Pointe de la Masse - Les Crêtes
From Ménuires, go to the summit of the Lac Noir chair lift in the La Masse ski area. You can reach this point via the La Masse summit by following the Crêtes red piste. From the chair lift, go up slightly, (10 meters) to pass under rocks to the north, then descend the Bache pass at 2529 meters. Climb the 110 meters on foot which lead to the summit of La Gratte at 2638 meters by easily following the ridge on the left. It takes 1/2 hour. It is possible to go around the summit via the western slope.
From the summit of La Gratte follow the crest which overhangs Vallée des Encombres as best as you can sometimes on the western slope, sometimes on the eastern until a pass at 2326 meters. From this pass climb slightly (20 meters) and cut across the side of the eastern slope of the Géffriand summit, to then reach the croup. Locate Pointe de la Fenêtre with the pass on its right. Follow the gently sloping croup passing on the high altitude airstrip to reach Chaffat chalet, and Col de la Fenêtre which is not step named on the map. From the pass go completely north over the village of the Châtelard 800 meters below.
Follow the scoop to the foot of the Cochet. Be careful of the numerous green alders in certain variants. Pass in front of the Parchy chalets at 1600 meters, then the forest and an often packed road which you can follow if you want to arrive naturally at the village of Châtelard at 1350 meters. From the Village a restorer from Saint Martin will be happy to find you a taxi for the two kilometres. From Saint Martin you can take a ski lift to return to Ménuires. It takes 2 and a half hours from the summit of the Lac Noir chair lift.
Variants: From Châlelard it is possible depending on the snow conditions to descend to Bérenger village at 1150 meters by following the crest under Châtelard.
The route is rather flat on all the crests so it is not recommended for snowboarding. The only “true” descent starts from Col de la Fenêtre.
Be careful of the cornices on the ridge underneath La Gratte.
The descent of the Col de la Fenêtre is often in good conditions since it faces completely to the north.
Access: Moûtiers>Les Ménuires. In Les Ménuires get a skipass at the ski lifts cashier at the bottom of La Masse gondola or in the centre of the station. Take the first section of the La Masse gondola then the Lac Noir chair lift to go to the summit of the route. It is possible to reach to the start of the route via La Masse summit by following the red Crêtes piste. The gondola is normally open from 20 December to the end of April, from 9:15 to 4:10 or 4:40 depending on the time of year. There is a skipass office at the bottom of the gondola.
Accommodation: Pay attention to the opening dates and hours of the La Masse and Saint Martin chair lift. : generally from 20 December to the end of April from 9:15 to 4:10 or 4:40 depending on the time of year, and closed from 4:20 to 4:50 for the Saint Martin chair lift. Telephone of the Ménuires ski patrol: 04 79 00 64 47.
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