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Follow the Gully

First ascent: Marcello Sanguineti, Sergio De Leo, Christian Turk 23/11/2012
By: Marcello Sanguineti
Area: Ecrins, Group: Ecrins, Peak: Barre des Ecrins, Height: 3597m, Country: France, Region: Dauphiné

Short but intense gully. In dry conditions the route is difficult to protect. At times the rock quality is poor. Grandiose setting, total isolation.


From La Berarde to Rif. Temple-Ecrin, from here continue to Col des Avalanches. From the col descend for circa 150m to reach the steep gully (located on the left as you descend from the col) which leads to the face.

Alternatively: from Pré de M.me Carle ascend the Glacier Noir and climb the gully which leads past a mixed section and an icy vertical section towards Col des Avalanches, to circa 150m below the col. Ascend the steep gully on the right which brings you to the face.

At the end of the steep gully, climb the gully on the left for circa 100m up snow and ice (60-70°). Belays at the base of the dry tooling pitches.


P1: Climb on the left past various steep sections and narrow colouirs with little ice. After a delicate steeper section belay with friends/nuts and pegs (50m, M5+).

P2: climb directly above the belay up the large crack (place a U-shaped peg on the left, friends in the crack) which leads past via a pumpy section into a "squeeze chimney" with snow and ice deep inside. Climb up this, not without difficulty. Another delicate vertical section leads to the start of the overhang and poor rock. Protect yourself (peg) then climb right, first pumpy, then delicate, until the angle eases off. There are few hooks and footholds here. Belay with friends/nuts and pegs (45m, M6).

P3: continue upwards, at first directly above the belay, then zigzaging left or right to avoid unstable rock to reach the ice drip which takes ice screws (short or mid sizes). Climb this fun ice groove to where this ends on steep rock. Breach this directly and climb delicately diagonally left to reach the sheet of snow. Ascend this to reach the base of the rock face once again and belay here, friends/nuts (55m, M5+).

P4: Ascend the rocky section and continue up the obvious line to reach the crest at 3597m (35m, M4).


One abseil leads to above Col des Avalanches, descend to this and continue on down to La Berarde.


Normal rack for modern mixed climbs. The following gear was used during the first ascent: some Friends C3, a set of Friends C4 to #2, some medium and small nuts, two pegs, a U-shaped peg, 2 medium ice screws, 1 short ice screw. Other gear which may be found useful: a Friend C4 #3 (at the start of P2) and other pegs.

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