Philippe and Anna Gatta: Climbing Gélas – West Couloir

Sunday Anna and I went to the Madone de Fenestre to climb the West Couloir (II, AD / 3, 300m) of Gélas (3143 m). The snow starts above 2300 m and after several weeks of rather warm weather, the snow is pretty hard. The conditions in the West Couloir were rather good in the first half but in the second half there were some gray ice and the end is dry. We took the left option at the end, climbing a not so hard rock but impossible to protect. It was very windy on the top but we got amazing views over the Alps. We went down on the Southwest ridge (300m, PD / II).

Distance: 10 km, ascent: 1270m / descent: 1270m.

Description: park at the Madone de Fenestre (1903 m, signpost 357) or lower if the road is closed. Follow the normal route of Gélas (368) passing 3 lakes: Lac de Fenestre, lac Mort and le Lac Blanc (2665m), turn right and climb straight toward the West Couloir (2840m). The West Couloir (Couloir Ouest) is obvious and visible from the Madone de Fenestre.