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Copyright: © 1998 - 2014 John Gardner

A Walking Guide to the Massif de la Chartreuse

Walks on Mont Granier (1933 m)

Mont Granier is positioned fairly and squarely at the northern end of the Chartreuse Massif, and is justifiably renown for its massive northern face which can be seen to spectacular effect from the road at the col du Granier, as well as from the town of Chambéry. It is also, however, a magnificent mountain in its own right which reserves its main attractions for those with the energy to explore it on foot.

To the north (map), the mountain is totally protected by a huge rampart, which is the result of a catastrophic collapse in 1248 when a sizable chunk of the mountain fell away resulting in a devastating avalanche which killed over a thousand people. The southern edge of the mountain is delimited by the pastures of l'Alpette, from which it is separated by further cliffs which mark the line of a prominent geological strike-slip fault that cuts through the massif. The Pas des Barres is a route which allows access from l'Alpette through a weakness in the north-eastern end of this cliff. The western side, overlooking the Vallée d’Entremonts, is also girdled by massive cliffs, but with two weaknesses which allow access to the crest.

The starting point for three of the walks is la Plagne. This beautiful little hamlet nestles in a sea of open pastures in the impressive cirque bounded by the southern summit of mont Granier to the north and the summit of Le Pinet to the south. Parking may be found on the right at the start of the prominent zigzag leading to the hamlet, as well as just up from the forestry track leading from the apex of the zigzag.

The fourth walk, starting from Bellecombe, makes use of the two main passes into the massif from the east.