EXPERIENCE Free Ride
Traverse of the Grandes Rousses Massif
A beautiful one-day ski traverse with amazing views of the Ecrins massif and Mont Blanc
The Grandes Rousses massif is located between the Oisans and Belledonne mountain ranges and its long ridge of peaks stretches perpendicular to the Romanche valley. Its southwest zone shelters the Alpe d'Huez ski resort. Ski touring across this massif means skinning up 1000 meters (3280ft) to ride down more than 3000 meters (9,842ft), while ascending the highest peaks of the Grandes Rousses massif. A real must! We start our day from the summit of Pic du Lac Blanc (3300m / 10,826ft), at the top of the ski lifts of Alpe d'Huez. We quickly find ourselves in the backcountry environment and make our way to the summit of Pic Bayle (3465m / 11,368ft), the highest peak of the Grandes Rousses massif. We then enjoy a great descent and reach the Quirlies glacier. From there, we skin up about 600 meters (1,968ft) to the Col des Quirlies and enter the glacial cirque of Saint Sorlin. We continue to the top of the Pic de l'Etendard (3464m / 11,364ft), with incredible views of the surrounding mountain ranges. From there, we ski down to the Col de la Barbarate (3219m / 10,561ft) and skin up to the Brèche de la Cochette, and enjoy skiing down to the Col du Couard (2234m / 7,148ft). The final descent back to the Alpe d'Huez ski resort marks the end of this integral traverse of the Grandes Rousses massif. A stunning itinerary, combining pleasant ascents and beautiful descents in a wild environment, at a constant elevation of more than 3000 meters (9,840ft).