/ ice conditions at La Grave
At that date Pylone was in reasonable condition but it was very warm, so dodgy anywhere that had any snow slopes above or anywhere at all exposed to avalanche risk.
At Freissinières :
Note the comment about prudence avec ces températures bizarres.
I was there last week and very few routes were in condition. We climbed Le Pylone, which had water running down the back, and met some Swedish climbers who had also done 3 routes to the right of this. The top pitch of La Colere du Ciel looks OK from the road, but the lower pitches are very banked out with snow.
At the Grand Clot area nothing was in condition. Down at the tunnel Mini Moullin was the only complete route, and that was very thin with water running behind.
There was nothing in condition lower down the valley than this.
We also climbed at Alpe d'Huez, (where we were staying), and found the following routes from the top of the first DCM lift to be in condition; Symphonie d'automne, Ice Billie, Stalactus & Les Noeuds. Despite getting a lot of sun and the warmer temperatures, these routes have been preserved by their altitude.
I heard of people trying to climb in Vallon du Diable, but I did not hear of any succesful ascents.
We arrived in Alpe d'Huez on 22 december and it was +8 degrees in the town during the day. Temperastures gradually lowered over the coming week, but were back up again when we left on 5 January. There were several large dumps of snow before Xmas, which has been great for the skiing, (all runs at Alpe d'Huez are complete), but it has not stayed cold for long enough to build up the icefalls in the La Grave valley.
I did not go over to the Braincon area, so I cannot pass on any information. With the weather there being pretty identical to La Grave, i would imagine that the higher a route is the more likely it is to be in condition.
It really needs to get colder there as well as here before everything goes and we are back to square 1.
looks to be getting colder from thursday / friday.
I drove through La Grave yesterday and in 6 years I have never seen it so lean. I climbed the Pylon last week and it wasn't in great nick! Not sure what they will be climbing for the ice fest!
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