Mike and I on the top of the Col by Fenetre du Feret

Link to detailed route page and map click on route title 

Grand St Bernard - Tete de Fonteinte

  • Distance 16 km
  • Time 4 h 2 min
  • Speed 4 km/h
  • Min altitude 1926 m
  • Peak 2816 m
  • Climb 974 m
  • Descent 1419 m
March 16, 2017

kin up Fenetre du Feret, decent down Fenetre D’un Haute. Climb 2 peaks 2,823m (unnamed west of first Col) and 2,775 m (Tete de Fonteinte). Descent from Hostel to car park

It dawned a beautiful settled sunny day with clear views across the mountain ranges. From the hostel we descended into Italy and took the road through the tunnel (much to our relief as the path below the tunnel did not look that great) to a collection of buildings at 2,356m. Whilst putting on our skins we were joined by a guy from Sweden (Christian) whom we had met at Breakfast.

It was already warming up for our skin up to the first Col over fairly gentle terrain. I was a bit concerned about what the ski down would be like, but fortunately did not need to worry. The beginning of our tour is the same route you would take to ascend Mont Fourchon (2,902m) however at about 2,550m the route splits with our tour heading NW.

At the Col one could ski directly into the bowl on the north side of the ridge or continue up another 100m to ascend a small peak. Some slightly tricky kick turns but well worth the extra effort when we got to the top. This allowed us to see the route up Mont Fourchon which looked much more ‘doable’ from this aspect than what I had looked at the previous day. An added advantage was that we could take a less skied route down to the Lac de Fenetre where we had our mid morning snack. The ski down was fantastic in particular the top half. Christian was a very accomplished snowboarder and it was a delight to see him enjoy his turns. Unfortunately we discovered at the break that he had a problem with his bindings for which we came up with a jerry rigged solution which lasted most of the rest of the tour.

We ascended up to the Tete de Fonteinte where we had lunch and admired the views of Mont Blanc and the Aoura Valley Mountain ranges examining other potential tours for the future. Given the heat and snow transition we did not linger for too long and were lucky to catch the spring snow conditions just right for our descent. A fun ski down back to the huts we started skinning from in the morning.

From here it was time to put the skins back on and climb back to the Hostel where a bowl of tea was very welcome before the final descent back down to the car park.

I was very happy to be using my Black Diamond skis as they worked well in the conditions (slightly heavy spring snow with breakable crust in places). However, have decided that new skins are in order as the glue on my existing ones has nearly reached the end of its useful life and the style of these skins means they can’t be easily cleaned and re-glued. Oh well that is something for next year now

Video of our ski day below: