The great crossing of Southern Écrins (Hautes-Alpes)

Duration : 5 days

France, Southern Alps

Level : good hiker

from 570 € / p. from 4 to 10 persons

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Very little frequented, the southern Écrins  offer the hiker long wild valleys, a multitude of lost passes and many accessible peaks flirting with the 3000 meters. The atmosphere is alternately very mineral near the ridges and bucolic in the valleys below. You will enjoy lakes in abundance and from every high point a grandiose panorama: peaks and glaciers to the north, Queyras, Italy, Mercantour and Provence to the south.

As usual, my tour focuses on uncrowded routes off the beaten path. In the heart of the Écrins National Park you will have the opportunity to discover the exceptional fauna and flora as well as some of the most important heritage places. We will sleep two nights in Dormillouse, a small village out of time, inaccessible by car and the only hamlet inhabited in the heart of the park.


D1: Freissinières balconies.
After a short transfer from the Argentière-la-Bessée train station, we will begin our hike in the suspended valley of Freissinières. A little away from main roads it was always the refuge of the persecuted and in particular of the Vaudois who came there during the wars of religions and whose memory is still present today. After having gone up the Adret de la Poua and its pretty hamlets of traditional houses we will join a path in balcony with the spectacular sight which will take us until Dormillouse.
Night at the cottage of Dormillouse.
D +: 850m, D-: 450m, 5h30 walk.

D2: Lakes of Palluel and Faravel and valley of Chichin.
The end of the Freissinières valley is home to many treasures: beautiful peaks and many lakes, but it is above all on its high plateaus that the oldest traces of human occupation known to date have been uncovered in the alpine arc. Some of these traces have been discovered near the crystal-clear lake of Palluel, our second stage after the ascent of the Chichin valley and a beautiful route of shepherds on the mountainside today fallen into oblivion. We will then join Faravel Lake in the heart of an old ice circus and our cottage in Dormillouse for a well deserved refreshment!
Night at the cottage of Dormillouse.
E+: 900m, E-: 900m, 6 hours of walking.

D3: Summit of Roc Blanc and Distroit valley.
Early departure for a very wild day largely off trails. After going up the Terre Blanche valley, we leave the  Freissinières valley to switch to that of Rabioux by the summit of Roc Blanc. From above, the view is amazing and the whole massif is visible to us. Descent through the elegant Distroit valley, little frequented by hikers and the territory of ibex and chamois at ease in these great spaces.
Night at the cottage of Charençons.
E+: 1050m (1200m), E-: 1200m (1375m), 7 hours of walking.

D4: From Rabioux to Les Gourniers via the Col de la Régue and Laus Lake.
We will go up the beautiful Rabioux valley, overtake the hut of Tissap and climb without difficulty to the pass of the Règue at 2706m. Mineral and majestic atmosphere facing Mourre Froid. Descent through the Charges valley that we leave midway for the amazing and temporary Laus Lake nestled in a small glacial cirque suspended above the Réallon valley.
Night at Gourniers.
E+: 1125m, E-: 1225m, 6h30 of walking.

D5: Chorges pass.
A first valley will take us to the Coupa pass and after a short descent, bucolic high pastures will take us up to the Chorges pass. The last barrier of the South Écrins, the ridge on which we walk offers a vast panorama: in the north, the Écrins that we have just crossed, in the east and west the Parpaillon and Buëch and in the south, overlooking the turquoise waters Serre-Ponçon lake, the first peaks of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, promises of wild adventures to come. After a last picnic with the panoramic view, we will descend on the Chorges pass to reach the first hamlets.
E+: 1050m, E-: 1050m, 6 hours of walking.

Meet at Argentière-la-Bessée train station (Argentière-les-Ecrins for the SNCF) at 8.30am.

Separation at the railway station of Chorges at 5pm. Possible deposit at Argentière-la-Bessée.

Level 3, medium: you already have mountain hiking experience, you are in good shape and you practice regular physical activity all year long. You are looking for a medium level stay with beautiful hiking sometimes accessible at the cost of a little effort. Hiking days of 5 to 7 hours of walking with a difference in altitude around 950 meters. Routes on good mountain trails with sometimes a few more technical passages or off-trail without difficulties. If the stay is itinerant, you must be able to carry a backpack of about 8kg.

NB: The program is given as an indication. The guide remains the only judge of the program that he can modify at any time, for security reasons or according to weather conditions, or in relation to the physical and technical level of hikers. The indications for the rise and stage times are given for information only.

The price includes

  • Supervision by the mountain leader.
  • Bearing of his meals and overnight stays
  • Lodging and booking in mountain huts and lodges, with full board (picnic for lunch).
  • Transfers from the meeting point to the start of the hike on the first day and to the point of separation on the last day.

The price does not include

  • Snacks.
  • Personal expenses: drinks, aperitif...
  • Liability insurance, repatriation and cancellation.
  • Transport to the meeting place and from the place of separation.
  • Anything not mentioned in "The price includes".


  • Lodging in mountain huts and lodges.
  • Confortable dorms or four-person rooms. Duvet or blankets provided. Hot showers.
  • Good and hearty meals. Picnic for lunch.
Next departures :

No scheduled departure, but you can contact me to book your dates.

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