Placche di Pré de Bar
The Placche di Pré de Bar - Pré de Bar Slabs - take their name from the Prè de Bar Glacier; after having sculpted and smoothed the walls, later the glacier withdrew, leaving some very compact slabs. This area of large granite slabs is located in the italian Val Ferret, on the orographic right side of the Pré de Bar Glacier basin, in front of the Refuge Elena. The large rocky structure allows the development of various excellent and compact granite routes. Moreover the walls are exposed to the South and this fact makes the climb possible for a fairly long time despite the base altitude of 2000 m above sea level. The equipment is very good with stainless steel material and connected stops for the rappel that can be performed both with a single 60-meter rope and with 2 half-ropes.
The slabs can be divided into two sectors: the left one - Lo Scivolo (The Chute) and the right one - I Pilastrini (The Little Pillars).. In the first sector the climb developes on inclined slabs with easier routes (max 5a), in the second one the climb is steeper on little pillars. The environment both during the approach in Val Ferret and during the climbing is fantastic with splendid views over the Mont Blanc group.
Le Placche di Pré de Bar prendono il nome dal Ghiacciaio di Prè de Bar. Dopo aver scolpito e levigato le pareti, in seguito il ghiacciaio si è ritirato lasciando scoperte alcune placche molto compatte. Questa zona di grandi placche di granito si trova nella Val Ferret italiana, sul lato destro orografico del bacino del ghiacciaio di Pré de Bar, di fronte al Rifugio Elena. L'ampia struttura rocciosa consente lo sviluppo di varie vie su granito compatto di ottima qualità. Inoltre le pareti sono esposte a sud e questo rende possibile l'arrampicata per un periodo di tempo abbastanza lungo nonostante l'altitudine di base di 2000 m sul livello del mare. L'attrezzatura delle vie è molto buona con materiale in acciaio inossidabile e ancoraggi collegati per la discesa in corda doppia che può essere effettuata sia con una corda singola da 60 metri che con 2 mezze corde.
Le Placche di Prè de Bar possono essere divise in due settori: quello sinistro, Lo Scivolo e quello destro, I Pilastrini. Nel primo settore l'arrampicata si svolge su placche inclinate con vie più facili (max 5a), nel secondo settore la scalata è più verticale su pilastrini. L'ambiente, sia durante l'avvicinamento in Val Ferret che durante l'arrampicata, è fantastico con splendide vedute sul gruppo del Monte Bianco.
The starting point to climb is the town of Courmayeur.
Road access to Courmayeur
- From Torino and Milano: follow the A5-E25 Motorway and exit Courmayeur - From France: through the Tunnel of Monte Bianco - From Switzerland: through the Great St.Bernard Tunnel or the Great St.Bernard Col or via Chamonix and Tunnel of Monte Bianco.
Once in Courmayeur follow the signposts to Val Ferret and continue driving along the beautiful valley with gorgeous views over the Monte Bianco group. The road ends in the locality named Arp Nouva. Here leave the car in the dirt parking among the trees immediately after the bridge.
Placche di Pré de Bar routes overview
Altitude of the starting point: 2000 m
Difference in level of the approach: 300 m
Excellent granite and beautiful setting. The routes were equipped in the years 1998-1999 by Alex Busca and Nicola Pittino. The routes are completely equipped with stainless steel bolts. The descent is done along the routes by abseiling. A 60 meters single rope is enough to rapping down.
Approach to the wall - from the Arp Nouva parking lot follow the unpaved road leading to the Refuge Elena and after some hundred meters leave the road and turn left taking the path to Rifugio Dalmazzi (signpost). Cross the footbridge on the creek with rope railings, then a second short walkway and after another 50-60 meters leave the main path (marked with yellow stamps) taking on the right a trail marked by cairns that goes up the right orographic bank of the stream, skirting the walls and becoming progressively steeper. the path leads to the base of the slabs, right in front of the Refuge Elena, well visible from the base of the slabs.
- Ryobi 5a (4 obbl.) 215 m, 9 pitches - It's the longest route of the wall and it is located at the left end, so it's the first route you will meet during the approach- L1: 3a, L2: 3a, L3: 3b, L4: 4a, L5: 4b, L6: 5a, L7: 4a, L8: 4c, L9: 3a
- Bierfest 4a, 200 m, 9 pitches - The route is the second one starting from the left - L1: 3a, L2: 3a, L3: 4a, L4: 4a, L5: 3b, L6: 4a, L7: 4a, L8: 4a
- Spitnik 6a (5c and A0), 7 pitches - The route is the third starting from the left - L1: 5a, L2: 4c, L3: 5c, L4: 3c, L5: 4c, L6: 5b, L7: 5b
- Ligne Blanche 6b (6a and A0), 180 m, 6 pitches - The route is the fourth starting from the left and follows a black slab crossed by a white line. It's just on the right of the route Spitnik - L1: 5a, L2: 4b, L3: 4b, L4: 4a, L5: 6a+, L6: 6b
- 3 Luglio 6a+ (6a and A0), 170 m, 7 pitches - The route is the fifth from the left
- Pilastro della Metamorfosi 5c (5b and A0), 170 m, 8 pitches - The route is the fifth from the left - L1: 5b, L2: 4a, L3: 2, L4: 4b, L5: 4a, L6: 5c, L7: 5b
On the Prè de Bar buttress located on the left of the slabs there is another route: Contrefort de Pré de Bar Barabba
No permits no fees required. However there are some limitations regarding the access:
- cars are not allowed on the road beyond Arp Nouva parking lot -
- the whole Val Ferret access road is closed from 9h to 17h in July and August, so you must start earlier or altrnatively take the shuttle bus
Summer and early autumn are the best periods
Several possibilities of accomodation (huts and campings) in Val Ferret.
- Camping Grandes Jorasses between Planpincieux and the golf course. (tel +39 0165 869708). Being near Planpincieux, it’s a lively and well placed on a partially wooden area.
- Camping Tronchey just in front of the entrance of the golf club, right under the monstrous Tronchey Wall of the Grandes Jorasses. (tel. +39 0165 869707). Nearby there’s Bar Tronchey (or “Chez Giulietta”).
A nice alternative to camping can be the Chalet Val Ferret. It’s a seven room little hotel + restaurant at Arnouva, where the Val Ferret road ends, just in front of the opening of the Triolet basin. The place is beyond gorgeous, and you’re in a good position both for climbing and hiking.