Difficulties:F - Easy
from 01/07 to 30/09
Esposizione:South/East - North/East
Departure:Glassier (1549 m)
Arrival:Mont Vélan (3708 m)
Difference in level:1105 m. + 1060 m.
How to get there
Aosta East motorway toll booth, then carry on along the SS 27 for the Great St. Bernard Tunnel as far as Variney, where you should head right in the direction of Valpelline. Once passed the inhabited area of Valpelline, turn left for Ollomont and head back up the valley of the same name until you come to the village of Glassier.
The Mont Vélan stands on the ridge dividing Valle d’Aosta and the Vallese. It has numerous different aspects: the south-eastern side plunges with a high wall of broken rocks towards the By pastures; the south-eastern one is high and precipitous but preserves the small Vélan glacier that reaches the summit plateau. The north rock face is a complex succession of slides and seracs while the north-eastern side is taken up by the Valsorey glacier that originates in the peak’s large icy dome.
Description of the route
From Glassier take the clear mule track for By that winds upwards until you come to a small church. Turn left towards a small dam; cross its coping and you will pick up the trail of a country road. After passing it, carry on the slope that heads up to Alpe Porchère. Pass by the mountain pasture furthest upstream – Tsa Porchère – and continue along the path that turns to the left along a water duct. A little further on you will come into a valley that heads up as far as the grassy hump where you will find the Savoie bivouac.
From the bivouac, follow a pathway that leads to the valley of the Valsorey Pass. Look for traces of the path that rises up between the rocks that take you under the last slope defending the pass. Come at it from the left and you will come to a pass with a crossing to the right. Carry on to the left on a clear rocky ridge following the stone figures that lead to Mont Cordine 3,323m. From the peak, come down towards a clear carving, Col de Chamois, that can be overcome with the aid of a fixed rope; head back up a stretch of the ridge until you come to the Valsorey glacier, leaving the Dents du Velan on the left and heading back up the 2 clear snowy humps that lead to the terminal dome.
Descent: down the upward itinerary.
This itinerary requires experience of high mountains and it is recommended that you get a mountain guide to accompany you.