Mont Pourri North west Face

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Savoie (73) > Tarentaise > Les Arcs > Les Arcs Off Piste > Mont Pourri North West face


Mont Pourri is a classic spring ski touring route and is often possible through to the start of July with little carrying. Later in the season it is possible to use the maintenance roads of les Arcs to drive to 2400 meters. When you arrive in Arc 2000 take an unmade road under a building which then passes in front of the resort. In the ski season the start is accessed from the top of the Grand Col chair. From here climb to eastwards to the Grand Col where there is a basic cabin/refuge. The drag lift marked on some maps has long since been removed, this restricts access to the sensitive nature reserve on the eastern side of the col.

From the col turn south onto the highly crevassed glacier du Grand Col. The slope steepens as you climb between the seracs to reach the Col des Roches at 3443 meters. An icy scramble lets you access the glacier du Geay one hundred meters below. Traverse across the glacier to the south-east then climb steep slopes between crevasses and seracs to reach the south-west shoulder at around 3700 meters. Climb the shoulder to the summit. The glacier du Geay is high crevassed and also threatened by serac fall. The couloirs under the Aiguille du St Esprit are avalanche prone, particularly during rapidly warming conditions.


North-West Direct

Possible to ski directly from the summit under good snow conditions, there are steep sections of 50° with a sustained 45° to arrive with the seracs to your left at 3400 on the glacier du Geay. Toponeige rating 5.1.

Tour of the Aiguille du St Esprit

The col des Roches poses some problems in the spring. The north-west face of the Mont-Pourri only transforms around mid-morning. By this time the col des Roches, which sees the sun from early in the day, can be extremely humid and difficult to climb. An alternative is to ski the glacier du Geay, first of all following the center of the valley then traversing right bank around 3000 meters beneath the seracs. Cross over the terminal moraine at 2800 meters and ski down to the plan de la Citra to pick up the trail to the refuge du Mont Pourri. From here head north over a flat and wide valley which steepens to climb to the lac des Moutons to return to the ski resort. The reverse is possible using the refuge du Mont Pourri? as an overnight stop. Snow cover under the lac des Moutons is normally skiable until early June as far as the refuge - the valley holds snow well.

Mountain RangeTarentaise
SummitMont Pourri
Altitude3779 meters
OrientationNorth-West - south-east for the col des Roches
Starting Altitude2150 m
Vertical1850 m
MapsIGN n°3532 ET les Arcs la Plagne
GPS Waypoint 
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:Les-Arcs
Grade[1]Danger: 2, Climb: PD+, Ski: 4.1
CommentsGlaciers are heavily crevassed
Road AccessAlberville -> (N90) Bourg Saint Maurice -> (D119) -> les Arc 2000
RefugesBivouac du Grand Col?, refuge du Mont Pourri?

Trip Reports

10th June 2007

We skied from the car but the snow was humid then frozen as we climbed higher although it couldn't support our weight when walking with crampons. Ski crampons were essential under the col des Roches on the bed of old avalanches. The rocks under the col des Roches were snow covered and the cable, if it still exists, was covered by snow. The Glacier du Geay had hard snow but with good grip on skins. David and Michel, seeing the size of some of the crevasses and the weak bridges given the warm weather prefered to climb on skis, the girls, being lighter, risks crampons.

Snow was excellent to 3200 meters then a bit crusty followed by very humid snow that was fun to ski using windscreen wiper turns (thank-you Mr Saudan).

We stopped at 3650 meters due to dense cloud enveloping the summit - the summit ridge is no place to be in low viz. Triggered a small avalanche of humid snow around 2900 meters altitude. Around 20-30cm of fresh snow poorly bonded to the old base.

  • Weather : Warm, some sun but cloud building by mid morning
  • Avalanche Risk: Weak (2/5)
  • Participants: Gigi, Isa, Marine, Michel, David
  • Snow level: 2250 m (north) 2450 (south-west), 2600 (south-east)

25th April 2010

After an overnight stay in the Refuge Mont Pourri we climbed the Glacier du Geay (very good grip) to the summit. Most of the crevasses were well bridged and there was a good refreeze. From the shoulder we climbed to the summit with crampons. On the way down we did some crevasse rescue training below the Col des Roches (there is a good but deep crevasse for this) then climbed the col des Roches (still feasible at 13h30 with strong sun) to return via the Grand Col and Combe de Commune.

  • Weather : Strong sunshine
  • Avalanche Risk: Weak (2/5)
  • Participants: FFME group
  • Snow level: refuge. Powder on the Mont Pourri west face and from the col des Roches to the Grand Col. Transformed elsewhere.

Category: Trip Reports

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