, and by taking a look up the Planards ski area before heading out. Extreme skiers might head over the top of the Aiguille du Tacul, and down a long sustained 50 degree couloir, exiting via the Leschaux glacier but most people do not.

Ski back down the normal way by swinging skiers right after the Chandelle du Tacul. From here there are a couple of really nice faces to ski down which rejoin the Glacier du Tacul more directly across the Requin hut, further down the glacier from your starting point. These faces can often be in amazing condition for some great steep powder turns. They can also avalanche under the right conditions, so obviously use common sense and come back down the Periades if you are doubtful, taking great care to avoid crevasses. In general, if the avalanche risk is low for the slopes, they are a much safer way down as by that time you are off a glacier.

Ski the normal Vallée Blanche run back, down the Mer de Glace. There are usually tracks to follow here, well established. If conditions are good, walk off the glacier just past the Montenvers gondola and take what is known as the 'James Bond run' all the way back into Chamonix via Les Planards, otherwise, take the gondola to the Montenvers train and descend into town. From the Planards parking lot or Montenvers train station you can either walk back to where your car was parked or take a small shuttle bus (free).

Mountain RangeMont Blanc
SummitLe Col du Tacul
Starting Altitudeaprox 2400m (depending on exact low point of Glacier du Tacul and how high you want to go)
Verticalaprox 900 meters
MapsIGN TOP 25 3630 OT chamonix
GPS Waypoint 
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:
Grade[1]Danger: , Climb: , Ski:
CommentsGlaciated route, altitude
Equipmentcrevasse rescue equipment and training!
Road AccessCenter of Chamonix, Aiguille du Midi cable car parking