Dauphine crossing

Barre des Ecrins: the southernmost 4,000-m-peak of the Alps


Meeting in Villar d’Arene ( http://www.3frenes.com/)

We park the cars just after the village and hike approx. 2.5 hours to the well-furnished Refuge Villar d’Arene (2,077 m).

Tuesday: Pic de Chamoissière 3,095 m

Ascent up the 3,096-m-high Pic de Chamoissière in a crisp full-day hike. Descent back to the hut.

Wednesday: Pic de Neige Cordier

Snug start with an easy 2-hour tour. The last altitude metres onto the Brèche de la Plate d’Agneaux are pretty tough, though. The skis are strapped onto the backpack here. From the Brèche onwards, it’s uphill on skis to the 3,614-m-high Pic de Neige Cordier.


We have ideal insight into our Thursday route from the summit, before we embark on a short but worthwhile downhill passage to the Refuge des Ecrins.

Thursday: Barre des Ecrins

We climb the winter summit of the Barre des Ecrins on 4,015 m with our gear for the day. Here we stand at the southernmost and, at the same time, westernmost 4,000-m peak of the Alps. The ascent leads you through a pretty spectacular glacier, which will demand quite a lot from us on skis, too.


We will enjoy the afternoon on the beautiful sun terrace of the Refuge du Glacier Blanc hut afterwards!

Friday: Col du Monetier – Monetier les Bains – Villar d’Arene

We start the day with a fairly brief ascent onto the Col du Monetier at 3,339 m. Here we enjoy a last look back to the Barre des Ecrins before tackling on the scenically great downhill to Monetier les Bains (1,473 m).


Afterward, we take the taxi across the Col du Lautaret to Villar d’Arene back to our accommodation.

Saturday: Tête Nord du Replat – Refuge du Chatélleret

We take our cars to La Grave and continue onto the Dome la Lauze on 3,568 m by aerial passenger line. Now it’s time for another act of “skiing à la Dauphine”.


A steep downhill towards Refuge de la Selle. We strap on skins above the hut and walk across the Glacier de la Selle in die Bréche du Tête Nord du Replat on 3,235 m. Another steep downhill down to Refuge du Chatélleret (2,232 m) waits at the end.

Sunday: Col de la Casse Déserte (3.483 m) – La Grande Ruine (3.795 m) – Refuge Villar d’Arene – back to the valley

A steep ascent across the Glacier de la Grande Ruine into the Col de la Casse Déserte (3,483 m). The panoramic view from here is simply overwhelming. The subsequent downhill leads us across massive slopes and eventually through an imposing valley to the Refuge Villar d’Arene we’re already familiar with and back to the cars. We start our journey home afterwards.


Challenging ski crossing. Walking with crampons and ice-axe, and the ascending techniques with skis need to be mastered. Safe skiing on steep hills (35-40°) in all kinds of snow.


Ski tours in the Dauphiné area require good conditions, which is why the programme is to be seen as an outline.
In many cases, the skis have to be carried on the backpack and/or some brief roping-up is necessary on the other side in the steep, narrow breaks.



  • Safe parallel skiing in all types of snow
  • Skilled in walking with skins and using the kick turn
  • Surefootedness
  • Head for heights
  • Experienced in using the crampons and the ice-axe
  • Endurance of approx. 7-10 hours

Costs for person:
  • Min. 3 PAX /max. 4 PAX: € 850
  • Plus own expenses and expenses of the mountain guide
  • Rental equipment available on enquiry
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