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Alpine Ski Mountaineering Vol 1 Western Alps - Europe - a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of Alpine Ski Mountaineering Vol 1 - Western Alps
7 Nov 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
No. Maps
No. Photos
1st Published
1 Jan 2002
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Alpine Ski Mountaineering Vol 1 - Western Alps

Ski tours in France, Switzerland and Italy

by Bill O'Connor
Book published by Cicerone Press

This guidebook describes the finest high-level ski tours and ski mountaineering routes in the Western Alps in areas as diverse as the Ecrins, Vanoise, Haute Maurienne, Gran Paradiso, Mont Blanc, Valais and Urner Alps. Includes the classic Haute Route, the ski mountaineering traverse through the Alps between Chamonix and Zermatt.

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Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
Weight: 340g

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The European Alps offer some of the finest and most accessible ski mountaineering in the world. A combination of magnificent and varied terrain, an enviable snow record, excellent public transport, unrivalled hut system and long ski season make them a focus for mountaineers and skiers throughout the world.

This first volume of the Ski Mountaineering series describes The 'Classic Haute Route', the traverse between Chamonix and Zermatt, and also brings together a selection of the finest high-level ski tours in the Western Alps in areas as diverse as the Ecrins, Vanoise, Haute Maurienne, Gran Paradiso, Mt Blanc, Valais and Urner Alps. Volume 2 covers the Central and Eastern Alps.

The routes described will provide a lifetimes ski mountaineering for the average ski mountaineer, with rewards and challenges for all levels of ability.

  • Seasons
    Generally, February/March until May. Best times vary from route to route, and are indicated in the guide.
  • Centres
    Chamonix, Champex, Zermatt, La Berade, Bonneval-sur-Arc, Aussois, Cogne (Val d'Aosta), Verbier.
  • Difficulty
    Ski mountaineering is a potentially dangerous activity, and should only be undertaken by those with a full understanding of the risks and with the training and experience to evaluate them.
  • Must See
    Idyllic conditions of perfect snow, few crevasses, a track in place, and perfect clear weather!


Alpine hut seasons

Readers should be aware that seasons for individual alpine huts are determined by the people who manage them and may change. The suggestion of a hut as a stop on a ski tour in this guide does not guarantee that the hut will be open (although most huts have winter rooms open and available throughout the winter as explained in the guide). You should always check ahead, by ringing the numbers given in the guide or by looking at the appropriate Alpine Club website. These websites have the most up-to-date information on the huts: Austrian Alpine Club –; Swiss Alpine Club –; Italian Alpine Club –; French Alpine Club –; Slovenian Alpine Club –; German Alpine Club –


Using this Guidebook
On Tour
The Hut System
Avalanche Awareness
Avalanche Accidents
Helicopter Rescue
A Safety Strategy for Ski Mountaineering
Grading and Difficulty
Equipment List
Écrins Haute Route
Stage 1 La Grave – Gare des Ruillans – Col de la Girose – Glacier de la Girose – Brèche du Râteau – La Bérarde
Stage 2 La Bérarde – Refuge Temple Écrins with optional ascent to the Col des Avalanches
Stage 3 Refuge Temple Écrins – Col de la Temple – Refuge Cézanne – Refuge du Glacier Blanc
Stage 4 Refuge du Glacier Blanc – Dôme de Neige des Écrins – Refuge des Écrins
Stage 5 Refuge des Écrins – Col Émile Pic – Glacier de la Plate des Agneaux – Refuge Adèle Planchard
Stage 6 Refuge Adèle Planchard – Grande Ruine – Villar d'Arène
Haute Maurienne Traverse
Stage 1 Bonneval-sur-Arc – Carro Refuge
Stage 2 Refuge Carro – Levanna Occidentale – Col du Grand Méan – Refuge Evettes
Stage 3 Evettes Refuge – L'Albaron – Refuge d'Avérole
Stage 4 Refuge d'Avérole – Ouille de l'Arbéron – le Villaron
La Poulé – Vanoise High-Level Circuit
Stage 1 Aussois to the Refuge Dent de la Parrachée
Stage 2 Refuge Dent de la Parrachée – Col du Labby – Refuge de l'Arpont
Stage 3 Refuge de l'Arpont – Dôme de la Chasseforêt – Refuge du Col de la Vanoise (Felix Faure Hut)
Stage 4 The Grande Casse from the Refuge du Col de la Vanoise (Felix Faure Hut)
Stage 5 Refuge du Col de la Vanoise (Felix Faure Hut) – Pralognan – Refuge de Péclet Polset
Stage 6 Refuge de Péclet Polset – Dôme de Polset – Refuge de Péclet Polset
Stage 7 Refuge de Péclet Polset to Modane or Aussois
Grand Paradiso Haute Route
Stage 1 Valnontey to the Rifugio Sella
Stage 2 Rifugio Sella – Grand Serra – Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele
Stage 3 Vittoria Emanuele Hut – Grand Paradiso – Chabod Refuge – Eaux Rousses
Stage 5 Eaux Rousses – Rhêmes Notre-Dame
Stage 6 Rhêmes Notre-Dame – Benevolo Refuge
Stage 7 Benevolo Refuge – Becca della Traversière – Rifugio Mario Bezzi
Stage 7 Rifugio Mario Bezzi – Becca di Giasson – Valgrisenche
Mont Blanc Haute Route
Stage 1 Champex – Val d'Arpette – Trient Hut
Stage 2 Trient Hut – Aiguille du Tour – Fenêtre de Saleina – Col du Chardonnet – Argentière Hut
Stage 3 Argentière Hut – Col des Grands Montets – Pas de Chèvre – Requin Hut
Stage 4 Requin Hut – Cosmiques Hut
Stage 5 Cosmiques Hut – Mont Blanc Traverse – Gonella Hut
Stage 6 Gonella Hut – Col de la Seigne – Aiguille des Glaciers – Conscrits Hut
Stage 7 Conscrits Hut – Dômes de Miage – les Contamines Montjoie
High-Level Day-Tours in the Mont Blanc Massif
Day-Tours in the Aiguilles Rouges
Col des Aiguilles Crochues to Le Buet
Col du Belvédère to Le Buet
Col de Beaugent to Le Buet
Day-Tours from the Grands Montets or Argentière Hut
Col du Tour Noir
Aiguille d'Argentière via the Glacier du Milieu
The Three Cols
Col du Passon
Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets
Mont Blanc du Tacul – North Face Normal Route
Tours from the Conscrits Hut
Contamines Montjoie to The Conscrits Refuge
Dômes des Miage
Aiguille des Glaciers
Pain de Sucre du Mont Tondu
The Classic Haute Route
The Classic Haute Route
Stage 1 Argentière – Grands Montets – Col des Grands Montets – Argentière Hut
Stage 2 Argentière Hut – Col du Chardonnet – Fenêtre de Saleina – Trient Hut
Stage 3 Trient Hut – Champex – Bourg St Pierre
Stage 4 Bourg St Pierre – Valsorey Hut
Stage 5 Valsorey Hut – Plateau du Couloir – Col Sonadon – Chanrion Hut
Stage 6 Option 1 Chanrion Hut – Otemma glacier – Col Chermontane – Vignettes Hut
Stage 6 Option 2 Chanrion Hut – Brenay Glacier – Col du Brenay – Pigne d'Arolla – Vignettes Hut
Stage 7 Vignettes Hut – Col de l'Evêque – Col Mont Brulé – Tête de Valpelline – Zermatt
Stage 8 Zermatt – Saas Fee via the Adler pass
The Grande Lui Variation
Stage 1 Trient Hut – Fenêtre de Saleina – Col de Saleina – La Fouly
Stage 2 La Fouly – Fenêtre de Ferret – Great St Bernard Hospice
Stage 3 Great St Bernard Hospice – Col de Prox – Chaux de Jean Max to c2257m – Valsorey Hut
The Verbier High-Level Route
The Classic Haute Route
Stage 1 Mt Fort Hut – Three Cols – Dix Hut
Stage 2 Dix Hut – Pigne d'Arolla – Vignettes Hut
Stage 3 Vignettes Hut – Col de l'Evêque – Col Mont Brulé – Tête de Valpelline – Zermatt
Stage 4 Zermatt – Adler pass – Saas Fee
Arolla High-Level Circuit
The Classic Haute Route
Stage 1 Arolla –Pas des Chèvres– La Luette– Dix Hut
Stage 2 Dix Hut – Pigne d'Arolla – Brenay Glacier – Les Portons – Chanrion Hut
Stage 3 Chanrion Hut – Mt Avril – Regondi Bivouac Hut
Stage 4 Regondi Bivouac Hut – Mont Gelé – Bivouac de l'Aiguillette (Singla)
Stage 5 Bivouac de l'Aiguillette – Col du Petit Mt Collon – Col de l'Evêque – Col du Mt Brulé – Col du Valpelline – Col de la Tête Blanche – Bertol Hut
Stage 6 Bertol Hut – Tête Blanche – Wandflue– Mota Rota– Glacier Ferpecle – Les Haudères
Zermatt and Saas Fee 4000ers
The Classic Haute Route
Stage 1 Kleine Matterhorn – Breithorn – Guide d'Ayas e Champoluc Hut
Stage 2 Guide d'Ayas Hut – Castor – Quintino Sella Hut
Stage 3 Quintino Sella Hut – Il Naso – Gnifetti Hut
Stage 4 Gnifetti Hut – Signalkuppe – Zumsteinspitze – Monte Rosa Hut
Stage 5 Monte Rosa Hut – Adler pass – Strahlhorn – Britannia Hut
Stage 6 Britannia Hut – Allalinhorn – Langflue Restaurant/Hut
Stage 7 Langflue Restaurant/Hut – Alphubel – Saas Fee, or Täsch
Appendix A Summary of the Tours
Appendix B Further Reading and Information
Alpine Ski Mountaineering, Volume 2: Central and Eastern Alps
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