Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 44.94220°N / 6.27113°E
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer
Sign the Climber's Log


Les Ecrins, not as popular as Massif du Mont-Blanc, offers a wide variety of rock climbing and mountaineering.
Along with famous summits such as La Meije, La Barre des Ecrins or Mont Pelvoux, you will find all sorts of beautiful routes of all levels.

This page describes some classic climbs in this magnificent mountain range, from easy glacier walks to vertical rock ascents.

Magical View
Magical View

Getting There

Four main gates to get into Les Ecrins :

North-Western access :
From Grenoble and Bourg d'Oisans, drive to La Bérarde.
La Bérarde is the very center of Les Ecrins.
From there you can reach most of the peaks in the area.

Northern access :
From Grenoble or Briançon, drive to La Grave.
From there you can reach two main summits : La Meije and le Râteau.

Eastern access :
From Briançon drive up to Ailefroide.
The right start for Mont Pelvoux and Barre des Ecrins.

Southern access :
From Gap drive up to La-Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar.
Fewer summits reachable from there (Olan, Sirac, Les Rouies...) but still a good base town.

Staying There

In PN Les Ecrins you are supposed to set up your tent at dusk and fold it at dawn.
Most of the time you will have to sleep near huts.

However it can be tolerated to camp outisde this specific areas, as long you remain discrete and clean.
Again your tent cannot stay built up all day long.

Ecrins > Refuge Temple-Ecrins

Huts are listed in the section below, depending on where you want to climb.
Note that the Refuge des Ecrins is a very very busy hut, you therefore need to book before showing up.
Others are usually fine.
If you want to eat there, call before to make sure they will prepare enough.

In towns around, there are some good campsites.
If you need equipment to rent, it's better to check in bigger cities in Bourg d'Oisans, Briançon, La Grave and Gap.
However for food you can find micro grocery stores in La Bérarde, Ailefroide and La Chapelle.

Red Tape

Les Ecrins is a National Park so you have to camp (most of the time) near huts or in camp sites located in towns. All trash must be carried away with you.

Main Climbing Areas

It would take loads of SP pages to describe all that can be done in PN Les Ecrins.
To make this description as clear as possible I have decided to classify under valleys, only mentioning summits with a few words for each.
For detailled information, you will have to check on specific SP pages.
I have added Stars (subjective choice) to give a rough idea of the interest it represents. Even though every peak is worth it in the end !

La Meije (south face)
Ecrins > Tête de la Gandolière + Têtes S & N du Replat
Ecrins > Les Bans (north face)


1. Vallon des Etançons :
[Huts : Refuge du Chatelleret & Refude du Promontoire]

*** La Meije (3982m) : Voie Directe Allain (1937) > rock TD / V+ / 800m
** La Grande Ruine (3726m) : West Pillar (1964) > rock TD / V+ / 600m
** Aiguille de la Gandolière (3327m) : Candau Pillar (1967) > rock TD- / V / 500m
** Pic N du Clot des Cavales (3364m) : West Ridge (1933) > rock D+ / IV / 450m
** Tête S du Replat (3429m) : Chèze Pillar (1966) > rock D / IV+ / 250m
* Tête N du Replat (3446m) : South-East Ridge (1942) > rock PD / II / 200m
* Pic Geny (3435m) : East Ridge (1892) > rock PD / II / 250m

2. Vallon de Bonne Pierre :
[No huts, direct access from La Bérarde]

*** Dôme de Neige des Ecrins (4015m) : Couloir Mayer-Dibona (1913) > ice-rock D+ / IV+ / 1000m

3. Vallon de la Pilatte :
[Huts : Refuge de la Pilatte & Refuge de Temple-Ecrins]

*** Les Bans (3662m) : North-East Pillar (1933) > rock D / IV+ / 450m
* Gioberney (3352m) : North-East Ridge > rock-snow PD / IV / 200m
* Pic Coolidge (3775m) : South Ridge (1877) > snow F / 450m

4. Vallon du Chardon :
[Hut : Refuge du Carrelet]

** Pointe du Vallon des Etages : North Face (1935m) > rock TD / IV+ / 600m
* Les Rouies (3589m) : normal route (1873) > glacier F / 1160m

5. Vallon de Champhorent :
[Hut : Refuge de la Lavey]

** Tête des Fêtoules (3458m) : West Ridge (1973) > rock TD / IV+ / 500m
** L'Olan (3560m) : North Ridge (1880) > rock PD / II / 450m

6. Vallon de la Muzelle :
[Hut : Refuge de la Muzelle]

** Roche de la Muzelle (3464m) : North-East Ridge (1928) > ice-rock PD / II / 210m

7. Vallon du Soreiller :
[Hut : Refuge du Soreiller]

*** Aiguille Dibona (3130m) : Voie Directe Madier (1937) > rock TD / V+ / 330m
** Soreiller Oriental (S face)
** Tête du Rouget (W & S faces)
* Aiguille du Plat de la Selle
* Soreiller Oriental
* Pointes de Burlan
* Pic Gény
* Le Plaret

8. Vallon de la Selle :
[Hut : Refuge de la Selle]

** Le Râteau (S face) : classic E ridge and a south pillar to climb


1. Above La Grave :
[Hut : Refuge de l'Aigle]

*** La Meije (N face) : one of the Top Ten climbing in the Alps
** Le Râteau (W ridge) : easy and classic

2. Vallon du Clot des Cavales :
Hut : [Refuge du Pavé]

** Pic Gaspard (S Face)
** Le Pavé (S face)
** Pic N du Clot des Cavales (E face & S ridge)
* La Grande Ruine
* Pointe Emma (E face)

3. Vallon d'Arsine :
[Hut : Refuge de l'Alpe de Villar d'Arêne]

*** Montagne des Agneaux (N face) : a classic one !


1. Glacier Blanc :
[Huts : Refuge des Ecrins & Refuge du Glacier Blanc]

*** Barre des Ecrins (N face) : an absolute must-do when you love mountains...
** Roche Faurio (SE face)
** Pic de Neige Cordier (S face)
* Pointe des Cinéastes
* Pointe Cézanne
* Pic du Glacier d'Arsine

2. Glacier Noir :
[Hut : Refuge Cézanne]

*** Barre des Ecrins (S face) : south pillar, a myth !
*** Ailefroide (N Face) : another masterpiece in Les Ecrins, but for good moutaineers

3. Vallon du Sélé :
[Hut : Refuge du Sélé & Refuge du Pelvoux]

*** Mont Pelvoux : wonderful to go for the whole traverse
*** Ailefroide (S face)
** Pic Sans Nom (S face)
** Pic du Coup de Sabre (S face)
* Pointe des Boeufs Rouges (N ridge)
* Pointe du Sélé (SW ridge)

4. Vallon des Bans :
[Hut : Refuge des Bans]

*** Les Bans (S face) : a couple of great routes there
** Pic Jocelme


1. Vallon du Clot Vivier :
[Hut : Refuge de Chabournéou]

** Sirac (N face)
** Pic Jocelme (W face)

2. Vallon de la Condamine :
[Hut : Refuge du Pigeonnier]

** Les Rouies (E face)

3. Vallon de l'Olan :
[Hut : Refuge de l'Olan]

*** L'Olan (SE face)
* La Cime du Vallon
* La Rouye

4. Vallon du Désert :
[Hut : Refuge de Font Turbat]

*** L'Olan (NW face) : last but not least... the ultimate route in Les Ecrins. Opened by the great Jean Couzy & René Desmaison in the 50's.

Books and Maps

This area is widely covered by excellent handbooks :

1. For a wide selection of routes :
Oisans Nouveau Oisans Sauvage (Ouest)
Oisans Nouveau Oisans Sauvage (Est)
Ecrins, ascensions choisies AD à D

2. For the entire coverage of Les Ecrins :
Guides du Haut-Dauphiné

3. A must-have classic :
Massif des Ecrins, les 100 plus belles by the famous Gaston Rébuffat

4. IGN Maps : the most accurate you can find
Meije/Pelvoux 3436ET (East part of Les Ecrins)
Muzelle/Olan 3336ET (West part of Les Ecrins)

Ecrins > La Meije with a safety helicopter