Grande Lui Variation of the Haute Route - Grand-St-Bernard Monastery • April 2003

Kathy and I have always wanted to ski the Grande Lui variation of the Haute Route. This route adds a day or two to the classic route, but avoids the road section between Champex and Bourg-St-Pierre. The Grande Lui is for purists, who want to actually travel more or less by foot from Chamonix all the way to Zermatt.

One great aspect of this route is the overnight at the Col du St Bernard, where monks run the hostel there, an have for centuries welcomed travelers in need of shelter and food.

Michael Silitch, a friend and colleague of ours, joined us for the first part of this three day outing, skiing with us from Argentière to La Fouly, inside the Swiss border.

Other Recent Trips

Approaching the Col de la Grande Lui. This is the break between the Saleina glacier and the Glacier de l'A Neuve.


Kathy, just before the Col. The Aiguilles Dorées behind on the right. The normal Haute Route to the Trient hut climbs over the col to the left of the Dorées.


Michael climbs up the last steep steps of the Col.


And Kathy also arrives at the col.


And the fun arrives with the amazing descent down the Glacier d'A Neuve. From the Col to La Fouly is almost 1800 meters (nearly 6000 feet for us metrically impaired). It faces south for good spring corn and is at a wonderful angle.

Here, Kathy does long fast turns with the wind in her smile.


We arrived in La Fouly, lay in the grass and soaked up the sun. Life is tough!


Michael decided to head back to his home in Villars, while Kathy and I carried on to the Grand-St-Bernard. Here we are on the second day, working our way up the slopes to La Chaux.


Easy, open touring over the gentle slopes of La Chaux. Ahead lies the Fenêtre d'en Haut, the pass above the Monastery.


With plenty of energy left, we decided to make a short detour and ski the enticing Combe de Dróne. To get there, however, we needed to sidehill a bit across a short steep slope.


Kathy enjoys the view (and thoughts of the long descent) from the small pass above the Dróne.


Fast, fun skiing into the Combe.


And another hour's uphill skiing and we arrive at the Monastery.


The monks here are so welcoming. The monastery is a special place that should not be missed.


We went to an evening mass in a small chapel beneath the one shown here.


In the morning we woke to the music of Ave Maria, so peaceful.


And also to blowing fog and occasional snow. But the route down is well marked and a quick ski later and we were back in civilization.

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