- Vertical drop (m)
- Starting altitude (m)
- Top/Max altitude (m)
- Ski grade
- Route type
- Wide slopes
Start point Support point
- Timing: 3h30’ up
- Best season: March to May
- Aspect of the descent: E then S
- Ascent length: 6.500m
A captivating, suspended plateau
The Aiguille des Sasses, aka de Lesache, is a picturesque Three-thousander sitting on the border with Switzerland. Given its altitude and aspect, this route can be undertaken late in the season, as well. Inspiring, dramatic views open up while skinning up, and you’ll be sitting cheek by jowl with a Patagonia-style setting, especially in the final section close to the summit. A varied, pleasant ascent where easier sections alternate with more challenging ones. The vista from the top is simply stunning: a 360° view on the W Pennine Alps and the Mont Blanc massif, with sensational glimpses on nearby Grand Golliat.
The trailhead lies just above Saint-Rhémy and the route takes you along the Combe de Farcoz; enter a large couloir (you will need near-perfect conditions here as it is an avalanche-prone area) that leads to a superb suspended plateau, a residue of the last glaciation, before the summit.
The descent is via the your uptrack.
You may also undertake this route when the road to the Grand Saint Bernard col is open: in this case, the elevation gain will be reduced as you will be setting off from the parking area below the Praz de Farcoz alpine pasture, at 2.100m.
Follow the snowy road closely as far as the plateau, where you cross the Gran Saint Bernard stream. Once you have traversed it and are on the bridge, turn right and follow a shallow forestry road that runs alongside the hamlets of La Tuette (1.778m) and, shortly afterwards, goes underneath the Tunnel viaduct. Climb down slightly and then climb up to the left until you merge with the state road again, close to Praz d’Arc (1.977m). Keep climbing in the wide basin going close to the Praz de Farcoz alpine pasture and then to the Tsa d’Arc (2.341m) that you leave to the left. Carry on straight ahead going towards a large couloir, climb up almost to its end and then turn left to enter a dazzling suspended plateau. In a truly Patagonia-style atmosphere, keep going on the plateau towards the summit ahead of you. Carry on until you are at the foot of the summit and then turn right to climb the last, tilted slope: the summit may be reached on foot or with your skis, according to the snow conditions.
Make the descent via your skin track. Once off the summit, keep going on the plateau and then drop down on the couloir. Once the steepest sections are in the bag, the descent offers infinite, pleasant laps until the last section, close to the Grand Saint Bernard tunnel, where the slope shallows out.
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May 26, 2021