Les Courtes : Autrichiens

Les Courtes : Autrichiens


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Associated waypoints

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



route_types: return_same_way
durations: 1 day(s)
rock_types: granit
configuration: face

quality: fine


D     III    P4 


elevation min/max : 2760 m / 3856 m

height_diff_up: 1100 m

height_diff_difficulties: 850 m

difficulties_height: 3000 m

slope: 55°


glacier_gear: glacier_safety_gear




First ascent: H.Drachsler and W.Gstrein in August 1961


North face environment in an exceptional basin. The north face of Courtes can be considered a premium great winter route.

Approach 1h00 to 1h30

From the, descend on the glacier and traverse it towards the south in the direction of the north face of Courtes.

Les Courtes - Autrichiens (red)
Les Courtes - Autrichiens (red)

Ascent 3h30 to 7h00

Cross the bergschrund on the left and go up the snow slope to reach the corridor just to the right of the NNE spur of Courtes. Go up steep pitches towards the right by passing 2 small ridges to follow the snow corridor. The corridor widens and goes towards the left in the direction of a red tower on the NNE spur. Do not go to the spur but just before pull to the right in a steep ice gully which emerges on a beautiful snow slope, under a beautiful snowy ridge. You reach this ridge by ascending on the left and on its extension to reach the summit. The face is exposed NNE, so it is imperative to leave very early.

Descent 1h30 to 4h00 depending on the conditions

From the summit of Courtes, traverse towards the SE in the direction of the corridor of the NE slope of Courtes. The descent of the NE slope despite its maximum 50° slope requires a great deal of care. The least lack of attention can be drastic.(a little equipment in-situ on the banks, but not continuous!) Check on the snow conditions on the slope (different orientation from the ascent route) and the frost quality of the snow, the slope gets the sun early in the morning. If the bergschrund is too open, at the bottom of the slope pull to the left bank until the rocks (rappel in-situ; check its conditions! ).

From there to find your skis for the descent to Argentière.


Be careful, the Courtes is not as its name implies! The face is 800 m. Sticking to the schedule here is like elsewhere a guarantee of safety, especially since the face gets some sun and the descent faces NE.

Difficulties are never extreme, the key is to wait for good conditions. Searching for the route on these broad snowy or ice expanses is definitely interesting.

For both the ascent and descent, belaying in snowy and glacial ground is one of the keys of this route at the boundary of the corridor and of the large face.

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


Technical ice axes, some ice screws. Snow flukes (deadman) may be very useful for making belays in bad snow, selection of nuts, slings and pitons. In winter skis can be welcome way to finish off the day via a descent to Argentière or via the NE slope of Courtes. Snow safety kit: Beeper, shovel and probe.


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