Mountaineering in Ecrins
The first time I went in Ecrins, that was in Vénéon Valley, Saint Christophe en Oisans and in Bérarde.
I was a student in Grenoble and we planned with two of my freinds to climb Gioberney ( 3352m) and Pic Coolidge ( 3774 m ).
That was my first steps on high mountain activities, that was as well a great experience for all of us, full of hazards and uncertainties essentially because of our unexperience. I wasn’t disappointed by all those peaks, faces, valleys, lights, atmosphere of Ecrins mountains, but I was a bit by the ascents we made. It was actually more hiking than mountaineering, alpinism.
But we had to start with something, and I don’t regret we chose something easy.
Thereafter, I turned quickly my plans to another kind of ascent, I climbed on smallest mountains of Ecrins, but verticals faces of great granit. Evoiding snow, glaciers, crampons and ice axes, we went to climb with climbing shoes those modern rock climbing routes of Aiguille Dibona, Rouget, Pic nord des Cavales, Sialouze, Meije south face…
Ecrins as a bad reputation to get some loosy rock ( bad for climbers, instable and rickety ). It is true in some places but false in others.
Ecrins are made on a granite pedestal and gneiss “hat”, so most of the smallest peaks are made of very nice rock, good for climbing. Some of theme as Dibona or Sialouze get some exceptional climbing routes.
Those routes are pure, well protected by bolts with easy access and returns.
During couple of summers, we played to climb those routes, the most popular and nice ones. But again, even if I felt pleasure and satisfaction, I feld a small frustration too because I didn’t climbed the tall and famous peaks.
To be a true mountaineer, I had to go through the ice and snow step. I trained during winter times on several ice falls of all levels that are in Ecrins valleys, learned to climb on this so special material that is ice, learned safety and security.
Once it has been done I climbed the great and famous routes of Ecrins mountains as Meije traverse or Ecrins south rock pillar.
After years, I climbed more difficult and engaged routes in north faces of Meije, Rateau, Ailefroide, Pelvoux…
I spend so much hours of my life in those mountains, lot of nights in different cabins in winter as in summer, slept outside in unforgettable atmospheres and places. After 20 years crossing this part of Alpes, it seems that I have climbed most of the peaks of Ecrins, through differents routes.
As a mountain guide of course I discovered other famous and popular peaks in Alpes. During couple of seasons I went far away from Ecrins, as if I had to see how it is somewhere else to realize that I really love to be in Ecrins.
Nowadays I ‘m working essentially in Ecrins. But those last season had seen some real changes with very high temperatures, infrequentable glaciers , rocks falling …
Effects of global warming are real in Ecrins, we really can feel it and it changes the global condition of the mountain and by the way of all the ascents.
So those last summers I planed my excursions from mid june to mi july, and make some few ascents in september.
You can consult my availability planning HERE