Ranxerox – Tete d’Aval

From the end of August, we’ve spent around 5 weeks in the Ecrins and Ceuse in France. Lots of sportclimbing (my first 8a!), cycling, walking, swimming and a few longer routes. One of them was a route that was high on my wishlist: Ranxerox (ED- 500m).

I’d never climbed on the Tete d’Aval before, so I was super curious. The rock formation looks big, wild and impressive from the valley floor and I always wondered how it was to be up there.

Together with Marianne, I made a plan. We got up early and drove with Marianne’s 4×4 on the dirt road above Les Vigneaux to the parking. From there, we started walking in the dark. I started to sweat soon, because the path was steep and never-ending..I think it took us around 1.5hr or so? It was really nice btw that the day before our attempt Marianne checked out the walk-in and knew where to go. Especially when arriving at the base of the wall, it’s not so obvious where to go.

The climbing can be described as good, on steep and sometimes a bit polished limestone. The wall itself feels discontinous (many ledges) and a bit sand-bagged: grades were on the stiff side. We both couldn’t onsight or flash the crux (7a/7a+) and there were some easier pitches that need an upgrade as well.

We made good progress, climbed fast, but at around 2PM we decided to leave the last 5 pitches for what it was.. Dark clouds were gathering above us, and we didn’t want to rappel in rain and thunder (next to that, our feet were sore, which simplified the decision even more 😉 ). After all, it stayed dry, we had a very fun day out and I was super happy to explore this area. Let’s go back later to finish it or climb another route here, Marianne!

Morning light looking towards the Queyras

1st crux pitch
Marianne in one of the easier pitches
A traverse pitch high up
At the top of the pillar
Tete d’Aval from Les Vigneaux
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