Ice Climbing at La Grave

Terry and devotee of ice, Ted Rudd, were supposed to be in Iceland. Since November, my friend, Ivar, was texting how good it was. Then, at the last minute, it turned warm, like +6C in Reykjavik, so we opted for La Grave instead.

La Grave lies in the Romanche valley under the Meije, as in this picture.


We actually stayed in Les Freaux, a sleepy little village. Many of the climbs were within walking distance.


This gite was actually owned by a cat, whom you see on the left.

Here you see a close up of the cat. Her terms were that you shared your food 50/50, bite for you, bite for her. Otherwise, she’d just steal it anyway.

Well, the conditions were superb. Very cold with hard ice. Here you see us starting with the classic grade 4 of the area, ‘Caturgeas’.


This next picture shows Ted on a long easy pitch before the cruxy top pitch. Note the rappel ropes to the left. Very soon afterwards, Tony and Sarah Whitehouse appeared on them!!!!


Here you see Ted just coming up the top, with nice view down valley.


It wasn’t just Tony and Sarah we bumped into……recognize these scallywags??


Next day was ‘Mini Moulin’, a touch harder than Catureas. Here you see some shots of Ted…



Believe it or not, we were once again passed by Tony and Sarah on rappel!!!!!!

The classic of the area is ‘Pylon’ (which was my first ever ice climb). North facing and very hard ice indeed. I did top pitch, which was just as well since Ted’s boot came off.


We decided to try ‘Les Moulin’ WI6. Here you see Ted on one of the lower WI4 pitches. (Un)fortunately, the top hard pitch, the cigar, was cracked, so no honour was lost.


Well that’s enough for now. As Pete observed, one bit of ice looks like any other!!!

19 thoughts on “Ice Climbing at La Grave”

  1. Hope the flippant comment about ice routes all looking the same didn’t offend? I guess there are some that are clearly not the same – Hydrophobia comes to mind! 😉

    Anyway – “Ted’s boot came off” – what! 😯 Do you mean crampon? No I guess not otherwise that’s what you’d have written. Didn’t his Mum teach him how to tie his laces properly?

    1. Depending on how close you are to the subject, I’m afraid even Hydrophobia will look like many other ice climbs – white/blue stuff and a bottom shot. Oh well, we must try and get some better pictures in the future – we need climbers, groopies, and photographers hanging off fixed lines.

  2. Yeah, the ice was like cast iron, particularly on the north-facing side, like in Canada during a cold spell. Daytime temps were around -5 with nighttime lows of -11

  3. I still don’t know about this boot “coming off”????? 😯 😯 sounds like a tricky problem. The ice looks great, a definite for next year when the euro collapses. By the way pete……. that is a cute cat, and she owns a gite…….( michelle pfeiffer was also not bad looking as catwoman :love: )

    1. Yeah, I have that problem too! 🙄 Here’s a picture I took of her last time she was round… As you can see, she was feeling a little ill (holding her tummy) after eating some green cheese she’d gotten her “paws” onto! 😈

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