- Vertical drop (m)
- Starting altitude (m)
- Top/Max altitude (m)
- Ski grade
- Route type
- Wide slopes
Start point Support point
- Timing: 3h45’ up
- Best season: February to March
- Aspect of the descent: S then NE
- Ascent length: 7.200m
Discovering the wild Combe d’Ars
Mont Labiez is a summit on the long N arête of Mont Fallère. It divides the Flassin valley from the Combe d’Ars and is climbed along this face because it is gentler than the decidedly technical couloirs of the N one. In the shade in the initial part of the route, it is then sunny in the upper stretch of the Combe d’Ars: invariably, the snow consistency will differ.
This is a varied itinerary that is not too popular: pick your line and you’re in for untouched storm skiing. The wood at the beginning will not ease progression, but from the Ars mountain pasture onwards, the landscape changes, with a series of valleys and knolls that lead to the broad Combe d’Ars. In the final part, sensational vistas appear on the horizon, encompassing the main Pennine Alps peaks, from Matterhorn as far as Mont Vélan, and also unusual glimpses on Mont Fallère and the Flassin valley below.
The descent is via the same uptrack, freely: you are in for a pleasant ride.
This route is rated GS and features some stretches of minor difficulty: you are required to possess the adequate technical and physical skills and training.
From the car park, head due S climbing the vast slopes or the forestry road freely until you reach the hamlet of Gariache (1.472m). Head to the right and follow the shallow forestry road, then leave it after about 600 m, veering left and starting climbing the wood in a narrow passage between the trees, before finding a clearing that you will climb until its end, keeping to its right. At the end of the clearing, go back inside the wood, joining up with the forestry road again; follow it until the beginning of the Ars Valley, where the wood comes to an end. Carry on flanking the Ars mountain pasture (1.974m) and climb up broad slopes above, before entering a small valley. Go round the Tsa by veering right, crossing a flat bowl, then go to the foot of its E ridge. Pass a steeper section and merge with the gentle final ridge, where you will find a forestry bivouac, after having left the face. From here, you will quickly reach the top of Mont Labiez (2.632m), surmounted by a cairn with a wood cross on top.
Make the descent freely via your skin track as far as the trailhead. In the first part of the descent, go down towards the Tsa d’Ars on pretty, sunny slopes before entering the small valley that leads to the Ars mountain pasture. From there, following your uptrack. go back to the car park by crossing sections of the wood.
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March 12, 2021