5-day loop backpacking  trip starting in Gresse-En-Vercors

We want to hike again for about a week. After we had to cancel our backpacking trip in Wales previous month because of the bad weather. Let us hope for better weather this time. But normally this will be no problem. The weather forecast gives a little bit rain on Monday and Thursday.  Sunday evening around 7pm we start driving to Gresse-En-Vercors. Twelve hours later we arrive in Gresse-En-Vercors.

Day 1: Gresse-en-Vercors – near Jasse de la Chau
Walking hours: 5h30
Photo moments: 3h
Distance: 13km
Altitude: 1125m ascent, 725m descent

Around 8am we start our 5-day backpacking trip, we walk via the”GR de Pays gentier Central” to the intersection “Sous le Pas de la Ville”. The first part we walk through a mixed forest, after an altitude of 1500m we are above the tree line. From the intersection, we walk to the north in the direction of “Sous Séguret”. The path is called on the map as “Balcon Est”. We pass some ski lifts. Also, we spot our first marmot.

We have to pass some snowfields. Because the heat they are very mushy. In Gresse-En-Vercors this path is marked as a more difficult trail. For people with vertigo, it’s more difficult because of some trickier passages along steep slopes. Because of the erosion, the path is a bit trickier at some passages. At one passage there are steel cables to hold you. But these cables are hanging so low that they make it dangerous. After about 9km we are at the intersection “Sous Séguret”.

When we are at the intersection we notice that we better had taken our ice axes with us. But unfortunately, we let them in the car because we thought there was not that much snow left in the mountains. Now we have to walk over some steep snowfields. I’m extra careful, but halfway the snowfield I fall. I glide about fifty meters down then a can bring me to a standstill with my walking poles. That was a little shock, now I need to climb up over a much steeper snowfield to Charlotte. After the snowfield, there follows a climb over a steep loose rocky surface. Normally there is a zigzag path zigzag up to the mountain pass “Pas de Berrièves”. But now the path is almost completely covered by a snowfield. So we climb up over the large stones to the mountain pass. Around noon we arrive at the pass”Pas de Berrièves”. We take a pause and lunch here. At the mountain pass, we have a nice view over the mountain plateau Vercors.

From now on we are only descending today. We walk through some beautiful pine forests. Quick we are at the hut “refuge La Jasse du Play”. Here we take a break and we make our dinner.

After the dinner, we walk for about one hour, then we search for a place to set up the trailstar. We follow the paths GR91 and “GR de Pays Senier Central. We are both tired. The previous night we had almost no sleep. It does not take long before we go to sleep. We have a nice view of the Grand Veymont. Tomorrow we walk to this summit.

Day 2: Near Jasse de la Chau – near Montagne de Peyre Rouge
Walking hours: 6h30
Photo moments: 3h
Distance: 14km
Altitude: 875m ascent, 900m descent

The sun is waking us up around half past 9. Around 9 am we start our hike towards the top of the Grand Veymont. The first part goes through a pine forest after that we are above the tree line. And the path goes over in a stone terrain.

On the way to the pass, we cross a melting snowfield. Soon we arrive at the mountain pass “Pas de la Ville”. Here a herd of ibexes enjoys the sun. We are now at an elevation of 1925m, it’s a four hundred meters ascent to the top. Moments later we get Gresse-en-Vercors back in sight. And we have a beautiful view of the Alps. We see there also the Ecrins, we hope to go there again in the autumn. We have a nice view of the most northern top “Sommet de Pierre Blanche.

We pass some snowfields, today we are extra careful because we do not want to make a slider on the melting snow. After a while, we are at the top. Unfortunately, we’re in the fog.  We wait about a half hour but the fog doesn’t go away. So we walk further and after a hundred meter the fog disappears. We have here a beautiful view of Mont Aiguille and the surrounding area.

The descent goes very smoothly. We pass a trail runner we find him pretty crazy running in this heat. At the foot of the mountain the Grand Veymont, we spot some marmots. First, they all crawled into their holes but after a while, they come curious back. Here we take a break that I can photograph some of the marmots.

Now we descend further down via the GR91 to the hut “Bergerie La Grande Cabane”. We pass some beautiful flower fields and pine forests. This cabin is fully enclosed. You can take drink water at the side of the building but this looks so dirty that we do not use the water. The water is also very hot which is also not really favourable. We make eat here our dinner en then we are hiking further for about 5 kilometres.

We pass the hut “Refuge Cabane de Pré Peyret”, here are a couple of French people. After a one and a half hour hiking, we find a place to set up the tarp. We have here a beautiful view of the valley where the path “Balcon du Glandasse” goes through.  The sun is almost disappeared behind the horizon, this provides beautiful red shades. There is another hiker bivouac near us.

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Day 3: Near Montagne de Peyre Rouge – near La Grande Pigne
Walking hours: 7h30
Photo moments: 2h30
Distance: 18km
Altitude: 1200m ascent, 1200m descent

Near the bivouac place, there are an enormous amount of wild orchids. These are beautiful in bloom by the sun. Around 10 am we start hiking, relatively late we notice because it will be a tough day. We’re going into the valley to the village of Archiane and from there we climb back to the high mountain plateau. The first 4 kilometres we follow the GR91-93 from the intersection “Les Quatre Chemins de Jasneuf” we take a different route. This goes through a valley with at both sides stone slopes.

From the intersection “Les Quatre Chemins de Jasneuf” we notice quickly that we are no longer walking on the GR. There is almost no path here and we walk over a rougher terrain. A whole part of the path goes through a valley between two stone slopes.

After a 3 km hiking, we arrive at the intersection “Carrefour des Quatre Chemins de l’Aubaise”. From here we follow the GR93 back. From here you have a beautiful view of the rock face “Pierre Round Rocher”. Now it’s still about a 700 meters descent towards Archiane. The path goes through the beautiful valley “Combe de l’Aubaise”, you can only enjoy it as long as you above the tree line. It’s a fairly dense forest, once we are hiking in the forest we can see the valley now and then a glimpse.

It’s a lot cooler in the forest, above the tree line it was about 32 degrees. Normally we are hiking in colder countries. So we find it a little bit too hot! Our feet feel overheated by the long descent. When we are almost in Archiane we take a break at the river to refresh us.

After the break, it is a 15-minute walk to Archiane. There is a café run by a retired couple. And you have a water source. We drink there both something and we decide to walk further. First, we need to walk a 600m on a paved road, from then we pick up the GR93. It is now an 850m ascending. Most of the climb you will walk through a mixed forest. Now and then we get a nice view of the valley “Combe de l’Aubaise”.

We follow the GR93, about a 5 km from then we hike another three kilometres over a gravel road. When we are back on the high mountain plateau. The gravel road is changed in just some jeep tracks. We are now on the lookout “Tussac” on 1560 meters. Here are some cabins, there is also at least one hut. We are also starting to look for a bivouac place. Five hundred meters from the cabins, we find a place with a nice view.

Dag 4: Near La Grande Pigne – near Refuge Les Chaumailloux
Walking hours: 5h
Photo moments: 3h
Distance: 14km
Altitude: 650m ascent, 600m descent

When we are loading our backpacks, we spot a few Griffon Vultures. They are playing with the thermals. Because I try to take some pictures, we start hiking an hour later.

The first three kilometres we follow a path that runs to the hut “Bergerie Du Jardin Du Roi”. From then we walk in the northeast direction towards the top “La Croix de Lautaret”. From then we walk further to the hut “Cabane de L’Essaure”. There is no path here but it’s easy to navigate. Near the top “La Croix de Lautaret” we take a break to make some pictures.

Now we descend 250 meters to the hut “Cabane de L’Essaure”. Along the way, we pass the mountain pass “Pas de la Coche”. We also get a nice view of the tops “Sommet de la Montagnette” and the “Sommet de Ranconnet”. We also meet a large group of young French people, hikers.

From the mountain pass “Pas de L’Essaure” we climb a 200 meters to Pré de la Font. Here’s a water source available, therefore we use the water to make our dinner. While we are eating, we notice a whole group of marmots. From here we also have a magnificent view of the mountain ridge “Sommet de la Montagnette” and “Sommet de Ranconnet”. After our dinner, we walk furter. We’ll see how far we get today, tomorrow we walk to the car and drive back to Belgium. The first part goes up and down through flower fields. We pass the hut “Bergerie de Chamousset”. This is also completely closed. After a while we start descending towards the hut “Refuge Les Chaumailloux” via  the mountain pass “Pas de la Chèvrerie”. When we are approaching the hut “Refuge Les Chaumailloux”, we start searching for a place to set up the tarp. The weather is changing, We think it’s going to rain tonight. After we set up the tarp, a half hour later it’s start raining,

Day 5 : Near Refuge Les Chaumailloux – Gresse-en-Vercors
Walking hours: 6h
Photo moments: 2h30
Distance: 18.5km
Altitude: 1000m ascent, 1400m descent

We leave early in the morning, around half past seven we start our last hike back to the car in Gresse-en-Vercors. We hike the first hour through the fog. From then it is the beautiful sunny weather. The first four kilometres, we follow the GR91-93. From then we walk all the time straight on along the tops “Tête de la Graille”, “Roc Mazilier” to the foot of the “Sommet de Montaveilla”. When we are approaching the Grand Veymont. We walk a little bit further than the pass “Pas Des Bachassons”, to see the Grand Veymont without the fog. Tuesday the top of the Grand Veymont was in the fog.

Now there follows a tricky descent. But first, we pass the water source “Fontaine Des Bachassons”. After the water source, we walk over some melting snowfields, after these snowfields we walk over a steep stone terrain with loose gravel. It is also too hot for us. Our feet get too hot in the walking shoes. When we are in the forest we take a break, we also take off our shoes. 

After the break, we pass “Ravin Des Chauvines” and “Ravin Du Barri”. Here is the walking path completely swept away. We do not know when this happens but it makes the path more adventurous. We get the Mont Aiguille many times in sight. We follow the path south of the Grand Brisou, it goes around the “Grand Brisou” and the “Petit Brisou”. We pass there still “Ravin Des Sagnes” and “Ravin de la Rantanche”  up to Croix de L’Allimas. From there we take the shortest route to Gresse-en-Vercors. Around four hours we arrive at the car.

Here you can find the gps track.

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