La Meije - Arête du promontoire & traversée des arêtes

The ascent of the Grand Pic of La Meije (3982m) by the arete du Promontoire and descent via the traversée des aretes is one of the classic alpine tours. it is long, committing and very exposed; although the climbing is never excessively hard, experience and an all round alpine competence is necessary. Being at nearly 4000m, it is wise to do some acclimatisation before attempting it. The logistics of where to start and finish the tour are not simple, which ever way you go up, there is no easy way down from the Grand Pic, and so deciding on the starting and finishing points is not easy. Although it is possible to reach the Arete du Promontoire by a 5h walk from La Berade in the south, the route that is described here starts and finishes in La Gare in the North. It is probably the most practical. Note: In August 2018 a huge rock fall fell in the corner of the Glacier Carré making the normal route up the Promontoire unsafe for the rest of the season. Check with the hut for the latest information.

Region
France - Ecrins
Difficulty
IV - technical climbing
Quality
Gold
Length
From the Gare de Peyrou to the refuge du promontoire involves 1000m of ascent plus 500m of descent and takes 4 hours. From the hut to Grand Pic is 1000m of climbing, the descent from the Doigt de Dieu to the hut is about 550m
Time required
Allow 5 hours for the arete de promontoire, 5 hours for the traverse and 3 hours for the descent to Pont des Brebis. From here, either take a lift back to the start, or another 1+ hours walking.
Accommodation

Refuge du Promontoire and Refuge de l'Aigle