An absolutely classic expedition. Approach via the Pelvoux hut, then the Coolidge couloir (beware falling climbers as last section can now be very icy early in the season and then descend via the Violettes glacier and some dubious mixed ground lower down.

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Top quality Alps under 4000m, Ailefroide 2017 Ideas

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Logged Ascents

User Date Style Notes & Partners
Roberttaylor 18 Jun AltLd O/S Fun day out. Went the wrong way after the snow ended, lost an hour or so till we backtracked and found he path to the vire.
Fun day out. Went the wrong way after the snow ended, lost an hour or so till we backtracked and found he path to the vire.
steve_gibbs 18 Jun AltLd O/S On the descent back to Ailefroide, once past the rocky moraine and on the grass, stay skiers left and keep going left until you find the path down to the ramp. Do not be tempted to go skiers right, as this takes you across a large leftward-trending scree gully, which appears to have a path on the other side, however this leads to a dead-end and costs you around two hours!
with Rob Taylor
On the descent back to Ailefroide, once past the rocky moraine and on the grass, stay skiers left and keep going left until you find the path down to the ramp. Do not be tempted to go skiers right, as this takes you across a large leftward-trending scree gully, which appears to have a path on the other side, however this leads to a dead-end and costs you around two hours!
with Rob Taylor
davesykes 30 Jul, 2018 Solo 2 x 30m ski touring ropes, 1 axe
2 x 30m ski touring ropes, 1 axe
Binder 21 Jul, 2018 AltLd O/S A satisfying traverse and a good challenge. The couloir was fairly straightforward and we were on the summit by 6.50. We had to find away around a big crevasse on the descent but most of the intricacies went fairly smoothly. Nice to finish up in Ailefroide. 10 hours hut to tent.
with gravity
A satisfying traverse and a good challenge. The couloir was fairly straightforward and we were on the summit by 6.50. We had to find away around a big crevasse on the descent but most of the intricacies went fairly smoothly. Nice to finish up in Ailefroide. 10 hours hut to tent.
with gravity
gravity 14 Jul, 2018 AltLd
with Binder
with Binder
NickJH ??, 2018 -
robgixer 12 Jul, 2017 Lead
CharleyAnn 12 Jul, 2017 2nd
Tim Sparrow ??, 2017 -
neal 31 Aug, 2016 AltLd Soloed rochers rouge (Couloir coolidge was not complete). Route ok, but very loose boulder field above (fortunately no other parties around). Zig zag down upper violettes, 1 abseil (50m rope) on 1st part of rock island. Two abseils down rocky couloir, 2nd off rather dodgy pegs. Jog below seracs to fixed rop, then 1 abseil down to neve de palissier. Walked down the traversing path to the bridge below Cezanne and hitched to Ailefroide.
Soloed rochers rouge (Couloir coolidge was not complete). Route ok, but very loose boulder field above (fortunately no other parties around). Zig zag down upper violettes, 1 abseil (50m rope) on 1st part of rock island. Two abseils down rocky couloir, 2nd off rather dodgy pegs. Jog below seracs to fixed rop, then 1 abseil down to neve de palissier. Walked down the traversing path to the bridge below Cezanne and hitched to Ailefroide.
furbrow 24 Aug, 2016 AltLd O/S Failed to find start to Rochers Rouge. Learned later we were too far L, there is a big cairn to the R. Coolidge couloir was hard ice but doable, one big rock released from above but missed tho I thought my last day had come. View from summit best in my Alpine experience. Descent fine at first on glaciers, then abseils and walking (first ab is v long for 50m rope), do not think u have done abseiling until you are well down the Palissier, then an unimaginably arduous knee bash to the valley. Far bigger an Alpine day than many 4000m peaks.
with Bruce McC
Failed to find start to Rochers Rouge. Learned later we were too far L, there is a big cairn to the R. Coolidge couloir was hard ice but doable, one big rock released from above but missed tho I thought my last day had come. View from summit best in my Alpine experience. Descent fine at first on glaciers, then abseils and walking (first ab is v long for 50m rope), do not think u have done abseiling until you are well down the Palissier, then an unimaginably arduous knee bash to the valley. Far bigger an Alpine day than many 4000m peaks.
with Bruce McC
tomshanti 1 Aug, 2014 AltLd
Monkey_Alan 1 Aug, 2014 AltLd O/S Left the hut at 0400, on the summit by 0600. Got down to Ailefroide around 1400.
Left the hut at 0400, on the summit by 0600. Got down to Ailefroide around 1400.
Hidden ?Jul, 2014 -
bvilsue 26 Jun, 2014 - a bit of an epic
with John D, Rob, Tomek, Sebastian
a bit of an epic
with John D, Rob, Tomek, Sebastian
augustus trout 25 Jul, 2013 AltLd O/S
with Stevie G
with Stevie G
nking100 ??, 2013 -
Gibbo 27 Jul, 2012 -
with Rich A
with Rich A
thehugehead ?Jul, 2012 - 16 hours. 5 hours to summit from hut. Couloir in good nick, hard neve ice higher up. Clear amazing views from the top. Decent was slow and awkward. 5 separate abseil locations down the Violettes Glacier - upto 80m, we used 60m doubles but can be done on a 50m single. (Plenty of slings and bolts to abseil from) Traverse along Vires d'Ailefroide gave pleasant views along an unusual line and would have been enjoyed more had I not been so exhausted. Fantastic route, well worth waiting for a good break in the weather!!
with Alice, JCB, Alice M & D
16 hours. 5 hours to summit from hut. Couloir in good nick, hard neve ice higher up. Clear amazing views from the top. Decent was slow and awkward. 5 separate abseil locations down the Violettes Glacier - upto 80m, we used 60m doubles but can be done on a 50m single. (Plenty of slings and bolts to abseil from) Traverse along Vires d'Ailefroide gave pleasant views along an unusual line and would have been enjoyed more had I not been so exhausted. Fantastic route, well worth waiting for a good break in the weather!!
with Alice, JCB, Alice M & D
Katie Marshall 24 Jun, 2012 2nd
with Vanessa, Dominique, J?r?my, Yohann
with Vanessa, Dominique, J?r?my, Yohann
Steve Woollard 25 Aug, 2011 AltLd
Ken Applegate 12 Aug, 2011 Solo Left Ailefroide quite late on the 11th, and walked into the Pelvoux Hut. Soloed the Couloir Coolidge, which was quite straight forwards. The descent via the Violettes Glacier was far more technical, and not obvious in places. Be prepared for a long descent!
with Scott Kirkhope
Left Ailefroide quite late on the 11th, and walked into the Pelvoux Hut. Soloed the Couloir Coolidge, which was quite straight forwards. The descent via the Violettes Glacier was far more technical, and not obvious in places. Be prepared for a long descent!
with Scott Kirkhope
will6459 ?Jul, 2011 AltLd O/S
with Jon Vardy
with Jon Vardy
Sankey 31 Jul, 2010 - Superb, up the couloir, which was in good condition, but didn't prevent some randoms from taking a loose rock exit and giving us all a barrage. Take care on the final exit from the vire d'Ailefroide which has steep snow on it, tackling this is preferable to avoiding it on the side, one member of our party was injured by a big rock moving here.
with Ed, Andy E
Superb, up the couloir, which was in good condition, but didn't prevent some randoms from taking a loose rock exit and giving us all a barrage. Take care on the final exit from the vire d'Ailefroide which has steep snow on it, tackling this is preferable to avoiding it on the side, one member of our party was injured by a big rock moving here.
with Ed, Andy E
JGW ?Jul, 2010 - Did with MT and newfound French friend Laurent. Not easy to find the quickest way down - according to the hut warden there are five abseils to get off, we ended up doing seven. A classic - the route of the trip.
with Matt Tilley
Did with MT and newfound French friend Laurent. Not easy to find the quickest way down - according to the hut warden there are five abseils to get off, we ended up doing seven. A classic - the route of the trip.
with Matt Tilley
Misha 20 Jul, 2009 AltLd O/S Descent via the Violettes Glacier after doing the Mettrier Couloir, Complicated - 8 abseils in total, including one over a shrund off an in situ rock buried in the snow. 5 hours up (bit slow, had to wait for Dave and Mike) and 10 down (slow as there were three of us and lost at least an hour waiting for a party of four ahead of us on the abseils - however guidebook time for the descent of 3 - 5 hours still looks very optimistic!).
Descent via the Violettes Glacier after doing the Mettrier Couloir, Complicated - 8 abseils in total, including one over a shrund off an in situ rock buried in the snow. 5 hours up (bit slow, had to wait for Dave and Mike) and 10 down (slow as there were three of us and lost at least an hour waiting for a party of four ahead of us on the abseils - however guidebook time for the descent of 3 - 5 hours still looks very optimistic!).
Calder 11 Jul, 2009 -
with Diggler
with Diggler
Diggler 11 Jul, 2009 AltLd O/S
with Calder
with Calder
bvilsue ?Jun, 2009 -
mulletcocktail2000 3 Aug, 2008 AltLd O/S a classic expodition. taking in every aspect of mountaineering.
with joe
a classic expodition. taking in every aspect of mountaineering.
with joe
Hidden 26 Jul, 2008 AltLd
Mark Walter ?Jul, 2008 AltLd O/S
with Ed and Trish
with Ed and Trish
nickdonohue ?Oct, 2007 Lead Great route in ascent, but beware the long and involved descent. My partner became ill on descent which made things a lot worse. Even after finishing the climb proper, I found that descending in the dark on the exposed scrambling on the steep cliff to reach the valley bottom (with a weak partner) was nerve-racking. Also we couldn't get water at the hut or descend into the stream but got water from puddles (probably why my mate got ill).
with Colin Morrison
Great route in ascent, but beware the long and involved descent. My partner became ill on descent which made things a lot worse. Even after finishing the climb proper, I found that descending in the dark on the exposed scrambling on the steep cliff to reach the valley bottom (with a weak partner) was nerve-racking. Also we couldn't get water at the hut or descend into the stream but got water from puddles (probably why my mate got ill).
with Colin Morrison
Rjukan ?Jul, 2007 - really good although tricky all the way to the valley not a place to lose the "path" above huge hanging slabs
with Tom P
really good although tricky all the way to the valley not a place to lose the "path" above huge hanging slabs
with Tom P
tom.e ?Jul, 2007 -
Mr Powly ?Jul, 2007 -
with Rjukan
with Rjukan
Simon Caldwell 25 Aug, 2006 - The guidebook mentions 2 abseils - there are now 9 of them, due to decreased snow levels. A fantastic and serious day, took us 15 and a half hours from hut to campsite, not bad considering there were 5 of us on one rope.
with Carmen, Alan K, Peter, and Mike
The guidebook mentions 2 abseils - there are now 9 of them, due to decreased snow levels. A fantastic and serious day, took us 15 and a half hours from hut to campsite, not bad considering there were 5 of us on one rope.
with Carmen, Alan K, Peter, and Mike
Hidden ?Jul, 2005 -
Ian JL ?Jul, 2004 AltLd O/S
with Duncan Henderson
with Duncan Henderson
Dave Toseland 6 Aug, 2001 Solo
with Huw, Bill
with Huw, Bill
Gudge ?Aug, 2000 -
with BUMC
with BUMC
Hidden ??, 1996 -
beardy mike ??, 1995 -
jim_randell 29 Aug, 1994 Solo O/S
with MS, SL2, WW
with MS, SL2, WW
Darron ??, 1993 -
with Jez, Ian
with Jez, Ian
Andy Wilcox 6 Aug, 1992 Lead
with Andrena
with Andrena
Nick Biven 15 Jul, 1986 -
with Cast of thousands
with Cast of thousands
bobelvedere ?Jul, 1986 -
with Claus Sabroe
with Claus Sabroe
Hidden 1 Aug, 1985 Lead
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