The following communication is courtesy of UIAA member FFCAM (Fédération française des clubs alpins et de montagne) regarding the early opening of ten refuges in the Massif des Ecrins for visitors interested in cross-country skiing and other activities. Refuges will open from 24 March.

A reminder that courtesy of a reciprocity agreement, climbers from member federations of the UIAA are entitled to use about 1,200 mountain huts in the entire alpine region, including those run by FFCAM, – from Slovenia to Spain, including Picos de Europa, Sierra Nevada and the Apennine Mountains. Those eligible to benefit from reciprocity are offered the same overnight rates as members of the hut-owning associations; in some huts, these special conditions are up to 50 per cent of the regular rate. Full details here.

The full FFCAM communication is as follows:

From as early as Saturday 24 March 2018, cross-country ski touring will be possible in the Massif des Ecrins, thanks to the commitment of ten refuge caretakers to open early and in coordination.

Unparalleled in Europe, with its high wild valleys, distinctly Alpine character, almost entirely within the Parc National des Ecrins, this is a mountain range much-loved by high-altitude cross-country skiers, for its glaciers generously bathed in sunlight.

With snowdall plentiful as 2018 begins, the time has come to chart out your cross-country skiing routes in the Massif des Ecrins and book your overnight stays at your selected refuges

Fédération Française des Clubs Alpins et de Montagne, and the refuge caretakers, in conjunction with the local partners (Oisans Tourisme, Isère Tourisme, Agence de Développement des Hautes Alpes, Parc National des Écrins) have, on their end, decided to open jointly, to facilitate participation in ski touring.

The refuges set to open for the spring season on 24 March are :

Refuge de Chamoissière

Refuge du Châtelleret (FFCAM)

Refuge du Promontoire (FFCAM)

Chalet Alpin de la Bérarde (FFCAM)

Refuge de l’Alpe de Villar d’Arène (FFCAM)

Refuge des Écrins (FFCAM)

Refuge Adèle Planchard (STD)

Refuge de la Selle (STD)

Refuge du Glacier Blanc (FFCAM)

Refuge de l’Aigle (FFCAM)

Some recommended routes for the spring include :

• “Legendary” La Meije : a trekking experience across savage landscapes, grandiose and technically-challenging, in an extraordinary “atmosphere” surrounded by the emblematic peaks of the Oisans.

• La Grande Ruine : a stunning route culminating in a climb of La Grande Ruine.

• La haute route des Écrins : a daunting trek with technically-difficult mountain passes and steep inclines, offering an immersion experience between 2000 and 4000 metres altitude.

• Le Dôme des Neiges des Écrins : a favourite for cross-country lovers. Le Dôme is for skiers who see things on the largest scale, with a highly-involving progression. This route includes a descent along the near-entirety of the Glacier Blanc.

• Le Pic de Neige Cordier (3614m), an engaging corridor, and a magnificent suspended snowy shoulder to reach the summit, before changing direction to the famed Glacier Blanc or looping back to La Haute Romanche, with 1200m of powdery white due north.

You may choose from many other cross-country skiing routes in Les Ecrins : feel free to contact the refuge caretakers for more information about conditions before you leave.



Lucille Bobet • Development Officer, Isère FFCAM Committee

lucille.bobet@ffcam38.com – 06 60 75 85 05

Association of Hautes-Alpes Refuge Caretakers: 

Sébastien Louvet • chaletrefugechamoissiere@gmail.com – 06 85 54 42 33

Association of Isère Refuge Caretakers: 

Frédi Meignan • fredi.meignan@orange.fr – 04 76 51 90 31

Main Image: Refuge du Glacier Blanc ©L.Lafosse