Martin on Cnicht

Martin on Cnicht

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wednesday 5 September 2012 - GR54 Day 5 - Monêtier-les-Bains (1495m) to Vallouise (1166m) via Col des Grangettes

Approx 20 km with 1200 metres ascent, in 7 hours 45 minutes including breaks totalling 1 hour 30 minutes.

We award top marks to Gite Le Flourou and Pierre, its genial host. The facilities were excellent and the food was great. All for under €50 per person, including beer and wine.

By 8.30 this morning we were on the road again in brighter conditions with the sun secreted behind the Serre-Chevaller mountains. Kev's GR54 guidebook talks about today's path passing through a 'sorry area' of ski pistes, bulldozed tracks and other eyesores that make this the ugliest section of the walk. So after ten minutes, instead of heading into this 'sorry area' we kept to the right and headed up an amenable forestry track beside the Torrent le Grand Tabuc.

It took us an hour to reach the end of the track at 1825 metres. From there a delightful and superbly graded path delivered us back into the Écrins National Park and high into Vallon de la Monragnolle, with fine views across to the remains of the Monetier glacier and the sunlit peaks of Montagne des Agneaux (pictured - top).

Sadly, high cloud obscured the sun before it rose high enough to enter our line of vision, but it remained warm, dry and windless. T-shirt weather for me, though the others donned something warmer at times.

At about 2340 metres we arrived at a junction where the path to our left headed over a minor col and into the ski area to rejoin GR54 on its route over Col de l'Eychauda (2425m). Those averse to a bit of easy scrambling should probably take this route. The five of us spent the next 40 minutes climbing steeper ground, initially on a good path over scree, and for the final 150 metres or so on a narrow, vertiginous path with good hand holds, to reach our high point of the trip to date, the 2684 metre Col des Grangettes where the other four are pictured (middle).

The descent on the south side of the col thankfully presented no difficulties, and we soon reached the turquoise waters of Lac de l'Eychauda. From here onwards we met a string of day walkers ascending to this beauty spot for lunch.

Our own lunch was taken on the descent into the Vallon de Chambran, from where the view back to our route down the cirque looked quite dramatic.

Over five hours after deserting the GR54 route, we rejoined it shortly before reaching the buvette at Chambran, where we enjoyed coffees, served by a small child in a free-range chicken zone.

Duly refreshed, we continued onwards towards our destination for a pleasurable couple of hours on good paths, with fine views down to the Vallouise valley once we had lost the views (pictured - bottom) back along GR54's route to Col de l'Eychauda.

Once in Vallouise, Gite l'Aiglière was soon located (4pm) and Denis and Maryline provided a most welcome pot of tea.

Since our arrival the cloud has dissipated and the weather bodes well for tomorrow.

Comments:

Thanks Chrissy for your comment. I'll be looking at your blog for inspiration for 'Postcards from Timperley' when I get home.

Helen, sorry to hear it's raining in Ottawa. You have misunderstood my comments re the weather, which is actually very good. We've had no storms and in five days' walking it has drizzled from high cloud for just a couple of hours, hardly wetting us at all. Have a great time in Newfoundland.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is all sounding awesome. Hot and sunny again here now.LOL H

Alan R said...

Great stuff Martin. Love the pics.