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Barre des Ecrins 4102m week 2018
The highest peak in the Ecrins national park and massif
Course overview
Climb the highest summit of the national park, the Barre des Ecrins 4102m. It's the highest mountain in the Ecrins National Park, and it is a quiet gem of a region, far quieter than the Western Alps regions such as Monte Rosa and Chamonix. We offer a week long programme to attempt this peak, as your acclimatisation and flexibility for selecting a weather window are crucial.
To keep the itinerary flexibilty, the guiding ratio is 1:2 throughout, so you can take advantage of the best days for the summit weather window. The climb itself takes three days, so there are two spare days for training and acclimatisation routes before the ascent.
This week would appeal to those who have previously done Mont Blanc or Dufourspitze, or who seek a quieter alternative to it. It is grades as PD+ / AD-, so is a step up on the Alpine grading system. It is a tough physical effort and the summit ridge is very exposed and merits the grade.
Another attraction to the Ecrins region is that there are so many summits and routes to choose from, that the itinerary can be adapted to suit your aspirations and the conditions. Aside of the Barre des Ecrins, other objectives include; Pic Coolidge, Roche Faurio, Râteau de la Meije Pic Es, and Aiguille Dibona.
This trip was designed and is often guided by Mat (in photo below on the left), who lives in the region, and is a familiar face on many of our Alpine courses. He's popular IFMGA mountain guide, who is instantly likeable, and has a great work ethic of getting things done, so you achieve the most.
Dates: these are listed in the column on the right, and they show the live availability from our secure online booking system. When you book online, you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine Information Booklet, course specific kit list and invoice.

Brief Course Itinerary
Sun Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00 check-in followed by and course safety and itinerary briefings. There is time for kit checks or rental of equipment. Briefings are over by 19:00 and the team accompany the group to pre-dinner drinks. Many clients opt to travel out a day early for an acclimatisation weekend course which includes an extra night in Chamonix, to ascend a 3000m peak on Sunday. Night in Chamonix
Mon Meet your guide in the morning, and drive to the Ecrins national park. Set off for a training route, with a hut approach, which is designed to help you acclimatise and develop technical skills. The programme for the week is intentionally very flexible, to allow you to ascend the Barre des Ecrins on the best weather day(s), but a good objective for the first two days is either the Râteau de la Meije Pic Est from the Chatelleret hut, or the Dibona Needle from the Soreiller hut. The day is used to ascend to the hut, and for a training climb above it. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night in hut.
Tue The two objectives are both to the NW of the Barre des Ecrins, and are accessed via the Oisans valleys. The Râteau de la Meije Pic Est 3809m is a satellite peak of La Meije, and is grade of F+ via the SW Face, so it is an ideal training and warm up route. The climb is made via Col du Replat from the Chatelleret Hut, from where you can see the three peaks of the Râteau above. The highest is the Pic Est, which is reached by climbing the mixed couloir to the Brèche du Râteau, from which you can follow the easier angled ridge to the summit. The alternative climb to consider is the Dibona Needle 3100m, via the North ridge, which is grades PD. It's a rock route, accessed from the Soreiller Hut, a valley to the East of the Chatelleret Hut, and was a favourite route of the famous French guide Gaston Rebuffat. After climbing either of these routes, you return to the Ailefroide valley, and stay the night in a hut / gite. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max).
Wed Today you start your ascent of the Barre des Ecrins, heading up to the Ecrins hut for the next two nights. On the way up, you can divert to the Col de Temple, and from there ascend the Pic Coolidge 3775m via the South ridge. This route is graded PD, and is excellent final training before the Barre des Ecrins. The summit provides stunning views across to your route the next day, and there's plenty of time for photos. Once the climb is over, you trek to the Ecrins hut, which is your base for the main ascent. You usually arrive in the early to mid afternoon, so there's time to rest and dry out any kit for the next day. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night spent in mountain hut.
Thu A very early Alpine start to head upwards on your main summit objective of the Barre des Ecrins. As you set out from the hut, you skirt around the Glacier Blanc, to ascend towards the Col des Ecrins 3300m. Here onwards the route becomes progressively steeper, as initially you climb snow slopes up the NE face, being wary of the glacial crevasses and seracs, to reach the first summit of the Dôme de Neige des Ecrins 4015m. This is a great summit in its own right, as the next section is usually climbed in two pitches to cross the rimaye / bergschrund and to ascend to the summit ridge, where you turn towards the main summit of the Barre des Ecrins 4102m. For the descent, you can either retrace your ascent route, or if the conditions are looking very good, you can descend to La Berarde. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Night spent in mountain hut (Refuge des Ecrins or Refuge de la Berarde).
Fri From the Ecrins hut you ascend the Roche Faurio. You climb the relavively easy angled slopes of the SW face, which top out on the ricky ridge to the summit. The ascent takes approximately four hours from the hut, and after descending, you trek down to the valley. For very fit groups, this day can allow another contingency weather window, for an ascent and complete descent of the mountain, if the summit was not possible on the previous day. If you start from the Berarde hut, you would spend the day descending to Ailefroide, possibly with a few hours rock climbing in the afternoon. You then make the return drive to Chamonix. Celebrations in Chamonix in the evening. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). In the evening there are optional drinks and then a celebratory meal. Final night is spent in Chamonix.
Sat Breakfast then the accommodation check out is by 10:00. Most guests arrange their transport links to the airport for flights leaving in the early afternoon. Depart for home.
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionally we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt.
Course Prices
Standard course
5 days guiding, 7 days holiday in total £1499
Live availability
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Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain Guide for five days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Two nights B&B accommodation (one at each end of trip, inc. beddings & towels), in Chamonix, 4) Up to four nights half board in mountain hut / gite (inc. costs for guides), 5) Pre course information booklet, 6) Equipment discount voucher for UK shop, 7) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet, 8) Road transport with guide Chamonix to/ from the Ecrins national park.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Equipment hire, 3) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, evening meals in valley, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 4) Sunday pre-dinner drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 5) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Barre des Ecrins
  • [ 2 ] 5 - 11 Aug 2018
  • [ 2 ] 26 Aug - 1 Sep 2018
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are two who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish
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Price: £1499 Book online

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Client feedback


We were very lucky with the weather, and moved our summit day early to take the best window. Descending from the hut in the rain didn't matter, as we'd achieved what we came here to do

Jon T , Barre des Ecrins


Thanks to you all for a brilliant week. We had an amazing time, and loved spending the week in the mountains

Sally F , Barre des Ecrins


The flexibility of the week made it for us, as routes were chosen to suit, and it was a revelation to climb in the Alps without loads of other teams

Rachel J , Barre des Ecrins
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Location data for this trip
The trips meet in the Chamonix valley in the French Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed via a 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Preparing for the course
If you are worried about acclimatisation, we recommend that you book on an Acclimatisation Weekend before your course. to help you get acclimatised earlier, leaving you with more summiting weather windows for the peaks.
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Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Why choose our trips?
See our Alpine blog, by clicking on the Word-press logo to the right.
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather windows on any day, to maximise your summit chances.
Our prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget accurately.
There is a choice of routes to opt for, depending on the weather, conditions, and your experience.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.



Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.
 


 
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