05 - Departement Haute Alpes

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General information




General information                                                                 (Content)

Situation:  North-west of Argenière-la-Bessée at the base of the Écrins.
Climate:   At an altitude between 1500-1800 m. In winter there is snow and the access road is closed sometimes until spring.
Rock:       Granite. 
Topo:       blocheart[1] (tmms-Verlag), more Info and order; Local topo by Anthony Lamiche.

Boulder problems
One main area and some smaller areas, sometimes also single boulders with about 300 problems in the grades Fb 3 - 8b. The grades there are extremely hard!
  3 -   5+ :   29
6a - 6c+ : 125
7a - 7b+ :   95
7c -    8b:   53


Article                                                                                        (Content)

Ailefroide - this means bouldering in a beautiful mountain scenery at the base of the southmost 4000m-peak of the Alps, the Écrins. In a breathtaking high mountain valley are waiting about 300 boulder problems in a main sector and many smaller sectors for your repeats. Despite of the high altitude between 1500 and 1800 m it is too hot in summer for really hard problems. In winter the valley is in the hand of the skiers (ski tours) and the access road is closed. Therefore the best seasons are autumn and spring, though there can be quite good conditions also in summer because of the high altitude, the dry air and cool winds coming down from the glaciers.

Directly in the sector "Parking" the first boulder problems wait for you close to your vehicle. You should not miss the "Proue du Parking" (7a). This problem was graded 7c in an ancient topo, what was in fact quite a bit closer to the reality than 7a. You see, things in Ailefroide are serious. The "local" and guidebook-author Anthony Lamiche uses a stiff grading system and despite that the scale reaches up to Fb 8b (and these 8bs are not overgraded!).

Once used to the particular grading system, the varied landscape lets you enjoy the area for quite a while. The boulders are spread some kilometres starting from before Ailefroide almost up to the Pré de Madame Carle. Therefore you can place your pad at many different places and you won't get bored for a long time. Behind the sector "Parking" is lying the main sector with a great amount of boulders. I suggest absolutely to have a look at "Surprise du Chef" (7b+), but also all around can be found many excellent lines as you can see in the small selection of the photos below.

For your overnight accomodation you will find some campings and many boarding houses/lodges in Ailefroide. From there you can reach many boulders on foot, therefore you can think about coming here by public transport.

The most beautiful season is certainly autumn, when the larch-woods of the Dauphiné turn their coulour, the temperature is a bit lower and the conditions for bouldering in the area become perfect. Well, don't wait and think, take your crashpad and start for a bouldering trip to the world of small and big boulders in the middle of the French Alps!


Photos                                                                                            (Content)