Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 45.04314°N / 6.45490°E
County: Hautes Alpes
Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Season: Spring, Summer
Elevation: 9908 ft / 3020 m


Tête de Colombe 3020 m

An imposing and superb peak, showing a compact wall of grey and reddish limestone slabs, dominates the upper part of the road running from Briançon to Col du Lautaret. It’s the Tête de Colombe, lying in the West sector of the Cerces Massif, an interesting group situated North-West to the town of Briançon, between the best known Ecrins Massif and the Italy-France border, and bounded by two valleys showing different characters: Val de la Guisane and Val Clareé.

A huge and impressive detached pillar, "l’Ecaille" (literally The Flake) stands out clearly on the left hand side of this face, which is wide and complex, and often climbed also by the Italian mountaineers in reason of its closeness to the Piedmont region. It’s divided in four main sectors: the SW face, left to the Ecaille, l'Ecaille on the left hand side of the face, the face SSE in the middle and the SSE Pillar, a beautiful face showing excellent grey slabs with various and often difficult climbing routes, on the right hand side. The climbing style is various on excellent sculpted slabs, corners, cracks and steep walls.

Getting There


The starting point is situated along the road N91 connecting Briançon to Grenoble, 3 km. before getting the Col du Lautaret m. 2057.

Coming from Turin (Italy)

Follow the A32-E70 Motorway entering Val di Susa and exit to Oulx, reach Cesana Torinese and Claviere, then Colle del Monginevro m. 1854, on Italy-France border. From here the road N94 descents to Briançon. From Briançon use the following access.

Coming from Briançon (France)

At the roundabout take the road N91 entering Val Guisane to Col du Lautaret, reaching Chantemerle and Monetier les Bains; carry on towards the col and before entering the Tunnel des Vallois (signpost) leave the car in a pull out on the right. About 120 km. from Turin.

Coming from Grenoble (France)

Take the road N85 to Vizille, then the road N91 rising to Col du Lautaret; reach the Col du Lautaret m. 2057, then descent 3 km. towards Briançon. After passing the avalanche protections and immediately after the second tunnel - Tunnel des Vallois – park the car in a pull out. About 90 km. from Grenoble.  

Tête de Colombe, a sculpted limestone

Tête de Colombe


L Ecaille de la Tête de Colombe

L'Ecaille de la Tête Colombe


A good path starts from the pull-out, rising inside the wood. After 20 minutes the path crosses another level path, the Chemin de Roy (wooden signpost). Don’t follow this one, but take a steep path on the left (cairn), rising strenuosly towards the various sectors of the face and exiting the wood. Various steep tracks on the scree rise towards the different sectors (towards left to the Ecaille and the middle SSE face, towards right to the SSE Pillar). About 1,30/2 hours from the pull-out.

Red Tape

No particulary restrictions in climbing and hiking

Tête de Colombe main routes

Main routes from left to right – French Scale

A) SW face

A small face with a few extreme routes.

- L'appell du bistrot F7a, 160 m. Modern route, bolts
- Effetti collaterali F7a+ 160 m. Modern route, bolts

B) Ecaille de la Tête de Colombe

Some interesting routes are running on the huge flake lying in the left hand side of the face.

- Voie de l’Ecaille F5b 200 m. Re-equipped classic route
- Le Penchant Fatal F6b/A1 200 m. Classic route
- Encore du Devers F7a+/A1 200 m. Modern route, bolts

C) SSE middle face

It’s the fine wall lying just on the right of l’Ecaille.

- Voie de la Scuola Gervasutti F5c 350 m. Re-equipped classic route
- Les Gradins Dauphinois F6a+ 400 m. Modern route, bolts

D) SSE Pillar

It’s lying on the right hand side of the wall. Recently pioneered, it offers some magnificent modern routes on excellent sculpted limestone.

- La Valse des Boucs F6a+ 280 m. Modern route, bolts
- Le Bal des Boucas F6b 280 m. Modern route, bolts
- A Nous la Belle Vie F6a 350 m. Modern route, bolts

Red limestone on

Red limestone on "A nous la belle vie"

The crack

Crack on "A nous la belle vie"

First sunrays on Tête de Colombe

First sunrays on the wall

When to Climb

The milieu is alpine and sometimes cold, even in summertime, particularly on the Ecaille. Best season goes from July to September.

Where to stay

Campsites in Val Guisane

- Camping du Monêtier
Le Village
05220 Le Monêtier Les Bains
Tel : 04 92 46 10 08

- Camping Les Deux Glaciers
Le Casset
05220 Le Monêtier Les Bains
Tel : 04 92 46 10 08

Gites d'Etape, Maison d'Hotes in Val Guisane and other campsites in Briançon.

Summit views


Tête de Colombe map
Oisans Nouveau Oisans Sauvage guidebook
“Oisans Noveau, Oisans Sauvage – Livre Est” by Jean Michel Cambon, Ed. Vertical


"Alpes Françaises du Nord" by Hervé Galley, Ed. Olizane

"Les plus belles escalades calcaires des Hautes Alpes" by J.P. Bazet - P. Giraud - J.J. Rolland 

Map IGN 3436ET Meije - Pelvoux Parc national des Écrins