La Grave – Ice Conditions Roundup 14/01/07

It’s gone extremely mild right across the Alps this week, with warm temperatures set to continue for the next week at least.  As as result, the lower altitude icefall venues around La Grave are in poor condition – but there is still plenty of good ice to be had in the higher valleys with northerly aspects.

ie it’s just a matter of knowing where to go to find the best ice, so make sure you get an early each day, have a car with you and you’ll have a good weeks climbing.  Below is a summary of a few popular venues with good climbing at the moment (visit www.ice-fall.com for the very latest conds in the area) – these are based on our own activities on the hill and current local info:

La Grave Village: the north facing classics opposite the village are in very good condition at the moment: ie Le Pylon, Croup de Poufiasse & Color du Ciel plus one or two others in this sector.  Furthur down the valley, nothing is in condition at all as it’s too low down & everything has collapsed!

Ceillac: Holiday on Ice L + R & Easy Rider are all in good cond, but harder routes like Sombre Heros and Formes du Chaos (except the 1st pitch) are not in.

Ailefroide: the road is open up to Ailefroide itself and the Cascades de Claphouse (L + R) are both in excellent nick. 
Cascade Pellisier also looks OK, as do various other lines up near the CAF hut at Cezanne.

Cerviers: this is a high north facing venue with several harder single pitch routes that are in good condition.

Chambron: the Ravin du Pissa is in good nick + seeing regular traffic.

Fournel: probably has the best conditions at the moment – the following have all had ascents: Mais je Reve, Breathing the Retreat, Damocles, Recherche de Temps Perdue, Capitaine Courageous, Palais des Glaces, Grande Bleau, Cigare Tchouky, Folie Dessous Chic, Brutus, Colosse de Rhodes, Nain des Ravines, Wild Girl, Sexy Gully and various other things too.

Fressinieres: Impatience and one or two other things are in nick, but not a great deal.

Mountain Goulottes: Fantomas and the Raie des Fesses both continue to see regular ascents as they are in excellent condition and easy to access this season. The goulotte on the NW face of the Rateau is also reported to be in good condition too.