Climb the highest mountain in the Ecrins National park, the Barre des Ecrins 4102m and take in the dramatic Pointe des Cinéastes ridge in a weekend.
Location: The Ecrins National Park, Southern French Alps
An intensive long weekend of mountaineering and alpinism with the goal to climb the Barre des Ecrins (Grade: peu difficile / bit more difficult) after an acclimatisation climb of Pointe des Cinéastes (Grade: peu difficile / bit more difficult) and a day of glacier and alpinism skills and technique adapted to your level.
Climb in one of the most dramatic national parks in France away from the crowds that flock to Mt Blanc! The Ecrins is the largest national park in France with over 100 impressive summits over 3000m hung with a total of 170km2 of glaciers.
The Barre des Ecrins is the highest summit in the Ecrins. It stands at 4102m and being an easily accessible climb it attracts mountaineers from all over the world. It was first climbed in June 1864 by Whymper and Moore (English explorers) and Walker (American) accompanied by 2 French guides.
There are vast numbers of dramatic landscapes alpine pastures, woodlands and high altitude lakes, and in summer the area is carpeted with flowers. The area is a haven for flora and fauna with ibex, chamois, golden eagles, wild boar, marmots and even wolves. What more could you ask for, it’s a mountaineer’s paradise!
The weekend will start with a day of glacier skills on the Glacier Blanc. This is a day to revisit glacier and alpinism techniques and learn some new ones! The essentials include moving together on a rope and the different distances required for glaciers and on the rock, cramponing technique, how to best use ice axes, spotting hazards and crevasse rescue.
After a night in the Refuge du Glacier Blanc, you will set off to climb Le Pointe des Cineastres. This climb (3c) will help your body acclimatise to the altitude and to get used to climbing above 3000m. The views are magnificent as you progress over the 5 peaks that make up this spectacular ridge. At times it can be a bit exposed so a head for heights is a must!
After spending the night, this time in the Refuge des Ecrins, you will climb the goal of this trip: the Barre des Ecrins 4102m. This involves a spectacular glacier crossing as the sun is rising, giving the mountain a beautiful red glow. You will weave your way up the face of the Dome des Ecrins, avoiding seracs and crevasses.
After the Dome you attack the famous ridge with a stunning and exposed 100m rock climb (4a). Once on the summit, you can relax and take in the spectacular views over the Alps and feel on top of the world!
Have a look at our moutaineering kit list for advice on what to bring.
The trip starts from Pre de Madame Carle. The closest train station is Briançon which has various connections including an overnight sleeper directly from Paris. The guide can pick you up from the station / local accommodation and take you to Pre de Madame Carle.
He will be travelling from Gap so it is possible to arrange for him to collect you from Gap train station. The Briançon night train also stops in Gap.