Ski Grand St Bernard

The area around the Grand St Bernard pass is a perfect one for ski touring, having a wealth of summits suitable for ascents on ski plus excellent ski-touring routes on both the Swiss and Italian sides of the frontier.

Level 2 Guiding & Coaching

5 days, 6 nights

Prerequisites: Ski Touring Skills (Instructional Course) Or equivalent

Price: £1345*

* Fully inclusive price

 Course Dates

We start the famous Grand St Bernard Hospice, a 10th century monastery founded by St Bernard to give shelter to traders passing over the col. Still run by monks, its hospitality is as warm as it ever was and it provides an excellent base from which to ski tour.

Course Highlights

  • Fine ski tours in a quiet and remote setting
  • Magnificent views of the Grand Combin and Mont Blanc Massif
  • Unique accommodation at historic Hospice Grand St Bernard

The Hospice has comfortable rooms (beds with sheets and showers) and is a unique place to stay, having a fascinating museum, chapel and treasury. In winter the hospice can only be approached using skis or snow shoes, giving it a remote ambience.The second part of the tour is based at the Cabane Brunet from which we make an ascent of the Mont Rogneux. Mont Rogneux is a classic ski peak in the northern part of the Grand Combin massif and is known for its views and great snow.

Is This Course For Me?

The course is ideal for people who want to gain more ski touring experience before embarking on more demanding multi-day tours such as the West Oberland Haute Route or the Ski Oberland Traverse. As such it is a perfect follow-up week to our Ski Touring Skills course. Ascents of most summits can be made within 4 hours, giving plenty of time to enjoy the descents and to work on off-piste technique.

Ski ability required: Effective turns off-piste, good general fitness. Ski touring experience is desirable, but people without touring experience may join the course provided they are strong off-piste skiers. Good general fitness is important and you must be able to comfortably sustain a climb at a rate of 250 to 300 vertical metres an hour. A typical day will involve 4 to 6 hours uphill skinning (up to 1200m height gain).

Sample Programme

Sunday Evening - We meet at the Grand Chalet in Leysin at 6.45pm for course introductions.

Monday - We make a three hour ascent using skins through the 'Combe de Mort' which leads us to the Hospice. In the afternoon there is time for transceiver training and avalanche rescue protocol.

Tuesday - An ascent of Mont Fourchon (2902m), the classic ski-touring peak of the area giving breath-taking views of Mont Blanc and the Grand Combin. If time and conditions permit we make an ascent of Mont Mort (2866m) in the afternoon for great powder skiing down its northern flank.

Wednesday - The Combe de La, a classic trip over 3 cols culminating in a 12km descent. The route has a wild remote feel and is exceptionally scenic as it traverses a terrace overlooking the east side of the Mont Blanc massif, giving views of the Grand Jorasses, Mont Dolent and Mont Blanc, which are very impressive from this unusual angle. We stay in the Hotel Bivouac de Napoleon in Bourg St Pierre.

Thursday - We make the ascent to the Cabane Brunet from Barmasse Fionnay. This is a modern hut nestled under the north face of the Petit Combin. Sonia, the Guardienne, ensures a warm welcome and comfortable stay.

Friday - Mont Rogneux is a fantastic peak most frequented by the local ski tourers. A 4 hour skin uphill takes us to a small col from which a more technical ridge is negotiated to the summit. For those that do not like heights it is possible to stay at the col as the summit is optional. Again we have breath taking views of the Grand Combin massif and the Mont Blanc massif. The descent down the north side of the mountain gives one of the best powder runs in the region and a fitting climax to the week. Return to the Grand Chalet in Leysin for dinner.

Saturday - Breakfast at the hotel before departing.

Maps: Martigny 282S 1:50 000 and Arolla 283S 1:50 000

Course Dates

Week Start Finish Price  
12 15 Mar 2020 21 Mar 2020 £1345 Full