Ecrins, Pic Nord des Cavales, west-southwest ridge.
D+, 500m, 5b max.
Access From La Bérarde, go to Châtelleret hut, FFCAM, 2h. The refuge closes in mid-September. Water nearby. Ability to reach out Pavé refuge (4h30 from Villar d’Arène), open until the end of September, and pass through the breach of the Grand Dièdre.
Method From Châtelleret, go down the left bank of the valley to find a path that climbs to the Clot des Cavales pass, crossing a rock formation at around 2550 m. At about 2800 meters, head down the west ridge. You can also reach Pavé, and descend on the side of Châtelleret avoiding the breach of Grand Dièdre. But without knowing the area, this interesting solution (since it reduces the slope on the way back) seems more convincing than the long but obvious route from Châtelleret.
schedule Follow Climb the ledge, follow it on the Meije side and reach the foot of the first step, which you climb first through a sharp crack of gray and broken rock, a few unstable blocks, then on a good rock on the Meije side again, a ramp. and round cracks. One of the most important articles is here: a short, well-preserved slab of 5/5+. Putting it under it avoids a draw. Above, the horizontal edge lends itself well to continuing on the taut rope. At the foot of the 2nd stage, which climbs well to the right, cross about fifteen meters to the right and find a piton with a system of grooves, which climbs for two heights by pulling gradually to the left. Once on the wire, a beautiful length in 5 but well equipped allows you to get out of the steep section. All that remains is an easier 80 meter climb on the taut rope.
The slope of the south bank then the breach of the Grand Dièdre From the summit, de-escalate, then two to three abseils of 25 meters down to the ridge. Follow it to the right and then to the left (looking at the void), a small step leads to a hole surrounded by a rope. Oblique decline or rapid descent makes it possible to avoid the obstacle on the right and reach the belay on the Pavé side. A 50-meter abseil plunges down the cliffs. To return to the Étançons side: cross down to the right and go to the Grand Dièdre breach. Abseiling equipment on chains and guides. 4×25 or better, abseil 2×50 on the last belay to descend the rocky dihedral belt. Walk on the ledges, descend to the right to reach the foot of the Cambon trails on the west face (La Fureur de Vivre, etc.). From there we reach the moraine and the access road.
50 m rope (25 m abseils) possible, but a second light strand (or 2×50 m) in the bag on the climb is highly recommended, this allows you to make long abseils on the descent, especially the last climb. south rock. Take 6 quick draws, and 5 to 6 camalots to number 2 (take more jammers according to convenience). A very useful large rope on spoilers.
Number 51 of One Hundred Best Courses in Ecrins and Gaston Rebuffat (Denoel).
First ride August 16, 1933, Georges, Henri and Maurice Berthet, Henri Turc.
– Continuation of the hard rope at the beginning, the edge between the two jumps and the end. First jump: 4 to 5 lengths of pull, second jump: 3 to 4 lengths of pull, the rest should be done on the taut rope.
– the route is 650 m. The race is 500 meters. Pitons in space in two or three heights in 5. In general, little equipment in place but less easy to protect, good cracks. Slippers suggested.