Col Du Gleyzin From Saint Colomban Des Villards

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Savoie (73) > Maurienne > Saint-Colomban des Villards > Col du Gleyzin


Mountain RangeBelledonne
SummitCol du Gleyzin
Starting Altitude1103m
MapsCarte IGN TOP 25 3433 OT Allevard
GPS Waypoint 
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:
Grade[1]Danger: 1, Climb: PD-, Ski: 2.3
CommentsThe slopes above the valley are avalanche prone, windslab under the col and cornices
SnowboardersThe valley is a bit flat over a couple of hundred meters
EquipmentSki crampons
Road AccessSaint-Colomban des Villards


29 December 2007

Powder a gogo. The valley is like a fridge, as usual which has its pay offs. The sun only made a short appearence in the Roches valley at this time of year. So everything was great, except from the slopes under the col which had caught the sun and were a bit crusty. All the north facing slopes were in great conditions. No-one in the valley apart from a another couple so everyone had room for their own tracks. We saw three skiers who were climbing to the north face of the Charmet, it didn't look great, compact and windblown with a small slab that had broken. -- Anny

  • Weather: Cold, sunny
  • Avalanche Risk: Moderate (2/5)
  • Participants: Anny, David , JC, Guy, Alexi, Bernard, Bernadette
  • Snow level: 1103 m (skiable)

7th March 2004

That evening I walked over to the ski resort of St Columban des Villards to check the local forecast. Hope. The front would clear overnight and the morning would be sunny before more snow and bad weather arrived. At dinner no-one believed my tale of good fortune and at dawn the weather was still grey and overcast. We walked up the valley to the tiny hamlet of les Roches. At the start of the forest path that leads to the Col du Gleyzin there is a plaque in memory of a 3 year old boy, swept away by the river in 1930. We were able to put our skis on around 1250 meters and continued up the forest track.

Jeanne-Marie enjoying the conditions
Jeanne-Marie enjoying the conditions

Exiting the forest a footbridge tried to entice us onto the opposite bank to follow the summer trail. Consulting the map we resisted the temptation and although the right bank had some scrubby bushes it turned out to be much easier going. At 1700 meters by the l'Orselle ruins we forked right. Climbing a steepish slope we heard a large rushing sound, across to the right a medium size snow slide was heading leisurely down the valley. We would see a number of these, especially on steep or sunny slopes as the fresh snow was purged. A large group of 23 skiers was climbing to the Selle du Puy Gris, this was our original destination but it involved some slopes of 35 degrees, perhaps not the ideal place to be after 30cm of fresh snow and high winds. Some other skiers seemingly agreed and crossed over to our valley.

Higher up we split from these skiers who were heading up to the Grand Moretan, a steep climb. We continued up the valley, traversing careful across to the col. A medium size cornice overhung our route and crossing under this we detached a large slab of snow from the slope. A reminder that things would take some more time to stabilise. I'd also dug a small pit at 2000 meters, this revealed a very hard 1cm thick sliding layer about 20cm under the fresh snow. This may have been formed by rain or sun and wasn't present further up in the snow pack.

View from the Col du Gleyzin
View from the Col du Gleyzin

The same trio set the pace on the descent. We had around 1500 meters ahead of us. I kept as far into the shaded northern slopes as I could trying to keep to the fresh and deep. At around 2000 meters the slopes opened up into the sun and already a hard surface was forming. There was nothing for it. Judicious use of speed and gentle curves to cut through the snow like a speedboat. Strangely a bit further on we picked up powder, albeit humid. Fortunately the forest path had already been skied and although narrow we were able to descend in a semblance of control with short swinging turns. Nathalie 150cm skis having little trouble, my 180cm planks were more or less the width of the path in many places. After a short walk we were back at the hotel, ready for a shower and a beer.

  • Weather : Cold with some cloud, remains of overnight snowfall.
  • Avalanche Risk: Considerable (3/5)
  • Participants: CAF Ile de France
  • Snow level: 1103 m (skiable)

Category: Trip Reports

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