A Glimpse of the Isère Mountains

Aaaand, I’m back!

As you may have noticed, I’ve been offline for a while – unfortunately, for the wrong reasons. About a month ago, I had a pretty bad bike fall on the Isle of Wight and have been in recovery mode since !

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Still, this did not stop me from going hillwalking for a week in the Alps towards the end of July – albeit at a slower pace. Our plan this time: two days camping in the Vercors at the footsteps of the Mont Aiguille, followed by four days #trekking in Belledone, and a chilled weekend with friends in the Chartreuse. A good introductory tour of the #Grenoble area for anyone who fancies it.

  1. A glimpse of the Vercors

We spent the first couple of days in Chichiliane, a sleepy town in the Vercors – with of course, one awesome organic bakery and one brasserie. We camped in a big field close to a farm in Richardiere, with an amazing view of the Mont Aiguille, and went up to do a few day hikes in the Vercors – a good test to check if my knee was gonna hold up for the coming week !

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  1. Lake-hopping in Belledonne

After checking I could somewhat walk, we set out for our four day hike through Belledonne, a mountain range looking over Grenoble. In winter, it is mostly covered in snow and offers amazing skiing and snow shoeing opportunities. In summer, we discovered that there is barely any snow left, even on its peak summit – le Pic de Belledone (2977m). Its plethora of lakes, however, made it a perfect setting for our trip

We set out for our trek from the parking lot of Le Recoin de Chamrousse and headed for the #LacRobert – a couple of hours walk using a longer loop threading around the GR 549. We set up camp by the lake in a hurry after getting caught up in a hail storm, and spent a relaxing evening finishing off the leftover ratatouille and baguette ( yes I know, Oh so French!)

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The following day, we set out towards the Refuge de la Pra, first stopping at the Cascade de l’Oursiere for a cold shower, and at the Lac Bernard for a picnic. Once at the refuge, we filled our water bottle and headed for Lac Merlat to set up camp. A group went up to the Grand Colon for a sunset hike, whereas the rest of us improvised a yoga session before making dinner.

 

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Third day, 6 am start. The group wants to go do a summit, whereas I choose to stay behind and not risk hurting my knee ( and slowing them down!). While I hike down to the Lac Crozet, they passed through the Lac du Domenon to go up La Croix de Belledonne, having decided that the Pic was too technical for the day. On the way down, we met up at the Refuge again for a cold – decadent – beer, before heading back down. Our initial plan was to sleep at the Lac Robert again, but we fell in love with the Lac David, and decided to sleep there. Those of us with sleeping bags bivvied on their last night, while I cozied up with Leo in the tent.

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Another early wake up call on Friday as we had to be back to Clemenciere by midday. We stop for a bit to play with the shepherd herding dogs, which, to our surprise, were quite docile, before heading back to the car. Our motivation – the glass of white wine awaiting us at the house.

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  1. Chilling in the Chartreuse

 On the weekend, we had a few friends coming over, and decided for a chilled ( but still impressive, by my standards!) hike up to the Grand Som. The way up starts in a forest and is sheltered from the sun – which was much needed on a day where the temperature soared to 32 degrees! After a steep bit of scrambling, we got to the summit and enjoyed great views of the Chartreuse Monastery, behind the Chartreuse liquor ( for anyone who does not recognise it go revise your Tarantino!), and Chamechaude, the Chartreuse’s highest peak. We eventually came back down using another path – I admit, I was too scared of retracing our footsteps down ( my one, not so weekend warrior moment) – and completed a nice loop.

 

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The next day was more relaxing, and ended with a climbing session at Jimmy’s Cliff, a famous rock climbing spot just outside Grenoble, with a few easy routes for beginners, and some 6c+ that will tire you out enough to last the whole week, before the next weekend come around 😉

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