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Ecrins, an adventure in the Alps

 

The idea was to climb the mythical summit of Mont Blanc by the route of the four thousand, preparation in the Pyrenees, arrival in Chamonix, acclimatization in Gran Paradiso all perfect ... but for some reason that I do not know sometimes the mountain seems to say "not now" and everything was put against it, the weather, the shelters, the mechanical means to ascend ... we could not believe it, did not let us even approach.

Monument to the first Alpinists

Amidst the despair, the incredulity and the silly laughter that the situation produced, my companion said: And Ecrins? I looked at him in surprise and he left on the table the magazine Desnivel of this month of June, where on its cover you could read "Ecrins, the human and wild Alps" 

View of the Ecrins massif

We didn't think about it, at night we picked up everything, and the next morning we were on our way. We would leave Chamonix with a strange feeling, but excited about the new challenge that would come our way.

 

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After several hours by car we arrived at Ailefroide, we parked in Pré de Madame Carle and without time to rest we were already on our way to the Ecrins shelter, we had four hours of walking left and 1300 meters of unevenness. We left at four o'clock in the afternoon, and two hours later, a little beyond the shelter of the White Glacier, we were strung up on the glacier.

White Glacier

Words cannot describe the sensations that invaded us, the mountain and us in our pure state. We could already see our objectives for tomorrow: Barre des Ecrins 4102 m and Dome de Neige 4015 m and also today's objective the Ecrins hut 3170 m.​

Barre de Ecrins y Dome Nieige

Before we could have woken up, it was three o'clock in the morning, and we were already having breakfast, organizing our backpacks and getting ready to leave. 

Dawn in the Alps

At night all the ropes, illuminated only by the headlands, gave a magical, almost ghostly appearance, wrapped in a deafening silence, only broken by the sound of boots entering the snow in a rhythmic, orchestral way.

Seracs about to fall

Little by little the sun is breaking through, and as we ascend we realize, how small and fragile we are, that we are part of a whole in a very precarious balance, it is in that moment, being aware of it, that you feel free, human, ethereal.

The chaos of cracks

After seracs, cracks and walls of ice we are in the Lory Gap at 3974 m, here after a long reflection, and taking into account how complicated the ridge was not only to climb, but also to descend, we made the decision not to attack Barre and to settle for only Dome de Neige, a decision that we later see all the ropes take, some of them not without trying.

Barres Ridge from Lory's Gap

We reached the summit, exultant, happy and giving thanks to the mountain gods who this time have been benevolent and have let us into their abode.

Cima del Dome de Neige

We made the descent satisfied, between laughs and jokes but without losing concentration.

The descent through the glacier

Already on the glacier, on the way to the car, I look back, it's just a second, just one, but I seem to see old climbers with their old climbing devices saying goodbye to us. I take a deep breath and continue walking with a smile on my face, thinking that maybe it was not a series of coincidences that prevented us from climbing Mont Blanc.​

The spectacle of the Alps

 

 

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