/ La Grave, Ceillac - conditions in mid March?
Was in La Grave last week - routes had obviously seen a lot of traffic over the season. It was starting to warm up too and there was a notable change in amount of snow around from beginning to end of week.
Just back from La Grave and the Ecrins, so can speak with some authority ....
La Grave itself, the South side (North Facing) only routes were still in good nick, Pylon, Digit d'Astorothe, Orgasme, Coupe de Poufiace and others. Don't even think about the South Facing routes (i.e. North side of valley). Similarly we went to have a look at the Vallon du Diable. North facing routes all looked in excellent nick, and likely to last for a long time. At the moment you would need skis/rackets to get to route base in Vallon du Diable, though there is a beaten path to right beneath them which could be walked in boots. But the ascent up the mountainside is steep and substantial, so don't even think about it without at least rackets in its current deep snow.
Season - it is still getting quite cold at nights in La Grave, and was instantly cold in the Vallon du Diable out of the sun quite late on in the day. However, when we left it had suddenly turned warm, though it will take quite a lot to melt the big icefalls in La Grave. Icefalls by Bourg d'Ossians still looked stunning from the road, though they are quite low. As you get later in the season, you will obviously need to go higher, but I think that the Vallon du Diable has quite a long life yet this year (N Facing side)
Many thanks for the info
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