La Pinea Couloir Vermorel

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Isère (38) > Chartreuse > Col de Porte > La Pinéa by the couloir Vermorel


From the col de Porte (Centre des Etudes de la Neige) follow the signs in the direction of la Pinéa to the west. The track climbs steadily turning to the south-west then zig-zags through the forest to Plenom. You are now on the ridge-line joining Mont-Fromage with la Pinéa. The trail climbs out of the forest. The summit can be reached by the north-east ridge (blue/yellow markings) but you may need crampons as this is often icy. Otherwise traverse across the east face and climb directly eastwards to the summit at 1771 meters (attention slab avalanches).

Vermorel couloir just below la Pinéa

Retrace your steps back to the foot of the north-east ridge. You will find a narrow entrance to the couloir de Vermorel marked with a signpost. The first few meters may be icy and steep and there is some light brushwood in the couloir. Ski down to the point where the couloir starts to widen and traverse to the north-east, you will find youself in a bowl which you can ski down to 1500 meters following the bed of a stream (attention avalanches / possible terrain trap). This “bowl” is evident on the IGN map as a clearing with the trace of a small stream. At the bottom of this bowl you have a small ice fall of about 2-3 meters which you can either jump (if the snow conditions are good), sideslip or climb down using a rope (a piton was left on the 24th of March 2007 for this purpose).

Second bowl below the ice-fall

Continue into the lower bowl which again ends in a small cliff which you can ski around either to the left or right. Follow the rive down to the forest trail which descends to the fields at Girieux. If the snow is good you can ski down to Planfay at 750 meters.

Refit your climbing skis, pass the small “cabin de fanfan” and head north-east.


Possible to start from Planfay (Grenoble -> St Egreve -> Proveysieux (D105) -> Pomarey -> Planfay). The advantage with the col de Porte is that you don't drop much below 1300 meters. It is possible to combine the circuit with the Charmont-Som and Chamchaude in one day for around 1900 meters of vertical.

Mountain RangeChartreuse
Summitla Pinéa
Starting Altitude1326m
MapsIGN TOP 25 3334 OT Chartreuse Sud
GPS Waypoint 
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:Col-de-Porte
Grade[1]Danger: 2, Climb: F, Ski: 3.2
EquipmentRope for the ice-fall, crampons for the summit
CommentsOn the descent there is a 2 meter cliff at 1500m at the bottom of the bowl
Road Accesscol de Porte
RefugeCabane de fanfan?

Trip Reports

24th March 2007

First real outing in the Chartreuse this season where it is possible to ski in the woods and not just on open bowls and forest tracks. The bowls were full of snow but this seemed to hold well to the older base. The west side of the Chartreuse seems to have received the most snow. There was some 30cm at 1250 meters although no base at this altitude.

La Pinéa (Stone Pine) was windswept with little snow and a lot of bare ice. I decided not to risk a summit as there would be no view. I engaged in the couloir. The first couple of meters were icy and some earlier skiers had scraped the 10cm of fresh snow from the middle of the couloir but this still left some big accumulations on the left bank. A tricky few meters negociating brushwood then the slope opened out again and I continued down the couloir.

Direct Couloir

Only this route got steeper and steeper (you don't see the angle in the photo above) finally ending in what looked like a cliff - it was hard to see the bottom. I climbed back up and traversed into a couple of funnel shaped bowls that are marked as clearings on the IGN map. I half skied, half climbed the ice fall… it should be possible to jump but I didn’t trust the snow below on my own and then ripped it up down the second bowl and through the woods to the parking at Girieux without touching a single stone. The climb back up, about 450 meters, followed snow shoe tracks which made life easy and then I skied down through the forest below Mont-Fromage back to the parking at the col de Porte. Again barely a scrape despite the lack of base.

Burned out car at Girieux
  • Weather : Low cloud and light snow
  • Avalanche Risk: Considerable (3/5)
  • Participants: David
  • Snow line: 30-40cm of snow at 1250m

Category: Trip Reports

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