Malatra (Col de)

Malatra (Col de)

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: February to mid April
- Aspect of the descent: E
- Ascent length: 6.760m

Tracking the mythical westward passage

The Col de Malatra is an iconic point between two rock shoulders on the slope that extends from the Aiguille d’Artanavaz as far as Mont Tapie. Very popular in the summer - does the Tor des Géants ring any bell? - it is less so in the winter: for this reason, it is a solitary, intimate route in this season. Its typical rocky structure makes this a highly evocative itinerary, granting original, exciting views with regards to other routes close by.
The ascent takes place along the long Combe de Merdeux, via a series of shelves offering varying vistas as you proceed. Once you have reached the last step, you will enter a picturesque amphitheatre where the col blends with the various outcrops making up the sharp ridge.
The first stretch at the bottom of the valley and the last steep section leading to the col must be undertaken only with well-anchored slopes and sound snow conditions.
Despite a limited view, the panorama from the Malatra Col is sensational: the view onto not-too-distant Mont Blanc is among the most celebrated in the entire region.
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). Shortly afterwards, the slope gets steeper and the route goes via a complex section with hillocks that lead to the sensational final amphitheatre. Go along a slightly flat area before tackling the steep final wall and reaching the rocky inlet of the col, your altitude 2.929m.

Make the descent freely along your skin track. The steep final wall becomes fertile lappable land for amazing storm skiing. After that, the gradient goes from shallow to moderately steep, until you reach the final stretch, where the slope shallows out.

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January 26, 2019
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Tracks (2)

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  • 45-90
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