This peak is just south of Barre des Ecrins and offers both easy routes on the south side with more challenging ones on the north side. First climbed in July 1877 by William Coolidge, Christian Almer, and Ulrich Almer Jr. via the South Ridge (Rated Facile) It is located in the beautiful Ecrins National Park and easily accessable from the hamlet of La Berarde (end of the road inside the park's west side). The peak is named for the American-born English alpinist and historian William Augustus Brevoort Coolidge (1850-1926) . He made the first ascent of Pic Coolidge (guided by Christian and Ulrich Almer), the third ascent of Barre des Ecrins (with same guides) via a new route on the West Ridge in 1870. He also made first ascents of the Unterbaechhorn (1872), the Scherbadung (1886) and the first winter ascent of the Jungfrau in 1874. The obsessive Coolidge was editor of the BMC's Alpine Journal and author of numerous books about the history of Alpinism.
From Grenoble, a bus runs to the hamlet of La Berarde which offers camping , groceries, and just about everything you may have forgotten. If driving, head toward Bourg D'Oisans (from Grenoble) and then turn into the Parc des Ecrin. Follow the ever-narrowing road all the way to the end of the valley (check signs toward La Berarde) . Be patient since this is a one-way road and you'll encounter opportunities for courtesy to fellow drivers along the way (esp in St Christoph). From La Berarde, head for the trailhed (by the CAF house) and go down the valley with the Veneon river on your right. Go left by the Carrelet hut and soon you'll be heading up the switchbacks to the Refuge de Temple Ecrins. Allow 2 and 1/2 hours from La Berarde to the hut. Dog Route: From the hut, a trail (#39a) leads SE towards Col de la Temple (circa 1 hour away). Bring an axe for crossing the Glacier de la Temple. Once at the foot of Col de La Temple, it is 1 and 1/2 hours of easy rock, scree, and snow to the top. Descend via same route
The peak is normally climbed from April-September but can be attempted earlier/later depending on access to La Berarde (snow closures).
Camping in town at La Berarde. You can pick up supplies at the Champion in Bourg D'Oisans or the small market in La Berarde. One can use either the Refuge Carrelet (1909m), CAF Hut, 70 places, April-Sept, Tel 0476-790827 - 2 hours from La Berarde or Refuge de Temple Ecrins (2410M), CAF Hut, 103 places, dingy, May-Sept, Tel: 0476-790828, 2 1/2 hours from La Berarde
Updates on local weather conditions are available at the CAF house on the far east side of La Berarde.
Parking can be tricky in high season but if you are camping in La Berarde, it should be no problem. Do yourself a favor and learn some French before you go. You'll have a much better time and your hosts will appreciate it.
In French: Le Massif des Ecrins Le Plus Belles Courses et Randonees Gaston Rebuffat, 1974, 1996, 2001 ISBN: 2.207.25232-9 Ecrins: Ascensions Choisies Le Plus Belles Courses de AD a' D Frederic Chevaillot, Jean-Rene Minelli Glenat, 2001 ISBN: 2-7234-3146-0 Sommets des Ecrins Le Plus Belles Courses Faciles Frederic Chevaillot, P. Grobel, Jean-Rene Minelli Glenat, 1997 ISBN: 2-7234-2007-8 In English: Ecrins Massif, Selected Climbs John Brailsford, British Alpine Club, 2002 ISBN: 0-900523-63-8
Between tackling Pic Coolidge, Mont Pelvoux, and Barre des Ecrins, have a look at the heaps of 400m + rock routes all around La Berarde. There are routes for all levels on Tete de la Maye, Tete Blanche, Grande Rochaille, Encoula, and Pointe de Balme Rousse (to name a few). Guidebook for area rock: In French: Oisans Nouveau, Oisans Sauvage Livre Ouest, 250 Escalades by Jean Michel Cambon, 2002 ISBN: 2-9502597-7-4 Available in La Berarde or at the newsstand in Bourg D'Oisans (on the way in) In English: Ecrins Massif, Selected Climbs John Brailsford, British Alpine Club, 2002 ISBN: 0-900523-63-8