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Topic - La Grave, Ecrins ice/general Winter conditions

Simon4 - on 19 Dec 2011
Just a note for anyone going that way about what has been going on.

Up to pretty recently, there it was VERY warm for the season (raining at 2200m!), very little snow and no ice at all at La Grave as at Thursday (and presumably most other comparable places). The routes just did not exist at all, nor, more or less, did thermal stratification with altitude.

In the last few days, a lot of snow (a great deal of snow yesterday), and thermal stratification returned and the temperature finally dropped. So I imagine the routes are forming, but will be far from formed yet - one snowflake (or one icicle) does not an ice-route make!

The other thing that I found is that if you are prepared to go out in some very unpromising weather, you can still have an excellent day out in the mountains, if you are not too obsessively scenario-oriented. If you can't climb ice, hire some snowshoes and just wander through deep snow in the woods (check there are no obvious avalanche slopes above at the moment), or go ski-touring, or just wallow about trying to find avalanche transievers.

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