Ecrins Haute Route: Ecrins Hut to Dome de Neiges des Ecrins to Glacier Blanc Hut

Briançon

Grenoble

A famous ski mountaineering day, to the ski summit of the Dome des Ecrins (4015m) before a descent to the Glacier Blanc Hut

Also in Isère, France

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
12 km
Ascent
983 m
Descent
1.6 km
Duration
5-6 hrs
Low Point
2.5 km
High Point
4 km
Gradient
43˚
Ecrins Haute Route: Ecrins Hut to Dome de Neiges des Ecrins to Glacier Blanc Hut Map

This is a justly famous and fine day to the highest ski summit in the area. Whilst relatively non-technical, it is over 4000m, quite steep and passes through a heavily crevassed glacier, with some unavoidable serac danger. Descend steeply from the Ecrins Hut a short distance to the broad glacier below. Follow this extremely gently for a while, until the angle suddenly kicks up, at about 3400m. Your route to the summit has been visible all the way and before it steepens up, whilst safely out of harms way, take a decent break, food and drink. It is crucial that you do not waste a moment with stops on the next section, as it is serac threatened. The route is usually well marked with a skinning track put in by the local guides, weaving its way upwards through complicated steep terrain. Ski crampons may be useful- if it appears remotely icy put these on before the threatened section. It eases off at about 3700 before a final steep section leading up to Breche Lory (3974m). Very exposed mixed climbing to the Barre des Ecrins lies to your L, but this will beyond the capability of most ski mountaineers. A short snowy climb to your R take you to the fantastic summit of the Dome des Ecrins at 4015m. The descent is the reverse of your ascent route, keeping a good control of speed as you weave your way down, over the various snow bridges. Remember to ski without stopping during the short time with seracs above your head. Follow the easy glacier downwards, keeping to its skiers L bank. You leave the glacier to the L, at about 2900m, taking the easy slopes directly down to the Glacier Blanc Hut at 2542m.

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

March, April, May

Features

  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area