Refuge de Peclet Polset to Modane

The meal last night was the best refuge meal we have had, a local pasta called Crozets. But the breakfast bread was challenging to say the least.

The weather forecast for today was not good, and it started raining soon after we set off. The col for the day was the col de Chaviere, which was the lowest point on an impressive saw-toothed rocky ridge. The approach was dramatic and a bit intimidating in the bad weather. Cairns led through slabby rock before a final steep haul up loose scree to the col. It was all quite exciting (type 2 fun, maybe).

From here it should have been possible to look back and see Mont Blanc in the distance, which would have given a useful summary of this year’s holiday, but all we could see was black cloud.

The col is the highest point on the route at 2796m (9173 ft) and it was necessary to descend from there to Modane (1050m, 3345ft). Initially it was very steep on shale and snow, but it soon became easier going (although it was a rough path all the way down). The weather improved to a drizzle, and phones for pictures could come out again.

Further descending led to a long traverse of a grassy slope and then the high buildings of the valley, an attractive small collection of houses called Polset, by which time the rain had stopped.

This was followed by a steep slippery path through forest which seemed to go on forever. Every now and then the valley floor could be glimpsed through trees, but it never seemed to get any closer. But eventually we were deposited in the distinctly untouristy town of Modane, where we have an attractive apartment for two nights before travelling home.

Tomorrow is a day off, but it is possible we might walk up the other side of the valley for a couple of hours and get a bus back, just to take the edge off the first day next year. We’ll see how we feel.

Looking back at the tamer side of the Col de Chaviere

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