/ Ecrins Rock
Heading of with my club to the Ecrins this coming Summer. We will be based at Ailefroide, so I'm currently trying to find out about the rock routes in the area, I'dont mean the lower crags or long multi pitch on the slabby glaciated granite that ( i think) is around ailefroide I'm more interested in higher altitude multi pitch that is still on sound rock with bolted protection. I experienced some of this on the aiguille rouge, I suppose what I'm asking is, is there anything like this around ailefroide?
IIRC (It's been 10 years) the Ecrin in that area are predominantlt Gniess rather than granite and consequently the climbing is a little different. There's nothing exactly like the Aguille Rouge but there there are a few good routes that might interest you Pt Louise springs to mind. 10 years ago these were not bolted in teh same style as the routes around Chamonix. Someone with more recent information may be able to help. Typically though the routes tend to have more of a 'mixed' feel to them and given the lack of telepheriques can feel more committing.
Don't write off the Valley routes. Some of these (like La Fissure (sp?)) are pretty much day long events and good in thier own rights. Enjoy your trip.
"Sound rock" has a different meaning in the Ecrins than in other areas. I'm more familiar with the La Berarde side but generally speaking, the rock ranges from not very good to truly shocking. Even when a guidebook describes a route on "good rock" it has to be put into context.
For the type of routes you're looking for, there are a few modern sport routes above the Glacier Noir (e.g. Aurore Nucleaire). Not sure about elsewhere on that side. S face of the Meije has some well equiped sports routes (la cheveauchee des vaches qui rippent) and of course the Dibona has lots but that's too far from Ailefroide.
The Oisan Nouveau guidebook is likely to have a lot more ideas that I do since I've not been down there for a few years. Also check out http://www.camptocamp.org/areas/14403/fr/ecrins
Ooooh I can't remember. As I said, I've mainly climbed on the La Berarde Side and I don't think I've ever been up the Sele, but I know the Ailefroide further along is pretty poor. I turned away from the Grevasutti route because it was "parpinait" too much.
So OP, Aiguille de Sialouze: worth a look.
True! the pictures on that site look positively inviting. Compare this to that route http://www.camptocamp.org/routes/54681/fr/pointe-du-vallon-des-etages-voie-du-grand-diedre
and you get the breadth of rock quality available on display. (I actually wrote the entry for that route (!))
As Doug says.... Aiguille de Sialouze. Has heaps of bolted routes on decent rock, no bergshrund, about an hour from the Sele Hut. Super Pilou was nice and cruisey. Returned down the face in 10 raps.
Oh aye, well equipped too. Sensible bolting.
Je Vous Salut Marie from this summer: https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/404046_10152057972435445_1099004348_n.jpg
I'd recommend a light rock rack, especially cams for it.
I have heard good things about Super Pilou, but have not tried it (yet.)
I wouldn't discount the stuff in the valley it isnt all just slabs.
If you have a car then head to the Cerces which are 50minutes drive from Ailefroide, limestone, well bolted, between 2300m and 3000m.
All of the above are on good quality rock, as are most modern Ecrins routes,the rock is no worse than other alpine areas unless you search out the loose traditional honeypot routes!
Email if you need more info as I go there regularly as I have an apartment in the village.
Aiguille de Sialouze, Glacier Noir, Pointe Louise and Super Pilou will all be perused over on Camp to Camp with my miniature French/English dictionary. “Oisans Sauvage, Oisans Nouveau, Libre Est” is also going to be ordered as soon as I can find a source.
Make sure you buy the 2011 version of the guidebook.
Gaston Rebuffats " Le Massif des Ecrins" was re-edited in 2001, in a soft-cover version. I'm not sure if copies are still available, but it is an excellent introduction to the massif.
I can vouch for the quality of the routes on the East face of the Aiguille de la Sialouze. I will never forget my attempt on the "traversée". Just below the final "aiguille" ; a "cordée" of two "aspirant guides" had a very nasty accident. The leader fell and his last piece of protection failed. He fell about 30m and banged his head against the rock-face. He was semi-conscious and bleeding from an ear. One of the guys was really panic-stricken, so we decided to stay together and abseil the injured guy down to the glacier, rather than risking another casualty. Everything ended well, but it was quite an experience.
Otherwise whilst staying in Ailefroide, I've never been blessed with good conditions; we've had rain /storms every day for a week ! On one occasion, we had 30 cm of snow in August which screwed things up for a few days ! ( see my gallery). We upped camp and went around to Valgaudemar. The South face of the Olan has some fantastic routes: we did the classic Devies-Gervasutti.
in regards to the guide Oisans Sauvage, Oisans Nouveau, Libre Est, i have a brand new copy and i am based around the peaks at the moment, if you wont to meet up for a look?
or i live out there for most of the year, so if you wont you could buy my copy off me? i dont think you can get it in the UK? and i pick up another when i am back out.
Unless I'm mistaken Ailefroide is in the High Dauphiné, which is covered in this Alpine Club guide: http://www.duxbooks.co.uk/Ecrins-Massif-det-0-0-0-6931.html
Nice piccies here.
Rather more "up-to-date" to get some of the new French guidebooks to the area.
To the OP, get one of the French guides already mentioned
Well that was rather what I was saying, just not quite so bluntly.
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