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Explore the GR58 trail across the Queyras with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of Tour of the Queyras
Availability
Published
Published
18 Feb 2009
ISBN
9781852845100
Edition
Second
Size
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
Weight
270g
Pages
192
No. Maps
14
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Tour of the Queyras

The GR58 and GR541 in the French Alps

by Alan Castle
Book published by Cicerone Press

The Tour of the Queyras follows the GR58 and half of the GR541 trails. The 12-day Tour described in this guidebook crosses 24 cols, all above 2000m, with options to climb 17 summits of varying difficulty. This route is ideal for those new to Alpine trekking, but also provides optional challenges for the more experienced hiker and hillwalker.

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Description

The Queyras is a dramatic, unspoilt region of the French Alps, between the Durance Valley and the Italian border. Due to being sheltered to the west by the Écrins, it is one of the sunniest areas of the Alps and the absence of glaciers makes the Queyras ideal hillwalking country as it has several high mountain summits accessible to the ordinary walker and scrambler.

The walking Tour in this guidebook includes most of the standard GR58 trail and about half of the GR541 from the Durance valley into the heart of the Queyras at Funfande. Minor variations are taken occasionally where the route and scenery are preferable to the standard trail. There are various optional and alternative routes, all of which are described in this guidebook. In addition, the Tour includes a number of optional ascents of mountain summits that are passed on the way, but which are not part of any official GR route. In total, the

Tour crosses 24 cols and provides optional ascents of 17 peaks.
The Tour has been divided into 12 stages, each a day long and each stage terminates at a convenient place where overnight accommodation is available. Most of the day stages are not especially long which allows plenty of time for admiring the magnificent scenery or attempting an additional summit or footpath.

There is plenty of variety on the trail, from woodland glades to rocky, high-level cols, from Alpine pastures to airy summits. The Tour includes two excursions into the Italian Alps, and there are opportunities to shorten or lengthen the route as time and conditions dictate. The route is ideal for those new to Alpine walking, while also providing optional challenges for the more experienced.

  • Activities
    Walking, trekking, backpacking
  • Seasons
    Mid-June to mid-October without specialist winter walking equipment; refuges particularly busy between 14 July and 15 August; warm, settled weather all summer
  • Centres
    Nice, Guillestre, Montdauphin, Turin, Abriès, Saint-Véran, Ceillac, Briançon
  • Difficulty
    Several summits can be reached by the ordinary walker, without specialist equipment or skills; other (optional) ascents need more experience; basic route suitable for any fit hillwalker
  • Must See
    Monte Viso, Pic de Rochebrune, Grand Glaiza, Le Pain de Sucre, Tête des Toillies, Le Grand Queyras, Bric Bouchet, Tête du Pelvas, the Guil valley

January 2016

Thanks to Donald Degenhardt for the following updated information.

1) See montourduqueyras.fr for a more up-to-date list of accommodation on the Tour du Queyras. This website contains up-to-date opening & closing dates, contact details (addresses, telephone numbers, websites, email addresses) for establishments on the route. The site also allows online booking for many of the gîtes d’étape and refuges listed.

2) Walkers intending to travel to and from the area in September should note that the summer bus schedules now end on 31 August and the only daily service after that is the school bus down from the various villages to Guillestre town at 7 a.m. and back up when school finishes. It is possible for adults to  use this service, but note that this bus does not visit Guillestre rail station.

December 2012

Thanks to Rob Tresidder for the following information.

p32 (final paragraph)

It is now necessary for over 60s to purchase a Carte Sénior to qualify for an age-related discount on SNCF.

p78 (route description, line 2)

The trail is no longer marked with pink dots, there are now just red and white flashes.

p78

When descending from Les Escoyères, a large part of the road can be avoided by a well-engineered footpath (waymarked), which starts at the first hairpin below the church with the sundial.

p81 (final paragraph)

There is no longer a ski lift here. The very ancient remains of a lower station can just be made out.

p86 (route description, line 1)

The route starts opposite the west door of the church. Exit the square by the SE corner.

p96 (route description, line 13)

About 200m, not 50m.

p102

The old waymarking up the Pain de Sucre has now been reported not to be visible on the ground.

p105

There is now no metal cross on the summit of the Pain de Sucre.

p111

The path down the valley towards Chianale has been recently waymarked.

p111 (final paragraph)

The building is the Ricovero Carlo Emanuele III. The ‘sito arrampicato’ has become the ‘Palaestra di Roccia’.

p114

The path descending leads first to the Rifugio Vallante after crossing the stream and climbing back up a few metres. Climb higher still to get to the Rifugio Gagliardone.

p119

The route up Monte Granero is definitely not for the inexperienced, as the absence of waymarking means you have to find your own way. There is also considerable exposure and some moves are probably of ‘Diff’ standard. Be sure to check with the Refugio guardian before attempting this peak.

p140

The gîte in Abriès is found by crossing the bridge next to the square and passing through the gap between the houses opposite. Turn right and find Le Villard immediately on your left.

p149

To leave Abriès climb the wide concrete steps to the left (S) of Le Villard. At the top turn left, down the road and take the first flight of steps on the right. At the top, turn right and at the end of this road, find the GR58 signpost almost hidden in undergrowth. This leads easily left (W) along the calvaire to the church.

p152

Cross a bridge, not a footbridge.

p168

The weather station is on the principal, not the S summit.

Contents

Contents
Introduction
The French Alps
The Queyras
Walking in the French Alps
Grandes Randonnées
The Walking Tour of the Queyras, GR58 and GR541
Climate – When to Go
Travelling to the Queyras
Accommodation
Food
Water
Equipment
Maps
Waymarking and Navigation
Le Parc Naturel Régional du Queyras
Wildlife
Training
Health
Mountain Safety
Emergencies
Language
Money/Banks/Telephone
Insurance
Public Holidays and Time in France
Suggestions for Walking Holidays
Notes on Using this Guidebook
Distances, Altitudes and Timings
The Trek
Stage 1 STAGE 1 The Durance Valley to Furfande
Stage 1 STAGE 2 Furfande to Ceillac
Stage 1 STAGE 3 Ceillac to Saint-Véran
Stage 1 STAGE 4 Saint-Véran to Refuge Agnel
Stage 1 Excursion from Refuge Agnel: Le Pain de Sucre, Lac Foréant and Lac Egourgéou
Stage 1 STAGE 5 Refuge Agnel to Refuge Viso via the Soustra Valley (Italy)
Stage 1 STAGE 6 Refuge Viso to La Monta via the Pellice Valley (Italy)
Stage 1 Stage 6 – Excursions and Alternatives
Stage 1 Alternative to Stage 5 and Stage 6: Refuge Agnel to La Monta via Pic de Foréant and Lac Egourgéou
Stage 1 STAGE 7 La Monta to Abriès (high-level route)
Stage 1 Stage 7 – Excursion
Stage 1 Alternative Stage 7: La Monta to Abriès via Ristolas (low-level route)
Stage 1 STAGE 8 Abriès to Les Fonts de Cervières via Lac du Grand Laus (GR58)
Stage 1 Alternative Stage 8: Abriès to Les Fonts de Cervières via Col des Thures
Stage 1 STAGE 9 Les Fonts de Cervières to Souliers
Stage 1 STAGE 10 Souliers to Brunissard via the Lac de Souliers
Stage 1 STAGE 11 Brunissard to Furfande
Stage 1 STAGE 12 Furfande to the Durance Valley
 
Summary of Stages
Appendix 1 Gîtes d’étape and Refuges in the Region
Appendix 2 Bibliography
Appendix 3 Useful Addresses, Telephone Numbers and Websites
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