/ how many ice screws for ceillac
I have done most of the routes there and agree with the above statement, i would carry 60m ropes and 12 screws but realistically you will almost never need 12 screws!! none for the belays most of the time, i vaguely remember either chains or a bomber tree at every stance, i guess it depends how much you are willinbg to run it out on the pitches.
Routes like Formes du Chaos have large stances with loads of bolts on both sides of the canyons. The number of bolts is to compensate for the fact that it forms up different every year. Other routes like have bolts, trees etc. You would probably get away with 50m ropes ok if that's all you have.
I wouldn't ab down any route at Ceillac due to the popularity. It's quicker, easier and safer to walk down the donkey trail from the top. There is also usually a long bum slide which is very fun.
BTW, if you want easy access mid grade routes, Les Orres (another ski area) is better. But I can't remember many bolts.
> Routes like Formes du Chaos have large stances with loads of bolts on both sides of the canyons. The number of bolts is to compensate for the fact that it forms up different every year. Other routes like have bolts, trees etc. You would probably get away with 50m ropes ok if that's all you have.
I'd agree with the observation about rope length in Ceillac although this wouldn't necessarily be true for other places (eg La Grave for instance) where the belays on many routes have been set up for 60m ropes. In very good, late season conditions some of the belay bolts may occasionally become buried under ice and then you just belay to screws instead.
You have to descend by abseil off Sombre Heros, Easy Rider, Vermicelle and L'Arlèsienne. Accessing the GR5 path isn't possible/ sensible from the tops of these routes and bum sliding would be very exciting and ... err ... more than likely terminal.
The stances on all Les Orres routes are fully equipped although Nadia and Clara don't come into condition each year and probably wouldn't be in nick in late December in any case. Ice formation on Dancing Fall is more reliable and actually it'll go in quite lean conditions. Ceillac is a far more reliable venue and I definitely wouldn't agree that access to the Les Orres routes is easier than to those in Ceillac.
Finally, conditions in December have been increasily variable in recent years although Ceillac does come into condition earlier than other nearby areas. This is a good site for info on conditions etc: http://www.ice-fall.com/ri/Conditions/de/glace/307.aspx
Hope this is of some help and have a good trip.
You dont need 12 screws at celliac. the routes are often so hooked they are rjukan standard of grading and the belays dont need them either.
If you did feel the need to place 12 screws per pitch you have no business ice climbing and would need about 24 in some other places!
You could get away with 6-8 screws pretty easily because of the fixed belays and because the steeper bits are quite short on the classic routes like holiday on ice.
> You dont need 12 screws at celliac. the routes are often so hooked they are rjukan standard of grading and the belays dont need them either.
Agree re. the number of screws needed but not so sure that the routes would be that well hooked in December. On some of the belays there are two independent sets of belay bolts, on others only the one. If these are already in use when you arrive at the belay, then you'll have to either wait, or belay to screws. I've often had to belay to screws at Ceillac during busy periods.
> If you did feel the need to place 12 screws per pitch you have no business ice climbing and would need about 24 in some other places!
> You could get away with 6-8 screws pretty easily because of the fixed belays and because the steeper bits are quite short on the classic routes like holiday on ice.
When we did Clara and Nadine we thought the Cascade de Glaces guidebook had them reversed. I was glad I didn't have to lead the second pitch on the right hand one as it was pretty hard mixed.
The climbs are described in "Glace et mixte en cascade... Briançonnais - Argentiéres - Embrunnais" available locally (Gap, Embrun, Briancon) if still in print. I think the latest version was published in 2005.
There's some info here too: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=10408 and here: http://www.ice-fall.com/Page_Cascade.aspx?IdCascade=64&NomCascade=Nadia&Type=Saison
Dancing Fall is a steep, narrow(ish)cascade which forms most winters. Nadia and Clara are more fickle and don't always form. Clara has a short section of dry tooling and is overall a little harder than Nadia IMO. Both of them are proper gullies containing a number of steep ice pitches. All three are worth doing. If you get your hands on the guide, there's a massive mistake in it as far as the descriptions of Nadia and Clara are concerned - which becomes obvious if you climb one or both of them! Descent from all three is by abseil back down the routes.
Access is relatively easy. The guide says to park on the hairpin of Les Orres Bois and a 30 min walk down good paths toward the via ferrata will take you to the climbs. The first route you'll come to if you do this is Dancing Fall. However, the more impatient (me included!) will follow the path for 5-10 mins until Nadia and Clara can be seen on the opposite side of the valley and then descend directly down the steep valley side making a bee-line for the base of the routes. There's usually a well-trodden path to follow which turns into a right old slog on the walk back up to the car.
Well worth a visit if the routes are in nick.
You can find updated information on ice climbs in Ceillac on camptocamp.org, here : http://www.camptocamp.org/summits/39168
For updated conditions, check out the ice climbing portal: http://www.camptocamp.org/portals/245232/en (most content is in French but you can use google translate to get an overview of conditions)
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