Altitude 1800m a.s.l
Spectacular craging by the Mer de Glace © tony4433
Amazing granite slabs above the Mer de Glace, overlooking the Drus and the Grands Jorasses, form a grandiose setting for this beautiful crag. All the routes seem to be well-bolted and are up to 220m high. A 70m rope is recommended for abseil descents.
Far Left sector routes are in the Vamos guide as 'Secteur des Echelles'. From Montenvers Station, follow the red signs for 'Haute Montagnes et Refuges'. Just after the first switchback, continue following the red signs up the Mer de Glace. Decend two sets of ladders. The routes are between the bottom of the second set of ladders, and the top of the third set. La Grand Echelle is immediately right of the bottom of the 2nd set of ladders, other routes are beyond the huge boulders.
Left-hand sector: access from the steps leading down to the Mer de Glace at the base of the Mer de Glace telecabine. At the base of some metal steps is a souvenir hut (might have gone now). Go left of it, and follow a path along the slabs with a handrail (marked with yellow dots) to a platform dotted with boulders at the base of the routes
Right-hand sector and Grands Voies: follow signs for Les Mottets (initially same as the red signs for the high mountains), passing underneath the cable car descending to the Mer de Glace. Where the path leaves the top of the moraine, and drops lefttward into a gully, stay on top of the moraine. After 20m or so, an indistinct path leads down to the top of the big sweep of slabs, where bolt belays and abseil points can be found.
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