Aiguille du Tour - Couloir de la Table
A beautiful wild gully good for perfecting you steep slope skiing.
The following description is primarily written for skiers, but can also be used for summer ascents on foot.
To the base of the gully or Albert 1er refuge can be done in different ways: via Col du Passon (recommended) or by the Trois Cols route from the Grands Montets cable car, via the Tour ski lift and the summer trail (exposed) or via the Col du Passon descent route. You can also start from Trient refuge (attended) by traversing the upper Col du Tour or from the Argentière refuge by traversing Col du Passon.
Via Col du Passon. From to station of the Grands Montets lift, head for the “Point de vue” piste and quickly leave it to descend Rognons glacier to the NE towards Argentière glacier. (classic wilderness skiing with numerous variants). You generally pass right by the Rognon at elevation 3000 and south of the Rognons moraine. On the flat part of Argentière glacier, around 2550 m:
either traverse horizontally to reach its right bank and via a long NW ascending traverse, which is often difficult, under the foothills of Aiguille du Chardonnet you reach a flat area (around 2730 m),
or go around a tortuous area and traverse the flat part of the glacier around 2400m. Cross the short but steep moraine and go up unrelenting slopes to the north to reach a scoop to the NE until a flat area (2730 m) where the two routes meet. Continue towards the north to reach the side of the corridors resulting from Col du Passon. Go up the corridor on the right (rock or ice are possible towards the top). Descend to the north towards the refuge which you reach by going up a small slope.
Traverse to the side above the refuge to take foot on the glacier around 2800 m. Then climb a characteristic rocky islet (Signal Reilly) to the north and traverse just above it. Via a small steep slope between two crevassed areas which are well-marked and visible on the map, go around the big rocky pillars, to gain the flat area in the basin enclosed by Aiguille Purtscheller. Here you are at the foot of the gully, dominated by the large balanced boulder called “La Table”. Put on your crampons and climb the gully (around 250 m) until a small notch. Leave your skis there and continue via the ridge until the summit, easy until the first secondary summit, where you generally stop (30 min), it is more difficult to the real summit (1h).
Return to the notch and descend the guuly. Then traverse the true left bank of Tour glacier to reach the classic descent of the Passon traverse opposite Albert 1ere refuge. There are two possibilities for returning to the village of Tour:
trend leftwards to pass under the base of Bec de la Cluy (2334 m) and continue to the left to descent the NW snow bowl of Bec de Lachat to reach a larch forest. Then descend towards the village avoiding the bars on the left, you reach the village via a traverse to the right going towards the footbridge 1470 m.
or continue to descend on the right of Plagnard stream and around 2000 m, traverse to the right towards the NW a steep area of alders to reach the snow bowls under Tour glacier (risk of serac falls). Descend these scoops to reach the Tour pistes by traversing the Gratapia area of alders around 1600 m.
If the second section of the lift is closed, add 500 m to the day (+1h30)
- The summit ridge up to the real summit can be difficult. The gully is unrelenting at 45° for 200m with a steeper start
- South for the corridor but NW for the descent on Le Tour.
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