/ Ice climbing conditions Alps/Ecrins/Pyrenees?

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supos - on 12 Jan 2014
We're in the process of planning a trip in the first two weeks of February, but wondering exactly where to go.

We've been looking at the Cirque du Gavarnie, as well as the Ecrins/Southern Alps.

Anyone got any up to date conditions information, or suggestions of where to go? We're mainly looking for easy access WI4-5+ (a bit of a walk in is fine, though).

Furthermore, what are the best/most up to date guidebooks to the Ecrins areas? We've got the Versante Sud Alpine Ice book, but it's only got a small selection of routes for each area.
RichieBizzle - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to supos:

Have you had any luck finding Pyrenees conditions? Seems warm at the moment
maybe_si - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to supos:

I am currently.in Vallouise in the Ecrins, there is bugger all ice here, been dry tooling all week! Cogne is better at the mo
troglodyte - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to supos:

The ecrins is not covered at all well in the Alpine ice books, but there are a few guidebooks, one for the Briancon area and a couple for La Grave/Bourg d'Osians/St Christophe - well worth getting if you are based there. (May only be french versions, but it's generally enough...)

François Damilano, Godefroy Perroux
Cascades Oisans aux 6 vallees Tome I
Cascades Oisans aux 6 vallees Tome II

Can't remember... picked it up in a good gear shop in Briancon

Vallon du Diable is a personal favourite area if avi conditions allow

Gavarnie also looks awesome...

And Cogne is generally good - just get up early to be first on route

No idea on this year's conditions.

For the ecrins conditions:

Tony & Sarah - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to troglodyte:

Try Glace et mixte en cascade for the Ecrins

as stated above the ice is non-existent (skiing is excellent)
CurlyStevo - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to supos:
cogne has some very fat routes just now but overall conditions are stil a but sub par on many routes (either not formed or thin or swamped with snow) We did padri gauche and droite yesterday in great nick and you can see monday money from over a mile away. Plenty of stuff to go at for a trip.....

Gressonay the day before had hardly anything in but we got a route done.

Post edited at 06:10
Lukeva - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to supos:

If we based ourselves in Briancon with a hire car the week after next would there be much to go at? Temps look up and down with plenty snow! Could just go snowboarding... but that really wont help my ice climbing skills
John Cuthbert - on 27 Jan 2014
In reply to supos:

Cogne, Italy is in very good nick. 30 routes to choose from...

Slarti B on 28 Jan 2014
In reply to supos:

I am off to Ecrins in a fortnight and have been keeping an eye on the conditions on ice-fall.com

Ceillac has some OK routes, though apparently was very crowded at weekend

Some routes look ok at Freissiniéres

Founel looks f*&%$d. Poor ice and an access problem.

A few climbs at La Grave look OK http://www.ice-fall.com/Page_Secteur.aspx?IdSecteur=45

Hope it improves a bit; Cogne sounds a better bet!

Slarti B on 17 Feb 2014
In reply to Slarti B:

Just back from 3 days in Ecrins. Friday 14th Feb at Ceillac. We climbed Form du Chaos, OK but ice a bit delicate in places and lots of snow.
It got a lot warmer on Sat and Sun with quite a lot of rain and Ice-Fall guide told us part of Form du Chaos had collapsed and is currently too dangerous.

Saturday at artificial ice fall at Aiguilles. Very good with lots of lines of varying grades and nice atmosphere, 2 minute walk in! Careful about leading, ice may be too soft to hold screws unless it gets much colder.

Sunday, Warm and wet, walked up to Cervières, group on Cascade du Bourget but other stuff thin or non-existent.

Drove up Freissiniére valley. Poor conditions, Fracastarus covered in snow, Cascade des Eyseronne a waterfall! Apparently Fornel is just as bad.

Sadly, unless they get a decent period of cold weather, it is probably not worth it at present.
adrspach - on 17 Feb 2014
In reply to Slarti B:

Doesn't sound encouraging ahead of our Friday departure. Crossed fingers and hope for the best.

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