Cretes De La Marmottane Tour

Ski Areas > Northern Alps > Belledonne > Glandon > Tour of the Crêtes de la Marmottane


From the col du Glandon or Sous le Col (north side of the col) follow the route to the Col de la Croix east face then descend the west face into the Col de Combe Madame to 2200 meters. Cut to the south-west under some cliff bands then refit skins. Climb the Combe Madame towards the col de la Combe Madame on the left side of the valley. At 2500 meters you will see the brèche de l’Argentière. This is a steep climb with three exits. Follow the middle couloir. As the slope is west facing the snow remains hard and this climb is best tackled on crampons with an ice ax. At the brèche refit your skis and follow the glacier de l’Argentière to the north-east. On the left side of the valley at 2200 you will find the entrance to a steepish gorge, follow this into the combe de la Croix and the Plan des Trois Eaux.


The tour can be done in the reverse sense depending on the snow conditions. Cotation ski 3.3/climb PD.

The tour can be combined with a climb to the Col de la Combe Madame, Rocher Blanc or Rocher Badon

Mountain RangeBelledonne
SummitRocher Blanc
OrientationNorth-East for the descents
Starting Altitude1634m
Vertical1650 m (incl. Rocher Blanc)
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
CommentsThe Marmottan and glacier de l'Argentiere are prone to avalanches late in the season. Stonefall in the Breche
SnowboardersYes but the col de la Combe is flat.
Road AccessFrom the Maurienne valley take the Col du Glandon exit direction St Colomban des Villards to the limit of snow cover

Trip Reports

28th April 2007

I'd promised to go out with Pierre at the start of the season but the snow never really seemed to be there on the days we were both free. Finally we agreed a date and met at Crolles Casino at 4h30. For once the car-park was not full of other ski tourers. Last night's storm must have put them off and the hour was quite early. We parked at sous le col d'en Bas where the road was closed for snow clearance although little remained. However there were still some large cornices on the Glandon. Cutting across the river to the chalets at Sous le col d'en Haut we picked up the path to the col de la Combe. Our original plan was a tour to the Sambuis but this had little snow cover to the summit at 2700m. Conditions more like the end of May. We decided to press on to the col de la Croix and from there removed skins to ski the Combe Madame. Again below the "pinch point" of the col 2000 meters there was no snow whereas normally you could ski to below the refuge de la Combe Madame around 1750 meters. The descent from the col de la Croix was delicate. Most of the slope lacked snow and the rest had avalanche debris. After tracking hard to the left we picked up a corridor of skiable snow. The grip on the refrozen surface was excellent.

In a little over 1 hour we were at the summit of the Rocher Blanc. The highest point in the range that it is practical to ski. The summit was a bit chilly with a cold wind. The first 100 meters was on hard snow but then the north-east slopes started to transform to excellent spring snow. We crossed the col de Buyant to keep on slopes sheltered from the strong sun. We then tracked east to the bottom of the Breche de l'Argentiere and a stiff climb of some 150 meters on foot.

The snow on the glacier de l'Argentière was for the most part excellent with the bonus of the little gulley to pick up the combe de la Croix. Finally the snow in the combe was very soft and required some polling to keep any forward momentum.

  • Weather : Sunny but cold at altitude, Good refreeze
  • Avalanche Risk: Weak (1/5)
  • Participants: Pierre, David
  • Snow level: 1900 m

Category: Trip Reports

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