Ascent of Mont Vial on 2018-11-01

Climber: Peter Stone

Others in Party:Jill Stone
Patrick Stone
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, November 1, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mont Vial
    Elevation:5082 ft / 1548 m

Ascent Trip Report

Ascended after a very enjoyable morning and excellent lunch at the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a gorgeously located, designed and appointed modern art gallery. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Côte d’Azur.

Mont Vial is also strongly recommended, a highly prominent mountain that stands a mere 25 km inland (as the Provençal crow flies) at the confluence of the Tinée, Estéron and Var valleys. It’s recognisably visible from the coast and from its summit Nice and the Mediterranean can be seen over the top of Mont Lion and other foothills in the foreground. To the east and north is the Mercantur National Park and the chain of Maritime Alps with its jagged and snowy peaks.

Following the Var river valley northwards and then heading west we approached on the D27 from Bonson and Tourette-du-Château with some trepidation as signs said the road to Toudon was closed because of roadworks. However, we needn’t have worried as the blockage was beyond the turning point up the minor road to Gabarel. Taking note of Nick Down’s trip report on this website we also took this 7 km service road up towards the summit despite the no entry ”sauf riverains et ayants droit” sign partway up the mountain. The road itself is tarmacked and passable by any normal vehicle but has a poor surface, is narrow with unprotected steep drop-offs and has 14 or so tight hairpin bends (it doesn’t appear on the website for nothing).

We too stopped at the point where this road meets the ridge, partly because there was a widening there suitable for parking and more importantly turning around and partly because we wanted a walk for some exercise and to enjoy the ambience. A 20 minute walk along the road amid pine trees and with stunning views both to the north and south led to the summit area with telecommunication compound, seismological recording station and on the summit a large cairn, an IGN ‘bourne’, and a 4-legged slatted-metal pyramidal structure reminiscent of the one I’d previously seen on Toubkal. The cloud was low and the wind was brisk but the panorama tremendous!
Summary Total Data
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Overcast

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