For the less experienced climbers, Mountain Guides offer courses, one-on-one guiding, and extreme couloir skiing. Approach is mainly on skis to the bottom of the route, where the skis are left to facilitate a quick descent to the valley. Some routes can be climbed carrying short skis, if the descent is to be made by another face. Many routes are climbed specifically with the ski descent in mind.
The winter ascent of Mont Blanc is on skis with the final section being generally on foot.
Some of the most classical routes
The North East face of the Courtes: a good starting route in impressive surroundings, not too steep or difficult (depending on snow conditions) 800m of ascent, 5h to 6h, max 50°.
The Couturier couloir, Aiguille Verte: one of the most beautiful and direct lines in the Alps. 1,000m of ascent at altitude, 4 to 6 hours to the top. Between 45° and 55°. Care must be taken due to the regularity of ice fall from seracs above much of the climb.
The Gervasutti couloir on the Tour Ronde is a classic route (350m). The couloir is large and steep with 45° to 50° sections. In good snow conditions the ascent can be made fairly quickly.
The many other areas covered by numerous guide books offering further information on these and other snow routes: Neige, Glace et Mixte by Francois Damilano and Godefroy Perroux La Chaine du Mont Blanc 1&2, Guide Vallot.
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