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Topic - Ecrins ice conditions

Simon4 - on 23 Feb 2012
In case anyone is in that area or thinking of going there.

Conditions at Bourg d'Oisans are currently very good, with morning temperatures as low as -11.5. The ice routes up to the Villard Notre Damme road from the road out of Bourg are in good nick, the sun is only on them for a short period, so objective danger is quite low. The best, or certainly the most straightforward, descent is to walk down the Villard Notre Damme road as many belay points are not equipped, so you would need several Abolokovs for an abseil descent.

Villard Reymond also in very good nick, as it is in a sheltered valley it only briefly catches the sun. Apart from the 2 obvious routes, we spotted one level with the first major zigzag on the approach road.

I don't know what areas like La Grave or the Vallon du Diable are like personally, but by analogy at least the North facing sides should be in good nick.

The cold, clear nights, with low morning temperatures is forecast to last for some days yet, then still sunny and clear, but significantly warmer temperatures, though probably still overnight freezes in the mountains. Best to get to the routes quickly before the warming comes in in the next few days though.

Ski-touring - still a lot of cover, but the daytime sun is doing a lot of damage, both to the cover and the condition of the snow. Quite an early start now needed to minimise the "soup", esp if the slopes catch the sun.
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