Col du Tour Noir : West Slope

Col du Tour Noir : West Slope


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Associated waypoints

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  • Swisstopo - 46 - Val de Bagnes
  • Swisstopo - 282 - Martigny
  • Swisstopo - 1344 - Col de Balme
  • Swisstopo - 1345 - Orsières
  • IGN - 3630OT - Chamonix - Massif du Mont Blanc



route_types: return_same_way
durations: 1 day(s)

quality: medium

Download track as


2.3 / E1
PD / S3


elevation min/max : 3230 m / 3535 m

height_diff: +965 m / -2970 m

route_length: 19.708 km


glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear


lift_access : yes




Beautiful classic route, good for beginning ski tour in a grandiose setting. Classically done in a day, you can also climb to Argentière refuge and sleep there in order to get around the hassles of the tram. Col du Tour Noir is not a classic sequence (east slope descent - S5 exposed).

Col du Tour Noir
Col du Tour Noir

Route # 5 to 6 h (ascent - descent)
From Col des Grands Montets, follow the Argentière refuge route. Head for the "Point de vue" piste and quickly leave it on the right to descend Rognons glacier to the NE towards Argentière glacier. (classic wilderness skiing with numerous variants. You generally cross the ropes via a small opening with an advertising sign). You classically pass near the Rognon at spot elevation 3000 (primarily to the right) then to the south of the Rognons moraine. Via a traverse to the right, you reach the Argentière glaciers and put on skins (since there are areas exposed to avalanches from Aiguille Verte). Go up Argentière glacier with the base of Améthystes glacier in sight. You pass just below Argentière refuge.

Some years, if the snow cover is good, it is possible to traverse the Rognons glacier under Aiguille Verte to pass above the Rognon 2866 and directly reach the base of Améthystes glacier. (complex route, very crevassed and exposed to serac falls from Verte)

Go up Améthystes glacier, first primarily on the right bank then traverse to the right to avoid an area of crevasses. Then return to the centre in the direction of the pass. If the snow cover is bad at the base of the glacier, go via the refuge and the steep scoops above. Descend via the same route until Argentière glacier which you descend to reach its left bank to find the Grands Montets wilderness skiing area. Follow the left bank of the glacier (the route is sometimes crevassed and narrow) and after a slightly sloping area, leave the glacier uphill from a serac area around 2300m to reach the piste or wilderness skiing area until Argentière. You can also go towards the EMHM building (restaurant). If the snow cover is poor, you can reach Lognan and the "Pierre à Ric" piste with artificial snow.


  • If the second section of the tram is closed, add 600m (+2h00).
  • Crevassed route: get information on its feasibility.
  • Descent from Grands Montets faces NE.
  • Watch out for bad weather when returning after Argentière refuge, artificial release avalanches from the Grands Montets slopes are possible.

Sensitive areas
There are sensitive areas on this route. Please refer to the map.



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