Monday, 15 September 2008

Dome des Ecrins 8th and 9th July

We set off from the car park at Pre de Madame Carle which is at the top of the valley and the end of the road. Bags all pacled this time for a mountaineering trip up to the Barre des Ecrins.
The approach to the Glacier Blanc Hut was busy with tourists as it is a popular day out and the views across the glacier are well worth the walk. Beyond the hut, the path climbs steeply up slabs then drops down onto the glacier and onwards to the Ecrins Hut which is perched on a rocky point above the glacier.
The hut was full but it was a friendly place, the food was good and I actually managed to get quite a good night's sleep. By 4am we were down on the glacier and beginning the crossing of the glacier towards the steeper slopes leading up to the peak. We zigged and we zagged following a good trail which wound underneath some rather alarming looking seracs which had shed quite a bit of debris over the very route that the path crossed! The snow had frozen overnight but higher up, we found large areas of windslab and quite a bit of powder snow was blowing about in the wind.
The wind was stronger than we expected and the Barre was plastered in snow so when we reached the Breche Lory, the notch between the narrow rocky ridge leading to the highest point of the mountain, theBarre and the Dome, the more rounded and slightly lower peak, we chose to go the Dome at 4,015m.


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