An amazing snowshoeing holiday adventure!
A great snowshoeing journey across the Chartreuse, an emblematic mountain range, part of the Pre-Alpes. Our snowshoe traverse of the Chartreuse mountains starts just north of the city of Grenoble in the south and finishes in the Savoyard city of Chambéry in the north.
We will snowshoe through silent beech forests and through hushed alpine pastures underneath dramatic mountain peaks. As we make our way north we cross passes opening up new horizons. At times, we will be snowshoeing through remote wooded valleys at others across snow-covered high pastures beneath spectacular limestone cliffs. Snowshoeing through the Chartreuse gives a special perspective to this area bypassed by the masses.
The Chartreuse a true hidden gem!
Above us the high limestone plateau of the “Hauts” Chartreuse are guarded by spectacular limestone cliffs. The Chartreuse is a countryside full of contrasts. The Chartreuse is known for the richness of its forests that include oak, beech and box. Higher up, the beechwoods disappear and give way to Sitka spruce and stunted pines.
On the high plateau, almost inaccessible in winter, much of it a part of the Reserve Naturelle des Hauts Chartreuse, alpine pastures are home to flocks of sheep and cattle looked over by shepherds during the summer months. The plateau is characterised by limestone karst and an absence of water, as it has all gone underground to emerge in spectacular fashion at the foot of cliffs such as the Cirque de St Meme. There is a huge diversity of plant life, including over 50 species of orchids. The Chartreuse is a “Natura 2000” site.
Beech woods bow under the weight of snow on the branches, and alpine pastures under a mantle of sound-deadening snow. If we are lucky we spot some recently re-introduced ibex in the Cirque de la Plagne in 2010 and 2011. The Chartreuse is home to a variety of owls, including the Tengmalm.
The Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse
Our snowshoe traverse of the Chartreuse will literally take us past the front door of the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, home to monks who still hold the secret recipe of the Chartreuse liqueur.
Arrival Transfer to at the foot of the Chamechaude (2082m), the highest point of the Chartreuse.
The first day takes us to the summit of the l’Ecoutoux (1406 m) and then the Col de Bens (1110 m), before reaching Sarcenas
Todays stage starts in the forest and then the ridge to reach Montfromage (1662 m) before reaching the end of the walk at the Col de Porte (1320 m).
A gentle climb to the alpine pastures (alpages) and then the summit of the Charmant Som (1867 m), the highest point of the tour. From the summit we can see the valley of the monastery and splendid views of the whole of the Chartreuse. Next we reach St Pierre de Chartreuse, the largest village in the massif.
Today takes in the Col de Lechaud (1704 m) and the Petit Som (1772 m) that dominate the monastery, and the hanging valley of the Col de Bovinant (1646 m) and its small shepherds hut. The hamlet of Chateau, the old residence of the Counts of Montbel, lords of the Entremonts before ending the stage at St Pierre d’Entremont.
St Pierre d’Entremont is located on the border of the Isere and Savoie departments. At one period the the village was shared between the kingdom of France and the Duchy of Savoie. We cross the valley to reach the Mont des Rigauds (1129 m), at the foot of the Pinet. Overnight at the heart of the Cirque de la Plagne.
We follow the climb of the valley of the Entremonts at the foot of the west face of Mont Granier. At the Granges de Joigny (1185 m), we leave the valley of the Entremonts. A long gentle descent leads to the town of Chambery.
Departure after breakfast.
The price indicated is for the group.
1 – 2 people: Euro 1500
3 – 5 people: Euro 1800
6 – 8 people: Euro 2400