The Dauphinee and the Ecrins massif is also known as the small Karakorum of the Alps. Wild mountains and deep valleys make up this area. Two valleys are of particular interest for ice climbers: Freissinieres and the Vallon du Fournel. Freissinieres is a legendary ice climbing spot that offers remarkable opportunities with around 150 frozen icefalls. However, there is a lack of easily accessible pleasure tours. They however can be found not far away in the Vallon du Fournel, which is one of the most visited ice climbing areas in the French Alps. If the road is closed after heavy snowfalls, long ascends are to be expected. Though it is worth the effort as the valley offers a variety of icefalls of every character and level of difficulty.
location / how to get to destination
The ice climbing areas of Freissinieres and the Vallon du Fournel are located on the eastern edge of the Ecrins massif in the Hautes Alps province. Although the trip takes at least half a day up to a full day for Germans, Austrians, and also Swiss, one will simply be overwhelmed by the scenery and the ice lines!
sleeping / food
Accommodation and food are not included in the price. In this region, accommodation is available in every price category. We recommend to book the accommodation early enough as especially in the high season (Christmas, February - March), places can be fully booked quickly.
Here are some addresses:
apparel and equipment list
Technical material is included in the price.
Since we do not climb constantly, there can be "standing times" in cold temperatures, so make sure to bring along enough warm clothes - one cools down quite quickly!
We recommend you bring light clothing of varying thickness to achieve an "onion system" for greater comfort. Cotton is not suitable as it quickly becomes cold upon getting wet. Skiing apparel, however, works well. Our recommendation: warm merino underwear and a fast warming down jacket.
- long underwear (bottom and top), synthetic, merino or wool
- warm pants (lined or fleece)
- warm fleece or long sleeve shirt (not cotton)
- lined jacket or vest, preferably down jacket
- waterproof jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or nylon)
- waterproof pants (Gore-Tex or nylon)
- socks (merino or ski socks)
- woolen cap or lined cap that protects your ears and fits under a helmet
- waterproof climbing gloves (2 pairs)
- solid mountain boots (in exceptional cases ski boots are also possible)
- gaiters if necessary
- Buff (neck protection)
- a minimum 25 litre backpack (space for clothing, snacks, drinks, climbing equipment)
- sun protection (glasses and cream)
- thermos or water bottle (already full!!!!)
- personal medicine
If you want to take your own technical material with you: (otherwise rental equipment included in the price)
- crampons: must fit the shoes and be easily adjustable, with vertical front teeth
- climbing harness: always with adjustable leg loops
- climbing helmet
- ice axe: steep ice axe
- screw carabines
- backup device: reverso, ATC or similar
details & insurance
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
- travel to destination
- drive to the respective ice climbing area or icefall
- accommodation costs before, during or after the courses
- travel expenses for the mountain guide
- accommodation for the mountain guide (for tours of 2 days or more)
- travel and cancellation insurance
- personal climbing apparel