A Walking Guide to the Massif de la Chartreuse

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This site pointed me in a new direction 185
April 17 2014 Contributor: Maurits Paardekooper

?Thank you making all these walks available through your website.

I was looking for new inspiration for hiking in France. I stumbled upon this website and started reading.
Your great description of the walks with the maps got me excited and I decided to go and check them out.
I ended up spending a total of six weeks in 2013 on campsite La Martinière.

Grand Som from les Reyes 100
August 26 2011 Contributor: Hilary Palmer

Firstly - many thanks for such an informative website. My husband and I were in the area for 2 weeks and had a few free days when we weren't supporting the GB team (including our daughter) at the World Orienteering Champs last week. We had time for a couple of short walks and I chose this one for a longer walk. It was very enjoyable and all your directions and timings were spot on - just a couple of extra comments. The notice board at the Col du Bovinant said that the descent to Racape is dangerous. It was a fine day so we decided to go that way and it was absolutely fine. We didn't fancy going back the same way via the Col du Fret and all the zig zags and the gully and cable assisted section to Col des Aures was good. Maybe the warning is for days when it is wet or still some ice?
Finding the little path from Col des Aures onto the ridge Crete des Aures took a bit of faffing as the first bit over the grass was a bit overgrown but there is a small cairn once in the wood which gives confidence. After the cairn the path goes up onto the ridge, then turn left and very soon the path becomes clearer and has red and green flashes on the trees to give confidence again. It is a lovely path along the ridge. The rest of the route back was OK following the map and your directions though I would add that the last section down the valley to rejoin the ascent path IS brutal and goes on for a bit longer than we expected - lots of small rocks and steep and quite tricky to keep one's balance but persevere and you do get back to the ascent path a bit above the signpost. Wonderful views on the tops and an interesting walk/scramble.

We are 64 & 65 and pretty fit though my husband has one artificial hip so his flexibility isn't as good as it was and he was never good with 'exposed' walking (not good head for heights)but he had no problems with any of the walk - mind you I didn't tell him about the cables till we got to them!!

Very many thanks - Hilary

The Webmaster writes:

Thank you for your comments, and congratulations to your daughter for notching up a very creditable time at the WOC.

I'm glad you enjoyed your walk. That route is somewhat off the beaten track, and is all the better for it. You're right about the rather brutal forestry track. I suspect that it can be avoided by heading down into the pasture instead of onto the track, and following the pasture down to the start of the ascent on the Col du Fret (see the map), but I haven't had the opportunity to check it out.

I also don't understand why a warning about the le Racape is deemed to be necessary - it's a lot easier than many well used paths that don't have warning notices. I grade the route as Grade 1, which "indicates general mountain terrain, the type that you will find on any typical British hill".

Holiday in Chartreuse 2011 99
August 14 2011 Contributor: Liz &David Evans

We would like to thank you for 'revealing' The Massif de la Chartreuse to us. We were looking for a new area of France to camp in when I came across your site.

We camped at La Martiniere, a perfect site. We tramped up Charmont Som, Grande Sure, Dent de Crolles and Grand Som. Because we couldn't be sure of the start of the Grand Som as described in your notes, we opted to do the route in a clockwise direction by following the official yellow signs along the road past the monastery. All went well until on the way down having passed the finger post to la Diat in the woods near Col du Frenay I failed to find the the Sentier Culturel and we found ourselves on a series of unmarked minor paths! After stumbling for an hour or more on compass we came out a 100m south of la Virge statue arriving at la Correrie some 9hrs after the start. Your Guides are excellent although we couldn't find the path labelled 'Evocations et Empreints' at the start. Maybe we were having a Senior Moment, both being in our mid seventies, which leads me to say I can't recommend it highly enough for anyone getting on a bit and looking to stretch their legs.

Thank you again for pointing us to this beautiful area.

The Webmaster writes:

Thank you for your kind comments, and I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed the area.

I'm sorry to hear about your minor epic on the Grand Som, and I will check with someone who has done the route recently about whether the 'Evocations et Empreintes' route has been 'de-signposted'.

Website Enhancements 98
July 29 2011 Contributor: Webmaster

The Webmaster writes:

This is just to say that the site has recently undergone a major update.

1. A new route has been added to the Grande Sure (Rocher de Lorzier - strongly recommended).

2. The route up Charmant Som from la Diat has been modified so that the descent now follows the path below the cliffs of the Arête de Bérard - an improvement.

3. More photographs have been added, and most are now displayed with a width of 600 pixels, rather than 500 pixels.

4. Many minor modifications have been made.

The PDF files have also been updated.

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