The Pointe de la Pilatte
is not a major summit in Les Ecrins.
However it can be a good backup plan if the weather gets bad when attempting on Les Bans
(next to it) ; or as a warm-up before climbing more serious routes in Les Ecrins.
It is also very nice to ascend it, as it gives the opportunity to walk through the Glacier de la Pilatte
one of the most impressive glacier in the area.
Getting There and Staying...
From Bourg d'Oisans
, drive up to La Bérarde
You can park freely there.
Then you have to walk all the way up to Pilatte Hut (2577m), which is about 2h45 South of La Bérarde.
You can either stay at the Hut (warm welcome) or camp nearby, but your tent has to be uninstalled in the morning.
It can be windy there.
Pilatte Hut : +33 4 76 79 08 26
NORMAL ROUTE : PD / 900m
> From Pilatte Hut
walk for a few hundred meters to the South.
You will then have to climbed down for 15-20m (very easy) to reach the Pilatte Glacier. Well indicated.
> First walk south ahead of you until you face a stone & ice wall. Quite flat.
Next you take on your left to climb the first slope. On top of the slope, go on your right to reach the first main crevasses.
If the weather is bright, it is fairly easy to find your way through.
In case of unstable weather (like we had), it can be awkward. Take your time.
> After a nice field of crevasses you will reach the upper plateau of the glacier. Head towards the Col des Bans
From there walk along the Pointe de la Pilatte (it will be on your right hand side) to reach the East ridge.
> An easy III section first on the ridge (about 20m). It then gets flat.
Stay on the ridge until you reach the summit.
Descend on the same itinerary.
> The Pointe de la Pilatte can be climbed on its West ridge, starting at the Col des Bans.
More difficult than the West Ridge (class IV).
> The Col des Bans is also reachable from the South side (north side is from Pilatte, as described above), starting at Les Bans Hut
But as the glacier is withdrawing this path is rarely used. It takes 5h (PD).
The usual glacier equipment is necessary :
1x 50m rope
Harness + Helmet
Ice-axe + crampons
And for safety : a couple of ice-screws, slings and quickdraws
No friends needed
Books, Maps & Weather
The best book :
Guides du Haut-Dauphiné
The best map :
(East part of Les Ecrins)
For weather conditions check on :
Météo France > Saint-Christophe-En-Oisans