Approach to the Écrins Hut

Briançon

A long steep walk to a finely situated hut in full view of the obvious objective for many visitors

Alpine Climbing Easy

Distance
7.9 km
Ascent
1.3 km
Descent
54 m
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
3.2 km
Gradient
22˚
Approach to the Écrins Hut Map

Although mainly a walk, technically soeaking the approach to the Écrins Hut is mountaineering, as you need to cross a glacier en route. It is a long way, with no lift access to lessen the challenge. Indeed this is one of the many appeals of both this mountain and this part of the range. Being the approach to a 4000m peak it is popular and very scenic too, so some do it as a route in itself, to be truly amongst the high mountains. Equally it is common for those not acclimatised to split the journey by staying at the lower Glacier Blanc Hut, with its non-glacial approach, which you pass on the way.

Description

An early start is highly recommended, as the approach is initially steep on a due S facing slope. Equally the long flat section towards the hut is sapping in the heat, with plenty of reflected heat from the surrounding snow and glacier. Park at the roadhead at Le Pré de Madame Carle, at 1870m. After the bridge over the main outflow from Glacier Noir start zig zagging up the hill then take the R fork. This climbs steeply past the Glacier Blanc Hut at 2542m, then slowly eases in angle as you go higher. The path is a little up and down, weaving through boulders. Earlier in the season it may be easier to take to the main glacier below. Later on it is better to follow the paint marks through the moraine, only joining the glacier a bit higher, at about 2980m. Follow the low angled glacier until a trail leads off more steeply to the hut at 3170m, in full view of the very fine Barre des Écrins.

Difficulty

Easy

The ascent involves simple glacier hiking and/or short, straightforward rock scrambles. Equivalent to Alpine F, F+

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The route is well protected or easy enough that protection is not required.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

April, May, June, July, August

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area