EXPERIENCE Major snow alpinism routes

Les Bans (3669m), North couloir

A mixed climb in one of the most aesthetic couloirs of the Ecrins massif

Starting our hike from la Bérarde, the sight of Les Bans overlooking the Pilatte glacier is simply breathtaking. An elegant peak, it is located at the confluence point of three valleys: the sources of the Vénéon river, the Entre-les-Aigues and the Valgaudemar. Its summit is striated in its middle part by a magnificent couloir of ice and snow. Together with the Gravelotte couloir on La Meije, it is one of the steepest and most aesthetic couloirs of the Ecrins massif, regarded as a major climb on a magnificent rock. Its first ascent was made by Bourde, Dubost and Duplat in 1950. Essentially covered with ice, the couloir is usually climbed on its right side, sheltered from potential rockfalls.




Day 1

From la Bérarde, we set off towards the Carrelet mountain hut (1909m), following the right bank of the Vénéon river and reach it in one hour. The path gently winds up to the Pilatte mountain hut (2577m) and a small bridge allows us to cross the stream and follow its left bank. It is only towards the end of our hike that we have in sight the glacier and the mountain hut, together with a stunning view of Les Bans.

800m vertical - between 2 and 3 hours from la Bérarde (1727m) to the Pilatte mountain hut (2577m).

Night in the hut.

Day 2

From the Pilatte mountain hut, we gently start our climb and reach the bergschrund at the base of the couloir. It is the start of a 400-meter ice climb on a 55-degree slope (some sections are slightly steeper). The couloir is not equipped and the ascent ends on an exposed ridge, allowing us to reach the upper section of the Macho couloir. The climb down can be completed either by the south summit/normal route or by the northwest summit. 

1070m vertical - 400m for the couloir - between 4 and 6 hours.

1000.0 €

This Price is for a maximum number of participants: 1

Make An Enquiry

The price is from 1000€ to 1200€ a guide according to the level of experience of the roped party and the forecast at the moement.


Outing with a certified mountain guide or instructor

Professional Civil Liability Insurance

Group technical gear (rope…)


Personal Accident Insurance

Water Bottle or thermos, food and snacks

backpack (around 35L)



Mountain boots that work with crampons

Classic mountaineering ice axe. Crampons with ANTI-SNOW system that fit your mountaineering boots.

A pair of ice climbing ice axes + ice climbing crampons

Meal costs for clients and guide

Club Alpin ID card, insurance card or information, Alpine Club card (if you have one)

Picnic for during the day

Lodging costs for clients and guide

Small first aid kit for your personal needs and that contains material in case of blisters

Sleeping bag liner (to be used with the provided blankets at the refuges) and small toiletry kit (no showers in the refuge)

Appropriate clothing for your activity and the weather

Contact Us


Rn 1091 place du téléphérique,
05320 la grave France

Phone Number

+33 476 799 021