An imposing and superb peak, showing a compact wall of grey and reddish limestone slabs, dominates the upper part of the road running from Briançon to Col du Lautaret. It’s the Tête de Colombe, lying in the West sector of the Cerces Massif, an interesting group situated North-West to the town of Briançon, between the best known Ecrins Massif and the Italy-France border, and bounded by two valleys showing different characters: Val de la Guisane and Val Clareé.
A huge and impressive detached pillar, "l’Ecaille" (literally The Flake) stands out clearly on the left hand side of this face, which is wide and complex, and often climbed also by the Italian mountaineers in reason of its closeness to the Piedmont region. It’s divided in four main sectors: the SW face, left to the Ecaille, l'Ecaille on the left hand side of the face, the face SSE in the middle and the SSE Pillar, a beautiful face showing excellent grey slabs with various and often difficult climbing routes, on the right hand side. The climbing style is various on excellent sculpted slabs, corners, cracks and steep walls.
The starting point is situated along the road N91 connecting Briançon to Grenoble, 3 km. before getting the Col du Lautaret m. 2057.
Coming from Turin (Italy)
Follow the A32-E70 Motorway entering Val di Susa and exit to Oulx, reach Cesana Torinese and Claviere, then Colle del Monginevro m. 1854, on Italy-France border. From here the road N94 descents to Briançon. From Briançon use the following access.
Coming from Briançon (France)
At the roundabout take the road N91 entering Val Guisane to Col du Lautaret, reaching Chantemerle and Monetier les Bains; carry on towards the col and before entering the Tunnel des Vallois (signpost) leave the car in a pull out on the right. About 120 km. from Turin.
Coming from Grenoble (France)
Take the road N85 to Vizille, then the road N91 rising to Col du Lautaret; reach the Col du Lautaret m. 2057, then descent 3 km. towards Briançon. After passing the avalanche protections and immediately after the second tunnel - Tunnel des Vallois – park the car in a pull out. About 90 km. from Grenoble.
A good path starts from the pull-out, rising inside the wood. After 20 minutes the path crosses another level path, the Chemin de Roy (wooden signpost). Don’t follow this one, but take a steep path on the left (cairn), rising strenuosly towards the various sectors of the face and exiting the wood. Various steep tracks on the scree rise towards the different sectors (towards left to the Ecaille and the middle SSE face, towards right to the SSE Pillar). About 1,30/2 hours from the pull-out.
A small face with a few extreme routes.
- L'appell du bistrot F7a, 160 m. Modern route, bolts
- Effetti collaterali F7a+ 160 m. Modern route, bolts
B) Ecaille de la Tête de Colombe
Some interesting routes are running on the huge flake lying in the left hand side of the face.
- Voie de l’Ecaille F5b 200 m. Re-equipped classic route
- Le Penchant Fatal F6b/A1 200 m. Classic route
- Encore du Devers F7a+/A1 200 m. Modern route, bolts
C) SSE middle face
It’s the fine wall lying just on the right of l’Ecaille.
- Voie de la Scuola Gervasutti F5c 350 m. Re-equipped classic route
- Les Gradins Dauphinois F6a+ 400 m. Modern route, bolts
D) SSE Pillar
It’s lying on the right hand side of the wall. Recently pioneered, it offers some magnificent modern routes on excellent sculpted limestone.
- La Valse des Boucs F6a+ 280 m. Modern route, bolts
- Le Bal des Boucas F6b 280 m. Modern route, bolts
- A Nous la Belle Vie F6a 350 m. Modern route, bolts