Several high-altitude slope instability phenomena, involving rock blocks of different volumes, have been observed in recent years. The increase in these phenomena could be correlated to climatic variations and to a general increase in temperature that has induced both ice melting with consequent water seepage and glacial lowering, with a consequent loss of support of the rock face. The degradation of the high-altitude thermal layer, which is known as "permafrost", can determine the formation of highly fractured rock slopes where instabilities can concentrate. The present research has developed a methodology to improve the understanding and assessment of rock slope stability conditions in high mountain environments where access is difficult. The observed instabilities are controlled by the presence of discontinuities that can determine block detachments. Consequently, a detailed survey of the rock faces is necessary, both in terms of topography and geological structure, and in order to locate the discontinuities on the slope to obtain a better geometric reconstruction and subsequent stability analysis of the blocky rock mass. Photogrammetric surveys performed at different times allow the geostructure of the rock mass to be determined and the rock block volumes and detachment mechanisms to be estimated, in order to assess the stability conditions and potential triggering mechanisms. Photogrammetric surveys facilitate both the characterisation of the rock mass and the monitoring of slope instabilities over time. The methodology has been applied in a case study pertaining to the North Face of Aiguilles Marbrées in the Mont Blanc massif, which suffers from frequent instability phenomena. A slope failure that occurred in 2007 has been back-analysed using both the limit equilibrium method (LEM) and 3D distinct element modelling (DEM). The method has been supported and validated with traditional in situ surveys and measurements of the discontinuity orientation and other rock mass features.
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