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Routes in Ailefroide

Type: Ice, Alpine, 700 ft, Grade III
FA: J-P. Engilberge, E. Estienne, H Mettrier, July 23, 1909
Page Views: 61 total, 5/month
Shared By: Rui Ferreira on Dec 2, 2016
Admins: Euan Cameron, Luc-514

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This is a classic alpine ice climb on the North face of Mt. Pelvoux to its East Col. Conditions very much dictate the difficulties of the climb, but crossing the serac about 300 meters up is typically the technical crux, when we did it there was an easy ramp that bypassed the steep section. There is an upper ice headwall that also requires some vertical climbing. The upper part of the route follows the left branch of the couloir to the East Col and away from the overhanging seracs of the West Col. This section encompasses four to five full rope length pitches of 55 degrees ice. Given the route's length and angle, efficient movement and technique will prevent the calves from exploding. From the Col the summit of Pelvoux (3,609m) can be reach via the Mettrier Couloir typically a loose class III rock gully in the Summer and covered with snow the rest of the year with some rock steps (2 hrs additional to summit).

This route is frequently skied during the Spring season. In recent years snow has been abundant through late Spring, but the Summers have been very hot and there is practically no snow left on route by early August so it is ice all the way to the top.

This route is one of Rébuffat's 100 Plus Belles in the range for anyone doing the ticklist


The climb is reached from the Glacier Noir. From Ailefroide drive up to Pré de Madame Carle and approach via the Glacier Noir on its lateral moraine, right side until 2400 m. From here head in the South direction (left) to the base of the North Face of Mt. Pelvoux. Climb to the base of the couloir at 2800m on the right.
At the top on the Col descend to the South side via the Sialouze glacier and on to the Pelvoux hut at 2700m. From here it is another 3 hours back to the parking lot at Pré de Madame Carle (we hitch hiked part way to get back to the car).


Minimal rack of screws (4 to 6) depending on your comfort level to simul climb or pitch the steeper sections.