Trip Report
Barre des Écrins - Butterflies and Brocken spectres!
Thursday February 23, 2017 5:05am
Looking to the Barre des Écrins from the Dôme de Neige
Looking to the Barre des Écrins from the Dôme de Neige
Credit: Bald Eagle

Warm greetings SuperTopoist's from a stormy Doris Day in the UK!

Here's a wee offering to hopefully brighten up your day and a short vid from a trip a couple of summers ago to the amazing Ailefroide in the superb Ecrins region of the French Alps during what was probably the worst summer weather on record for many years!

Our group had very little acclimatisation and a predicted short weather window before stormy weather returned, so decided to take a gamble on the magnificent Barre des Ecrins 4102m which we really wanted to climb. So after a beautiful walk in to the excellent Refuge des Ecrins on the first day, we had the usual alpine start at 4am the following morning. I found the slog up the steep North East face of the Barre very tough going, with ominous over-hanging seracs just to add to the excitement...

By the time our team reached the Brèche Lory at about 4000m I was sick a couple of times (no doubt due to the lack of acclimatisation), the weather was deteriorating and the final West Ridge looked in pretty poor condition so a difficult decision had to be made. I guess it was the classic mountaineering dilemma after investing a lot of time, money and effort on whether to push on in poor conditions and deteriorating weather after being ill? Or stop because it is probably the sensible thing to do and the mountain will always be there?

Anyway the entertainment was duly recorded so for anyone interested in viewing our 2 day adventure featuring beautiful butterflies, a cuddly marmot, an elusive brocken spectre and that difficult decision then please use the following embedded link:

[Click to View YouTube Video]

All constructive feedback welcome, please feel free to share and hopefully it will inspire one or 2 of you lovely people to pay a visit to the beautiful Écrins! :-)

Happy climbing!

Dave

  Trip Report Views: 2,706
Bald Eagle
About the Author
Bald Eagle is a trad climber from the UK who likes to boldly go where quite a few people have been before... :-)

Comments
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Feb 23, 2017 - 05:30am PT
Thank you for an enjoyable video.

We've most of us been in similar positions to yours with regard to deciding to go on or sit down and enjoy the view, I'm sure.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Mar 1, 2017 - 03:23am PT
[Click to View YouTube Video] Nostalgia seems in the ethos today fabulous and fitting
Thanx

In order to dis-ambiguate,
I've bad knees and ankles, ,only one of the heels was rebuilt,
the trappsing long walks
are the harder part, for me..


Thankyou. For taking the time to put out such wonderful views.

I've dreams of high mnt bivies, based off glacial moraines, sadly they are just dreams.
The long walking the true cardio too, I can't really do. It very much hurts to admit it,
returning to running would be the only way I could return to the mountains. In fit enough
shape,
but the ankles go about a day and a half, then lock up stagger-Larry style trying to favor
Both sides against the other knees and opposing ankles. 'n such.

, so the huts always grab my attention ! But still. . . I'm right in the middle of my domestication, I'm midst wedding bliss, Don tch a' gnowe!
And raising sprouts up properly I hope!

I'm very seriously lookin' . . . .as I say !, your eyes to my screen takes me away (from the)
Small rock heaven where I get to play!.
Be warned :
(photo display, on request,un-till (apparently) you scream and say "WHEN")
The "odd to the USA climbers," things like white Cliffs,
the earth tempo!
Settings of the wonders . . . . . . . as well as the Wonders them selves.
Some times the less said the better of fantastic. . . . In so many levels. . .,
So I'll stop but I'll look again for a good time !!


your videos were given -high on the page- setting
in the recommendations made by YouTube , I'll refresh that. .
Thgnx, ghen!

ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Feb 23, 2017 - 10:57am PT
Nice, thanks for posting.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Feb 23, 2017 - 02:29pm PT
Bald, You always deliver the goods with our videos. No shame in showing good sense in the mountains. It just means you will be around to post up more wonderful videos.
Cheers
clode

Trad climber
portland, or
  Feb 23, 2017 - 02:46pm PT
Beautiful, calming music to accompany beautiful photography of beautiful scenery! And the bee and butterfly sharing the flower, purely enchanting and wonderful! Other than that, meh!

Thanks Bald Eagle!
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Feb 24, 2017 - 12:55am PT
Thank you for an enjoyable video.

We've most of us been in similar positions to yours with regard to deciding to go on or sit down and enjoy the view, I'm sure.

Thanks a million Mouse, Gnome and ddriver for taking the time to post your kind feedback! Even though the summit was tantalisingly close, the final West Ridge looked a lot more tricksome than usual with deteriorating weather. Also my 2 mates who are pretty good alpinists and are aliens when it comes to acclimatisation, took well over a couple of hours to summit and return so obviously the right decision and a case of too high too soon for me! Anyway it was a grand day out and the brocken spectre on the summit of the Dome de Neige was a pretty good consolation prize... :-)
Cheers
Dave
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Feb 24, 2017 - 12:57am PT
Bald, You always deliver the goods with our videos. No shame in showing good sense in the mountains. It just means you will be around to post up more wonderful videos.
Cheers

Many thanks Nick and I really appreciate your appreciation! Hopefully a new climbing vid coming out soon so watch this space :-)
Happy Friday to you!
Baldy
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Feb 24, 2017 - 01:04am PT
Beautiful, calming music to accompany beautiful photography of beautiful scenery! And the bee and butterfly sharing the flower, purely enchanting and wonderful! Other than that, meh!

Thanks Bald Eagle!

Many thanks clode and the start of the walk to the refuge was awash with beautiful alpine flora and fauna. And yes the bee and butterfly + semi-tame marmot we encountered were delightful! :-)


Cheers
Dave
Degaine

climber
  Feb 25, 2017 - 12:20am PT
Thanks for the TR and video. Gotta love Les Ecrins.

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Feb 25, 2017 - 12:40am PT

A beautiful video...

and the breathing adds drama...
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Feb 26, 2017 - 06:19am PT
Thanks for the TR and video. Gotta love Les Ecrins.

Thanks a million for taking the time to post your positive feedback Degaine and everyone should have a whole lotta love for the Ecrins! :-)
Cheers Dave
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Feb 26, 2017 - 06:26am PT
A beautiful video...

and the breathing adds drama...

Hey Marlow many thanks for the kind words and it would be fair to say I was rather short of breath upon reaching the Breche Lory! And short of the contents of my stomach too... ;-)
Happy Sunday!
Dave
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Feb 26, 2017 - 04:10pm PT
Nice cinematography and sound track,
Loved the flowers, bees, and butter flies!

You've captured the spirit!
Cheers!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Feb 26, 2017 - 06:07pm PT
Nice! Always liked the look of that mountain.

Isn't there a classic/long rock climb up the shoulder or something? Sort of like E. Buttress of El Cap?
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Feb 27, 2017 - 12:57am PT
Nice cinematography and sound track,
Loved the flowers, bees, and butter flies!

You've captured the spirit!
Cheers!

Many thanks Ezra and muchly appreciated! The flora and fauna around the area was just magical with little vibrant jewels wherever you looked... :-)
Cheers
Dave
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Feb 27, 2017 - 01:07am PT
Nice! Always liked the look of that mountain.

Isn't there a classic/long rock climb up the shoulder or something? Sort of like E. Buttress of El Cap?

Thanks a million Pete! All the routes from the North are snow + ice or mixed I think, though I believe there are some long rock routes over 1000m from the South, such as the South Pillar. I suspect someone will be along who has far greater knowledge of the mountain than me! :-)
Cheers
Dave
Degaine

climber
  Feb 28, 2017 - 12:25am PT
I wouldn't call the South Pillar (Pilier Sud) classic in an Yosemite-based sense of the term. It's nothing like the East Buttress of El Cap, which in general is a sunny outing one can do in shorts and a t-shirt on high-quality rock.

Although most of the rock I've chosen to climb in the Ecrins has been of moderate to high-quality, the area is known for choss (granite choss), and the Pilier Sud falls into that category (and is a 1000m route). Best have the mountain skills to simul-climb a bunch of the route in mountain boots (actually all of it in mountain boots). I've stood on peaks across the way and heard rocks crashing a banging down the route in the warm summer sun.

Here's a good photo TR (not me):
http://guide-summit.com/pilier-sud-des-ecrins/
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Mar 1, 2017 - 03:17am PT
I wouldn't call the South Pillar (Pilier Sud) classic in an Yosemite-based sense of the term. It's nothing like the East Buttress of El Cap, which in general is a sunny outing one can do in shorts and a t-shirt on high-quality rock.

Although most of the rock I've chosen to climb in the Ecrins has been of moderate to high-quality, the area is known for choss (granite choss), and the Pilier Sud falls into that category (and is a 1000m route). Best have the mountain skills to simul-climb a bunch of the route in mountain boots (actually all of it in mountain boots). I've stood on peaks across the way and heard rocks crashing a banging down the route in the warm summer sun.

Here's a good photo TR (not me):
http://guide-summit.com/pilier-sud-des-ecrins/

Hi Degaine many thanks for your input and that kinda confirms what little I knew about the southern side of the Barre! :-)
Cheers
Dave
i-b-goB

Big Wall climber
Nutty
  Mar 1, 2017 - 11:00am PT
By George you've done it again!
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
  Mar 1, 2017 - 02:08pm PT
What a beautiful little video. Love the music, the close ups, the pans, everything about it. Thanks for bringing us along! Looks like a super fun route!
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Mar 1, 2017 - 03:30pm PT
Nice... thanks for taking the time to share.

It made me feel like I was in the mountains with you.
Bald Eagle

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Mar 2, 2017 - 01:35am PT
What a beautiful little video. Love the music, the close ups, the pans, everything about it. Thanks for bringing us along! Looks like a super fun route!

Heya i-d-goB, guyman + Tom and a maa-hoosive thanks for taking the time to post your kind feedback. Indeed the Barre is a very beautiful mountain but not one to be underestimated, especially with those seracs. I believe there was a tragic accident on the voie normale a couple of years ago with a number of fatalities due to serac fall. Anyway many thanks once again guys and I'm very glad you enjoyed the vicarious ride! :-)
Cheers
Dave
Go