Ecrins trekking

Tour du Vieux Chaillol - Stage 3 out of 5

8 h
Duration
Hard
Hard
Multi-days trek
Multi-days trek
22.6 km
Total Length
1035 m
Ascent
Uses
  • By walk
Thematic
  • Fauna
  • Pass
  • Top

Departure : Vallonpierre → Arrival : Les Borels

The Vallonpierre, Gouiran and la Valette mountain passes make it possible to reach the Champoléon valley. This is the high mountain leg.

After walking the majestic slopes of the Sirac, you will get to the Drac and its gravel-filled riverbed, which is here and there invaded by a spontaneous vegetation made up of willow and birch. A hinge between the Champsaur area and the Valgaudemar area, this leg enables you to reach the highest point of the Vieux Chaillol tour, which is the Valette pass.

From the Vallonpierre mountain refuge, walk along the lake and then climb the north slope of the Vallonpierre pass (2607 m) On the shaly, unstable, slopes the path leads to Vallon Plat then climbs again towards the Gouiran pass (2597 m). From there, descend the scree to get to the Gouiran valley before climbing the shaly scree up to the Vallette pass. Change to the left bank once you reach the southern summit of the valley. The path heads down to the right bank of the De la Pierre stream. Continue to the Pré de la Chaumette pastures and then to the mountain refuge. The GR follows the right bank of the Drac, continues above the hamlet of Chaumeille ruins and leads to the Auberts bridge. Cross the Drac Blanc and follow the footpath on the hillside that then heads down to the Beaumes bridge. From here, follow a cross-country ski track that goes past the hamlet of Beaumes (1364 m). By the same track, you will reach the hamlet of Gondoins and get back to the road near to the bridge. Follow the road to Borels.

Information desks

House of Champsaur

Information and documentation, temporary exhibitions. Sale of products and works of the Park. In the same space, home office Tourist High Champsaur. Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.


05260 Pont-du-Fossé

Website - Email - 04 92 55 95 44

Lat: 44.6672, Lng: 6.22795

Tourisme Office of Champsaur & Valgaudemar

Open all year: Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm and 14pm to 18pm.

Les Barraques
05500 La Fare en Champsaur

Website - 04 92 49 09 35

Lat: 44.67429, Lng: 6.06485

This trek is within park center, please read access rules.

Clic for map interaction

On the way...
Top
Le Sirac

Au sud du massif des Écrins, le Sirac est le dernier grand sommet avec ses 3441 m. Il se dresse fièrement tout au fond de la vallée de la Séveraisse. Régulièrement au cours de cette randonnée, vos yeux se lèveront enchantés pour saluer ce Seigneur et sa couronne. Vous passerez à ses pieds et serez surplombés par ses glaciers suspendus. Magique !

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Fauna
Crave à bec rouge

Le crave à bec rouge est un oiseau surprenant à bien des égards. Il vit près des falaises et joue avec les nuages, brisant le silence d’un cri bref, strident, presque métallique. Sollicités par l’écho venu des parois, ses comparses lui répondent. La démarche assurée et le pas cadencé, le crave à bec rouge arpente méticuleusement l’alpage en petit groupe pour y trouver vermisseaux et criquets du pâturage. Excepté quelques courtes incartades saisonnières liées à la nourriture disponible, le crave est sédentaire.

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Hut
Refuge at Chaumette Meadow

The pastoral cabin at Champoléon was built by stockbreeders in 1921. It was in 1972 that the cabin was restored for the first time... Two years later, the French Alpine Club (CAF) took over its management in order to insure shelter for the increasing number of hikers of the GR54. Having become too cramped, the refuge was rebuilt in 1979 on the ruins of the hamlet and became the Chaumette Meadow. The decorative stones were cut on site at  Champoléon. The imposing Lauzes stones used to cover the roof underline the effort made to integrate with the landscape. Today flocks of sheep are brought up to the mountains at the end of June and are visited once a week.

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Fauna
White Throated Dipper

The White Throated Dipper is easy to observe as long as you are discreet. It lives beside mountain rivers and torrents. A little red and white bird with a short tail, it has a fine beak, and a white mark on the chin and the chest. . This astonishing sparrow has the particular skill of being able to walk on the bottom of the water against the current in search of food. It flattens itself down and clings on to the bottom with its claws, opens its eyes, which are protected from the flow by a fine membrane and spots: worms, larvae, little crustaceans and fish. 

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Fauna
Chamois

An emblematic animal in the Alps, the chamois or « rock goat » has short curled horns. Like the Ibex, it is easy to observe through binoculars.  The goats and esterlons (young males aged one year) like to live in big herds ; in contrast, the billy goats stay quite isolated only rejoining the females during the mating season.. In the winter, the chamois need a lot of tranquility in order to conserve their reserve of fat which they need in order to survive...

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Fauna
Eurasian Crag Martin

The Eurasian Crag Martin is dressed in beige tones. It is capable of real flying prowess, an indispensable quality for capturing the multitude of insects that it feeds on. In Spring, as soon as it has found a safe rocky ridge, the Eurasian Crag Martin tirelessly transports, mud and pieces of plants with its beak. With the help of this unique tool, it solidly fixes each element on to the rock thanks to a clever mixture of saliva and water.

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History
The old landscape

While roaming the Champoléon valley, you will have noticed the size of the Drac riverbed. At the time that the valley had 600 habitants (in 1789 compared to 110 nowadays), it is said that people threw the scythe hammer from one bank to the other over this impetuous stream...An abundant workforce built and maintained the walls and dikes that retained the earth and was carried on the backs of men or donkeys. After the devastating floods of 1914, the Drac washed away land and pasture. Several hamlets, such as Gondouins, were abandoned.

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Pastoralism
Tardons

"Tardons" are lambs that are raised on mother's milk in the pastures of the Ecrins massifs. These lambs are celebrated every autumn at the Champoléon agricultural fair. This event spotlights pastoralism and assembles breeders, shepherds and the general public. On the agenda: the sale of sheep, produce market, lamb-based meals and entertainment.

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Altitude profile

Altitude (m)

Min : 1272 m - Max : 2664 m

Distance (m)

 

Advice

The route between the Vallonpierre mountain refuge and the Pré de la Chaumette refuge can be snow covered late in the season. Do not hesitate to contact the refuge keepers. NB. For a shorter leg, it is possible to take the footpath on the right at Vallon Plat to head directly to Les Auberts.