If there was only one to pick, it would be this one. Leave Ailefroide and Pré de Madame Carle and their so particular atmosphere to rise up under Pelvoux Mount. Hesitate for a while between Black Glacier and White Glacier to finally go up along the torrent that seems to come out directly from the Glacier. As one reaches the Glacier Blanc refuge, the view gets wider, on one side on the narrow valley of Ailefroide, and on the other side on the White Glacier. Just before reaching the refuge, just turn over to observe the Tuckett’s lake, reflecting the Pelvoux Mount and the summits of Ailefroide.
Dormillouse is an intimate hamlet, superbly installed on yet inhospitable steeps, witness of the knowledge on the mountains its founders had. One rises up between cliffs and torrents, at the end of a preserved valley and the enter of the Ecrins National Park. At the summit, it’s hard to know where to look, between the long valley of Freissinières and the amazing jewel that Chichin valley is.
Early birds take note, this hike is made for you! Starting from Ailefroide, the walk up to Clapouse hump is the perfect occasion to observe some chamois in this perched little valley where firns can last until the end of summer. Familial and very accessible, this hike alternates between rising up under larches and ingenious crossing of little ravines. This is the perfect hike to discover the fresh air of this little valley that is hides itself from view for a long time.
Calm, waterfalls, lakes and wild animals? What can we ask more than the lakes of Palluel and Faravel aren’t already offering? Starting from the edge of Freissinière’s valley, the rise up is firstly peaceful under larches, then reaches progressively the glacial cirque where the Faravel’s lake takes place and where the glacier let some superb lapies. With a bit of energy, one goes again on the path giving an incredible view on Dormillouse’s hamlet, and ends up on Palluel’s lake and its curiosity: a cairn fields, progressively constructed by hikers.
When one arrives in Chambran’s hamlet, it’s almost hard to continue, considering how heavenly the little valley is, with waterfalls and sheep herd. But one finally finds some energy to walk up, towards the recognizable summit of Cucumelle, before the path goes on the left. While rising up, behind us stand the slopes of Pelvoux and Puy-Saint-Vincent, and behind them the snowy summits of Dormillouse. Until the end, the lake and its milky waters are hidden. This lake stays under ice and snow for a long time, and one can sometimes see the glacier of Seguret Foran from it.
Under Mount Pelvoux is hidden an unexpected treasure, a hamlet dissimulated by larches: Ailefroide. This hamlet is accessible through a very easy path in a very luminous forest, going along the Ailefroide’s gorge, then goes on the right side. At the end of the path, looking in the forest, some colour spot appears on big rock blocks: it’s a foretaste of the hamlet’s soul: the climbers. Here, one lives mountain, goes to shop with harness on hips, and on the main road, people discuss about today’s ascent, ice axe in hand.
A familial hike to make discover to everyone the particular atmosphere of a high mountain refuge, under the summits of Bans and Pike Bonvoisin. At the end of the cold valley of Entre-Aigues, the path follows the torrent of Bans all along, firstly next to meanders bordered by larches, then rises up in the little glacial valley, where the refuge is located. At the end there is a warm atmosphere under the sun and you can enjoy the view on Onde’s torrent and Aiglière summit.
To discover a heavenly valley and enrich one’s knowledge on local flora? That is exactly what this full going down itinerary is proposing. Starting from Puy-Saint-Vincent 1600 and going along a balcony track over Vallouise’s valley, the path reaches the warm hamlet of Narreyroux, it’s refreshing torrent and flowered fields. Points of view are various and numerous, don’t forget your binoculars!
Under one of the most mythical summits of French alpinism stands the Pelvoux’s refuge, located at 2700 meters high. The first part of the walk is pleasant around the Ailefroide’s camping, following the torrent of Celse Nière, before attacking a steeper but regular path towards the refuge, facing the summits of La Blanche and the Clapouse Pike. Finally arrived, one can enjoy the specific ambiance of a refuge, and the museum installed in the former building of Lemercier’s refuge.
Highest point of the mythical GR54, the col of Aup Martin is a demanding one, especially during the rise up on schistose steeps. The walk is firstly cool along the torrent of Sell, asking sometimes to pass some persistent firns. Then as the view is getting wider and the last alpine pastures and the hut of Jas Lacroix are passed, the steep gets stronger and the atmosphere is more and more mineral. At the summit of the col, it’s hard to know where to look at, between the valley of Selle and the one of Fournel, unless the sublime summits of Dormillouse gets all our attention.
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