In La Grave everyone can reach the glacier and the alpine summits
In La Grave, the high mountains are not only for mountaineers. By means of the La Grave Cable Car (Téléphériques des Glaciers de La Meije), everyone can explore the glacier and enjoy the spectacular view of never-ending summits fading into the distance.
The mid-station – a view of the glaciers and La Meije
In front of the station at 2400 m (7874 ft), admiration comes easy. Go for a picnic in the grass or a nap in a hammock, simply savouring the view of high peaks mirrored in a little lake. Afterwards, follow the path starting at the little lake for a hundred meters or so to admire the work of the glaciers on the Alpine landscape.
Between 2400 m and 3200 m (10500 ft), the you will be seated next to the majestic peak of La Meije with front-row views of moraines, crevasses and hanging glaciers. The glaciers of La Meije and the Râteau cling on to the spectacular North faces of this 3983 m (13068 ft) high peak.
The lift gives access to routes for ropes and crampons that vary from beginners’ level to extreme difficulty. The North faces of La Meije and the Râteau are for the intrepid, apart from the climb of the Enfetchores leading to the gap of La Meije and the Promontoire hut right behind. This is but the first step for alpinists who are aiming for the main peak.
The top station – the Mont Blanc in the distance and the glacier close by
The top station at 3200 m (10500 ft) is perched between the peak of la Meije and the Girose glacier, the view reaches all the way to the Mont Blanc. Up there, the glacier becomes more accessible – although you always need to take your precautions when approaching it. The ice cave and the easy glacier walks with the guides make it possible for anyone to get acquainted with this endangered species.
Time table and prices for the La Grave Cable Car summer 2022
Explore the high mountains and the Alpine univers. See the glacier up close and the Mont Blanc in the distance. In two stages, the La Grave lift takes you from 1450 m to 3200 m in 40 minutes.
To see prices and timetables download the flyer.
Discover the glacier – without and within
Together, the Girose and Mont de Lans Glaciers make up the biggest ice cap of the French Alps (6 km from east to west). Get to know the glaciers, its crevasses and ice falls by combining a visit to the ice cave and an easy glacier walk with a mountain guide.
Take advantage of the clear morning light to go for a walk on the glacier while enjoying the view stretching from the Vercors plateau to the Mont Blanc. Afterwards, you can visit the ice cave whose secured tunnels makes it possible to explore the glacier from within. The tunnels and sculptures are carved anew every year.
If you want to go a little further, go on a glacier hike to the Lauze Mountain Pass. This route is perfect for a first glacier hike and the guide will teach you the basic glacier skills.
Radio Ice – listen to the sounds of the glacier
During the summer of 2019, two sound artists recorded the sound of the glacier moving. At the listening station at the Tourist Information Center La Grave you can discover the interior life of glaciersand also hear what people who work on or with glaciers have to say about them. On the website, you can listen on streaming or download the podcasts to listen by the glacier.
First alpine climbs
The next stage is climbing the peaks around the Girose Glacier. The cable car takes you up to the Col des Ruillans at 3211 m (10534 ft), a precious help when time is short. Here, a single day is enough to fulfil your dreams.
The western summit of the Râteau 3769 m (12365 ft)
A mere 560 m of height difference in a mix of rock and ice, rated PD (peu difficile - a little difficult) leads to a very airy ridge that dominates the Selle valley on one side and on the other the vertiginous north face of the Râteau that drops towards the Romanche valley. On the rocky outcrop that forms the summit of the Râteau Ouest at 3769 m there is just enough space for one rope team to enjoy the view.
The first to reach it was Coolidge and company in 1873, without any help from the gondola. Then again, in those days the mountaineers were ready to cross the Brêche de la Meije at 3357 m just to go for a drink in the neighbouring valley.
Peak of La Grave 3667 m (12030 ft)
The climb consists mainly of snow and ice, rated PD. This one you will teach you how to place your crampons. After a soft start on the flats the bergschrund crossing awaits at a 40-45° gradient followed by a more relaxed 30-35° slope. A very short passage on rock concludes the climb.