Around the Palastre via les Richards

On Friday, 15th, 2012, with Chty and Aurélie, we went on a trek in the Champsaur, round the Palastre following the GR around the Vieux Chaillol.

Itinerary Round of the Palastre
Distance 17km
Altitude gain +1180m
Altitude drop -1180m
Altitude min 1420m
Altitude max 2278m
Duration 6h50

We woke up at 7am to depart from Châteauvieux at 8am in car. Direction the Champsaur region, an area of 3 valleys in the South of the Écrins National Parc, in the French Alps. We parked at La Coche, the old village of my mother’s parents, where my uncle Louis and his wife Christine are now living. 9.30am, the sky is bluer than blue, the Sun did not oversleep like us and it is already pretty hot.

We followed a little path with high grass to les Richards, a village close to La Coche. We stopped several times to take some pictures, the view on the valley was really nice; we could see the Céüze mountain and the Gap valley in the back. The fields full of flowers there are amazing. From Les Richards, we went South on the GR around the Vieux Chaillol, one of the highest mountains in the area with 3160 meters (10300 feet). Our altitude was oscillating between 1400 and 1500 meters above the sea level (about 4900 feet). However a landslide blocked the normal path so we had to take a detour. We needed to walk 1.8 km more (a bit more than one mile), and went through the village of Roranches.

In this small village a local citizen saw us:
– Where are you coming from?
– From La Coche, we are just going round the Palastre
– Oh, but this is a child walk!
– But, you need several days, said her husband, who was working on something on the ground.
– Of course not, she shouted to him, not round the Chaillol, round the Palastre! This is for children!

OK, thanks M’am for your encouragements… So we pursued our little child walk, as she said. With a small path from Les Marrons we could climb up back to the GR. The slope was stiff. Close to noon, half the way up, we had our lunch. Likely close to the Maretanne torrent. After our break, the ascent to the Palastre was still steep, we only joined the feet of the last hill at 3pm. The weather was hot, but bearable; thanks to the larches we had climbed in a refreshing shadow. Flowers were everywhere, small yellow, blue and white flowers, that was gorgeous.

For the last part to the top, maybe 100 or 200 meters to climb (330 to 660 feet), we dropped our bags as we would have to come back from the top from the same way. The view at the top of the Palastre, 2278 meters, 7473 feet, was amazing. The Vieux Chaillol exceeded the pike of the Clot Lamiande in the North-West, and in the East we could see a superb panorama of Les Écrins mountains. We guessed on the other side of the Pousterle the valley of Champoléon, where we were supposed to be if we had managed to continue our trip on the GR 54… Maybe another time!

From the Palastre, the trip back to La Coche was fast, 1 hour and 15 minutes, we were a bit in a hurry to come back to Châteauvieux, because that evening Chty and Aurélie were to invite us to the restaurant! Still we took the time to have a drink at my uncle’s.

This trek was really nice, not too long even with the landslide, the view from the top is magnificent, and doing it mid-June is a guarantee of a flourishing vegetation beautifying the landscape with a lot of colors. The path is very safe, there is only a little tricky part in the ascent to the Palastre, but no rock climbing is required.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: