Col des Bastillon (ou Chevaux)

It’s definitely spring here, but there is still snow in the mountains, so a couple of weeks ago Tanya and I went for a ski tour. We started high, because the snow is rapidly melting, and set out from Bourg St Bernard at 1915 m, which is as close as you can drive to the Grand St Bernard pass in winter. We skied towards Monts Telliers, along the same route we took at about the same time last year.

Pre-tour-planning-with-beer is a crucial step.
Bluebird (read: hot) conditions.

There was still a lot of snow around up there, and we were able to ski directly from the car park. It was a stunner of a day, not a breath of wind and sunny, and it was hot and thirsty work climbing up the valley.

After a while we could see Monts Telliers up ahead. There was a giant cornice on top, and some other ski tourers were nearing the summit. While a few walked across the cornice, most stayed back on the ridge under the peak, from where you cannot easily see into the next valley. We made a strategic call to make our goal the Col des Bastillons (2754 m), which would guarantee us the well-known-to-be-awesome view across Val Ferret and onto the Mont Blanc Massif, instead of risking getting to the ridge, being turned around by the cornice, and missing out.

The view we wanted. On left Mont Blanc and Grandes Jorasses, on right Mont Dolent. Val Ferret in between.
Mont Blanc and Grandes Jorasses.
Looking the other way, to Mont Vélan.

Strangely, the Col des Bastillon is also referred to as the Col des Chevaux on maps. In person it was sign-posted only Bastillon, and there was a sign pointing to (another) Col des Chevaux across the way. Mysterious!

Looking across Val Ferret from Col des Bastillon.
Grand Golliat.

With the heat of the day we didn’t want to linger too long, so we fixed our heels and skied quickly down the valley. The snow was beautiful spring snow, super easy to ski, no crust and not too heavy.

Skiing down, with views across to Grand Combin and Mont Vélan.
Tanya skiing backwards while singing and using her ski poles as antlers. She is the best.
Did someone say it was spring?

We were back at the car nice and early, and on the way home we dropped in to Chamonix for lunch, and saw Mont Blanc from the other side. It was a fantastic relaxing Sunday.

April 22, 2017


  1. Nathan on

    First moose of the season!
    Sounds like an awesome day out.

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