Saturday, 14 January 2012

Stalactus, Alpe d'Huez

The overnight temperature at La Grave has been around -12c and the ice is hard and brittle. The high pressure that has settled over the Alps has given milder temperatures higher up so we decided to go to Alpe d'Huez to get the benefit of this. The ice routes are accessed by a half hour walk along a pisted trail from the first level of the lift that ultimately ends up at Pic Blanc.

As it was the weekend we expected the routes to be busy however there was one large guided group on Ice Bille, some more folk on Symphonie d'Automne and Supercramp so we picked out an icy line to the right of Ice Bille, had a quick look at the guide book at the wrong description and set off thinking we were on something totally different. We were actually on Stalactus (II, 4) which had a steep ice wall for the first pitch then an icy groove with a steep bulge at the top for the second pitch. Lovely climbing!
The route came into the sun quite quickly softening the ice and making us over heat in all our warm clothes!


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