Intro to Alpinism: Les Ecrins

Les Ecrins is a wild and beautiful area of the Alps which benefits from 300 days sunshine a year. It has a huge variety of mountains, rock climbs, ice climbs and Via Ferratas on offer giving the perfect environment for a first alpine experience. The grade range of this course will be F to PD+.

Dates: June, July, August, September.

Ratio: 1:3 Maximum.

Who’s it for: Anyone with hill walking experience who wishes to experience mountaineering in the Alps and learn some alpine mountaineering skills.

Instruction/GuidingInsurance (essential)
Harnesses, helmetsCrampons, ice axe, boots
(can be hired in Chamonix)
Personal hut fees and valley accommodation on a half board basisAccommodation in Chamonix
Transport from Chamonix and during the courseUplift
(not normally required on this course)
Guides hut fees, lunches, uplift and accommodationPersonal lunches, drinks and drinks at huts

Sample program

Day 1: Meet in Chamonix and hire/check equipment.  Drive to La Berarde before ascending to the Refuge de la Pillate (2577m).

Day 2: From Refuge de la Pliiate, ascend Mont Gioberney (3352m) by either of two routes. This day will include an Ecole De Glace. Return to the valley to overnight in Bourg D’Oisans.

Day 3: We make the short drive from Bourg D’Oisans to the Ailefroide valley and complete the Via Ferrata at Les Vigneaux.  Following lunchwe ascend to Refuge du Glacier Blanc (2542m).

Day 4: From the Refuge we ascend either Montagne Des Agneaux (3664m) or Pic Du Glacier D’Arsine (3364m) before continuing to Refuge Des Ecrins (3175m).

Day 5: From the Refuge we make the ascent of either the Dome de Neige des Ecrins (4015m) or Roche Faurio (3730m) before returning to the valley and Chamonix.

Other possible objectives

  • The rock climbs of Ailefroide which range in length from 1 pitch to 20.
  • The Refuge du Sele and L’Ailefroide Oriental (3847m)
  • The Refuge du Pelvoux and Mont Pelvoux (3943m)
  • The Refuge Temple Ecrins and Pic Coolidge (3775m)
  • The Refuge du Soreiller and the Aiguille Dibona (3131m)
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