Having decided not to head over to Chamonix due to the weather we were keen to get to another summit and have another big mountain day out before the end of our holiday. Unfortunately due to the weather this was put back until the day we were leaving.
Despite the plan to leave we were both drawn to an amazing looking route at the head of the Ailefroide valley which climbed the Sagnette. The route was 15 pitches long, well bolted and involved about 10 abseils to get back.
Due to our desire not to finish in the dark, and to finish early enough to make a good indent into the journey that night we had a very early start. After a hideous alarm call we drove up the valley in the dark and discovered that even if you turn up before dawn you still have to pay the park entry fee!
A hasty walk in enabled us to overtake two other parties and arrive at the route without anyone in front of us. The first few pitches were very cold in the shade, however the climbing was excellent. It was just a bit of a shame about the hot aches!
The first pitch off the first ledge was surprisingly hard, but the climbing was excellent with plenty of friction, good bolting and enjoyable climbing. There was still a long way to the top, and the rest of the climb was a mix of brilliant & exposed climbing with a couple of exposed chossy pitches thrown in to remind us that we were climbing a mountain.
As time was getting on by the time we got to the aid pitch, all thoughts about trying to free it went out the window and I just used the bolt ladder to make my way across the traverse. After this it was one long pitch to the end of the climbing and then a scramble to the top.
After a very quick bite to eat on the summit, we started to make a hasty descent as it was far later than anticipated. Thankfully after 2 weeks of abseiling down routes we had become very efficient and by the bottom of the many abseils had caught up the team who started 6 abseils ahead of us.
A short walk lead of back down the the car as the evening light was fading to provide an excellent, full on last day in the Ecrins. After a final pizza in Ailefroide, we made our way out of the park and finally arrived at our overnight spot in Grenoble at 1am.