An alpinism trip away from the crowds in the Ecrins National Park. Hone your glacier skills, climb the Pic Du Glacier d'Arsine and summit the famous Dome des Ecrins in a weekend.
Location: The Ecrins National Park, Southern French Alps
Climb in one of the hidden gems of the Alps, the Ecrins National Park, one of the largest, wildest and most dramatic mountain ranges in France and bag a big 4000m summit!
This is a mountaineering and alpinism trip geared to preparing you for a successful climb of the Dome des Ecrins 4015m (mountaineering grade: Facile / Easy) in the limited time of a weekend!
The trip includes a day of glacier and mountaineering skills and technique and an acclimatisation climb of Pic du Glacier d’Arsine 3364m (grade: Facile / Easy) before tackling the Dome des Ecrins.
The lesser known Ecrins massif doesn’t get the same number of visitors as the Mont Blanc range but it is the largest National Park in France. In total there are 170km2 of glaciers suspended from over 100 towering summits over 3000m. It’s also rich in flora and fauna with ibex, chamois, golden eagles, wild boar, marmots and even wolves and in the summer months you are sure to see the valley covered in flowers.
The Dome des Ecrins 4015m is one of the highest summits in the Ecrins National Park, just behind the Barre des Ecrins 4102m. With easy access, a 'facile' graded route and some of the best views in the Alps, it a must for all mountaineers.
On the first day of this trip, we will focus on glacier skills on the Glacier Blanc which is a 1.5 hour walk on an easy track from Pré de Madame Carle. This is an opportunity to practice any glacier and alpinism skills that you have used before and learn some new ones!
These include cramponing techniques, how to best use ice axes, moving together on a rope and the differing distances required for glaciers and on the rock, spotting hazards and crevasse rescue. It's a fun and informative day!
After a night in the Refuge du Glacier Blanc, you will set of to the Pic du Glacier d’Arsine. This is a mixed route mainly on snow with some rock scrambling (3a). The aim of the climb is to help your body get used to climbing at above 3000m. You will have a magnificent view of the Dome des Ecrins and the Glacier Blanc throughout this climb.
After spending the night, this time in the Refuge des Ecrins, your aim on the last day will be to climb the Dome des Ecrins 4015m. You will cross the glacier in the early morning. The light at this time is incredible, giving the Dome a beautiful red tinge. You will weave your way up the large snow face of the glacier, avoiding seracs and crevasses all the way to the summit. Once on the summit you can take in the outstanding views over the Alps.
Have a look at our mountaineering kit list for advice on what to bring.
The trip starts from Pré de Madame Carle in the morning of July 13th. 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 Pré de Madame Carle. He will be travelling from Gap so it is possible to arrange for him to collect you from Gap train station early in the morning of July 13th. The Briançon night train also stops in Gap.