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Normal, NW slope

Normal, NW slope

Normal, NW slope

Page Type: Route

Location: Aosta, Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.57340°N / 7.08210°E

Object Title: Normal, NW slope

Route Type: Scramble, Basic snow/Glacier climb

Time Required: One to two days

Difficulty: F, BS(A) ski

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: buxlex

Created/Edited: Mar 2, 2005 / Mar 4, 2005

Object ID: 164166

Hits: 1456 

Page Score: 72.08%  - 2 Votes 

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The climb begins from Chalet de l'Epée Hut, in Bouc Valley, Valgrisenche.
There are several possibilities to reach this hut, depending on season, snow quantity and road access to Usellieres.
More details in "Route Description section".

Once in Valgrisenche, pass the tiny village driving through Bonne direction. Leaving from Bonne there is a "ring-road" around Beauregard Lake, which links Usellieres, the opposite lake side. The newest side (left hydrographic, right arriving at Bonne) is opened only from half May or later, it depends on avalanche danger.
In winter/spring. For sure "ring-road" is closed, then 100 meters before arriving in Bonne, turn left, cross the dam and park the car where allowed/possible. There is an opened paved road over the dam.
In late springtime or summer, drive through "ring-road" and head to Usellieres, where road ends. Parking is allowed.

Route Description

Day 1, starting from dam (case ring-road closed for snow)
Follow paved road for about 1 km. After a short tunnel, turn left on Pra Longet (panel for "La Rochere") unpaved road. After about 20 minutes (2.050 mt. osl, about) a wooden panel help to find Chalet de l'Epée direction. A long half-way path bring to Bouc Valley while leaving Pra Longet Valley. Turned the large ridge which divide Pra Longet Valley from Bouc Valley, final Rabuigne slope appears, hidden at the end of Bouc Valley. In less then half-an-hour Chalet de l'Epée Hut is reached (2 hrs total).
Day 1, starting from Usellieres (case ring-road opened)
Follow unpaved road to Rifugio Bezzi for less then 1 km, then turn left onto another unpaved road for Arp Nouvaz, Alpages de l'Epée and Chalet de l'Epée (1 hr 30 min. total).

Day 2, from Chalet de l'Epée Hut to Rabuigne summit.
With Skis. According to snow condition there are two different way to climb up there. The shortest (ORANGE LINE in the shot, which required a perfect assested snow, not to be followed after new snow fallen) is to head to base of Mont Forciaz. Leave this ugly rocky-broken wall rightside to walk onto small Rabuigne Glacier. Remember: once leaved central Bouc Valley lines are always steep! About 3 hrs to the top.
Whit Skis. Safer way (longer, YELLOW LINE in the shot). From Chalet de l'Epée, remain in central Bouc Valley marching through Col Fenêtre direction. Pass "Quota 2670", an anonymous round shaped rocky hill, leaving it on the right. Once close to a rocky ridge, coming from "Cima del Bouc", the whole slope to Rabuigne summit is perfectly aligned in SE direction. Turn right to walk on it. Follow central lines except for the final solution, better at glacier right side (where ORANGE line is met). About 3 hrs and half from Hut to summit.
For both solutions: final slope on Rabuigne glacier requires perfect assested snow.
Descent. Great satisfaction following the complete slope until central Bouc Valley is reached (YELLOW LINE). This is one of the most exciting free ride descent of whole Aosta Valley.

Summer hike. Is the ORANGE line ski solution. Unfortunately ground is very irregular and it take to scramble on scree field for more the half itinerary. Tiny Rabuigne glacier could be very tricky, not for crevasses, but for hard grey ice. A couple of ice-pegs could help for safety. I do not recommend this hike in summertime, even if possible.

It is possible, for well trained people, to perform ski-mountaineering hike in a single day.

Essential Gear

Ski-mountaineering. Rope, crampons and ice-axe could be useful if bare ice exists on final slope. It is possible to leave these tools at Chalet de l'Epée if not necessary.

For summer hike, a pair of ice-pegs could be useful, in addiction to traditional alpin gear (rope, crampons and ice-axe).


The plateau under Chalet de...Begin of Day2. Epée Hut...The hard final slope to...All written in Rabuigne page...The end of crossing from Pra...NW Slope, safer...ORANGE line: the shortest way...
Half-a-way from Hut to...The whole descent from summit...From Rabuigne summit, the...