Today saw us head west to the Chartreuse mountains probably best known for the liqueur of the same name originally produced by the monks in their monastery located in the massif.
We drove over the Col du Granier and down into the heart of the Chartreuse to the village of St Pierre d’Entremont.? We parked by the mairie and popped across the road to pick up some fresh bread for lunch.? Sacks packed we set off for the walk up to the foot of the Roche Veyrand that takes about 30 minutes.? We arrived at the base of the cliffs having traversed beech forest shading us from the growing heat of the sun.
The route starts off up steep slabs that give views out over the valley and surrounding mountains of the Chartreuse.? The via ferrata is divided into three sections with the possibility to cut short the route if needed.? A couple of bridges add to the entertainment.? The “meat” of the via ferrata is the final, upper section and after crossing a 30m long bridge you are faced with a steep wall that leads to a line of caves in the limestone headwall.? From here a long traverse with rapidly increasing exposure takes you out on this very impressive rock face.? The via ferrata now climbs steeply up before moving diagonally right to reach the “crux”.
The final section requires you to traverse under a bulging roof before committing to the bulge with a drop of around 300m below your feet.? Soon the angle eases and a final section leads to a clear grassy area and a chance to enjoy the view and take a break.
It was interesting to see the “translation” of the original French book (published by Libris)? “Toutes les Via Ferrata de France” published by Cordee in the UK.? This route doesn’t appear at all!? There’s also a rather worrying error regarding the “Grotte a Carret” above Chambery which is amongst the hardest via ferrata (graded ED) in France and the scene of numerous rescues.? The route described in the English translation as the “Grotte a Carret is close to the Croix du Nivolet much further to the left.? It describes this route as PD (much easier) and it would be worrying to see people ending up on the real route and facing an entirely different proposition.? There’s also another route to the right of the Grotte a Carret known as the P’tchi which is excellent and doesn’t appear in the English version of this guide.? The editor or proof reader must have been asleep!