Ascent of Le Taillefer on 2010-08-01

Climber: Lee Newton

Date:Sunday, August 1, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Le Taillefer
    Elevation:2856 m / 9373 ft

Ascent Trip Report

The weather forecast said thunderstorms from early afternoon. I resolved to get up at 4.30 so as to allow enough time to drive south from my campsite at Laffrey to Obiou and get up and down it before I was in any danger.

As I woke up to birdsong in the light I realised I had slept in and plumped for the nearby Taillefer as a safer option.

The drive up to the pretty little lac de poursollet via the ski village of La Morte was uneventful. A few other hikers were starting out at the same time, and the sun was already hitting the meadow past the lake (7.45am). I set off through the dense wood, following the route description provided by Petter Bjorstad on his excellent website. This enabled me to find the path junction at ~1990m first time, which all the other parties missed (Thanks Petter!). Thus I was a little ahead on my own going up the rubbly slopes towards the galcier remnant ans attendant cliff which guard the summit area. Followed carefully there is a good enough path through the rocks on the right of the snow that you don't even need to use your hands. HIgher up I reached the flat area at the col du grand van and started up the final slope to the summit, where I was surprised to discover a dozen or more other hikers. Since I had seen no-one ahead of me on the climb, I surmised that they must have come up another route. This was indeed the case, and in fact the majority of climbers were comiing this way.

The views were again very fine, with the Grand pic de la Belledone very prominent to the north, the Barre de Ecrins dominating the east, and the Obiou chortling at me from the south (the thunderstorm didn't hit until 5.30pm - I would have had enough time after all but hey ho, it'll still be there next time..)

OK I thought, let's give this other route a try. Heading back down to the col and then reascending the slopes to Le Petit Taillefer showed me a very fine ridge, blocky but not too narrow, leading away to the west. This gave an enjoyable scramble (there was also bits and pieces of a traverse path) down to the Pas de la Mine. A sharp right turn, first crosssing some rocky slopes, and then a grassy hillside brought me to the crete de brouffier, still with good views across to the next day's peak, Le Tabor. A final steep descent through the woods led to a small car park.

Note - if coming up this way (which would be my recommendation), look for the signpost Combe Oursiere. The path goes up form there and the parking is 200m further along the road, about 2.5km before the Lac de Poursollet.

To finish off a fine hike, the GR50 runs back to the car park, with only a very short section on the road. As I got back, the car park was completely stuffed with Chelsea Tractors looking for a parking space. A mixture of tourists and locals mainly swimming in the lake. However, I drove back to my campsite at the Grand Lac du Laffrey and had a swim in that instead. The thunderstorm hit at 5.30pm, knocking down a couple of marquee style tents but no problem for my mountain hardwear tent.

The next day was forecast rain so I planned the easier Le Tabor before I would have to head home and go back to work.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1215 m / 3992 ft
    Elevation Loss:1215 m / 3992 ft
    Distance:6 km / 3.7 mi
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1166 m / 3828 ft
    Distance:3 km / 1.9 mi
    Route:NE face
    Trailhead:Lac de Poursollet  1690 m / 5545 ft
    Time Up:3 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1215 m / 3992 ft
    Extra Gain:49 m / 164 ft
    Distance:3 km / 1.9 mi
    Route:via Le Petit Taillefer to the Combe Oursiere
    Trailhead:Lac de Poursollet  1690 m / 5545 ft
    Time Down:3 Hours 

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