Belle Combe (Col de la)

Belle Combe (Col de la)

Vertical drop (m)
Starting altitude (m)
Top/Max altitude (m)
Ski grade
Route type
Wide slopes

Start point Support point

- Timing: 3h40’ up
- Best season: February to mid April
- Aspect of the descent: E
- Ascent length: 6.340 m

The Col de la Belle Combe is a small saddle close to the Aiguille de la Belle Combe. The route goes via the west side of the Coumba Freida, starting with the Combe de Merdeux and then entering the little known Belle Combe, a wide valley nestled between the Aiguille de la Belle Combe bank and the Ceingles one, ending with the Petit Golliat. Lovers of solitude in the mountains will revel in this somewhat unknown itinerary that offers descents in untouched snow, where you can trace your line.
The first part of the route takes place at the bottom of the narrow valley and must be undertaken when the side slopes are devoid of snow. The final stretch is really steep and requires safe snow conditions.
From the Col de Belle Combe, you can enjoy a superb view on the Mont Blanc massif and the Val Ferret underneath, as well as the sharp peaks contouring Belle Combe, in particular the unusual view onto Petit Golliat.
The descent is via your uptrack, following pleasant gradient changes, which make it very enjoyable.
This is a somewhat difficult route, considering the length and the approach to the col: it is thus recommended for good ski mountaineers.
From the motorway exit Aosta Est, take the tunnel leading to the Grand Saint Bernard valley, then follow it and go beyond the hamlets of Gignod, Etroubles and Saint-Oyen.
Leave the road going up to the Grand Saint Bernard pass to the right and keep going on the state road E27 until you find the exit for the resort of Crévacol to the right. Continue for about 500m until you reach the big car park: leave the car on its west side.

Head due W going under the flyover of the Grand Saint Bernard tunnel and, following the track of the forestry road, climb the first shallow slope.  Run alongside the house of Devies and enter the Merdeux valley, along a shallow slope, passing Limassey and then reaching the Pots pasture (1,791m). Go along the base of the Merdeux valley and then climb up to the right, towards the Tsa de Merdeux (2.273m).  Go left and skin up the steep slope to the left of the valley, as far as the dale that leads to the col. Continue in the centre of the valley before starting the final descent, slightly veering to the left and reaching the base of the final slope. A series of switchbacks takes you to the saddle, at an altitude of 2982m. 

Make the descent freely along your skin track. An overall pleasant ride, with the final stretch shallowing out.

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December 6, 2020

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