/ how many ice screws for ceillac

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Seb Lee on 21 Nov 2010
planning to go to ceillac late december, looking at some of the routes they seem pretty long, generally how long are pitches and how many ice screws are needed, ive read that belay stations are equipped what exactly does this mean? how can they equip belay on ice. thanks for answers in advance
iksander on 21 Nov 2010
In reply to Seb Lee: Count on 60m of rope for the pitches. You'll need approx 12 screws per pair. The "equipped" belay stations are generally bolted and chained like a sport route
maybe_si - on 21 Nov 2010
In reply to iksander:

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.
Tile Diver - on 21 Nov 2010
In reply to Seb Lee:Seb, it really depends on how bold you are as a climber, we took 10 screws last year and i only put in a maximum of 7 on one of the longer pitches. A 60m rope is the norm out there. If the ice was good i felt comfortable to climb on further between screws. Most of the routes are bolted at the belays and if not you can bang in a couple of screws. The bolted belays are also brilliant for abbing back down the route if its not too busy. Have fun man, its a brilliant place, I'll be back there in Feb!!
Seb Lee on 22 Nov 2010
In reply to Seb Lee: thanks for they answers, so when the belays stations of bolted and have chains, is that on the rock to the side or does it come out of the rock?
iksander on 22 Nov 2010
In reply to Seb Lee: Not sure what you mean by "does it come out of the rock?" but the belay stations are generally either to the side of the route or on the downhill side of rocks that protrude through the middle of the ice fall, idea being to keep the belayer out of the line of fire of fall ice, tools, climbers etc.
G Graham - on 22 Nov 2010
In reply to Seb Lee:
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.
Dave Williams - on 22 Nov 2010
In reply to G Graham:
> (In reply to Seb Lee)
> 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.
>
> 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.

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.
>
> BTW, if you want easy access mid grade routes, Les Orres (another ski area) is better. But I can't remember many bolts.

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.

Dave
smithaldo - on 22 Nov 2010
In reply to iksander:

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.
Dave Williams - on 22 Nov 2010
In reply to smithaldo:
> (In reply to iksander)
>
> 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!
Neither a respectful, constructive nor indeed necessary observation. The OP asked a sensible question which you'd already answered so there's no need for this sort of judgemental comment.
>
> 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.
Depends on how they've formed by December as well as how much snow has fallen. I've seen the very first pitch of Holiday on Ice being much longer and steeper in early season conditions as opposed to mid or late season. The OP's going to experience relatively early season conditions in December and from personal experience I'd anticipate that some pitches will be steeper due to limited ice build up.

Dave

bombshell - on 26 Nov 2010
In reply to Dave Williams: hi there, noticed your comment about les orres, looks like a great ski area but cant find any info on the climbs there, do you know any websites, thanks
G Graham - on 26 Nov 2010
In reply to Dave Williams:
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.
Dave Williams - on 26 Nov 2010
In reply to bombshell:

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.

Dave




bombshell - on 27 Nov 2010
In reply to Dave Williams: thanks for the info and links, do you know anyting about the bolted dry tooling at ceillac?
F@bien - on 23 Dec 2010
In reply to Seb Lee:

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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