Le Croix De Chamrousse

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Isère (38) > Belledonne > Chamrousse > Off Piste > Le Croix De Chamrousse


From the ski resort climb more or less under the cable car to reach the Croix de Chamrousse. Avoid climbing open ski slopes and at night when piste bashers are working.

Mountain RangeBelledonne
SummitLe Croix de Chamrousse
Starting Altitude1750m
MapsIGN TOP 25 n° 3335 OT
GPS Waypoint 
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:
Grade[1]Danger: 1, Climb: F, Ski: 1.2
Road AccessGrenoble > Uriage> Chamrousse > Le Recoin


It seemed I'd made it to Grenoble for Christmas with the in-laws just in time. As I arrived a dark and ominous sky opened and rain started to fall. I grabbed my skis and headed inside. The next day rain had turned to snow, I wondered whether nearby Le Sappey had opened any lifts and headed up in the car. I didn't get far, past le Café des Alpes and the snow started to settle on the steep road. It covered a layer of frozen rain from the evening before. A couple of cars had had a head-on while a small Lancia had slid off into the ravine. I beat a slow retreat down the mountain.

White Christmas - the Gresivaudan valley

White Christmas - the Gresivaudan valley

The next day and the sun had come out, but the avalanche risk was 3. I decided to head up to Chamrousse for a day of piste skiing. The resort promised to have fresh powder. However even after a night's work by the highways department the road from Uriage was difficult. When I got to resort things looked good, but there was an hour's wait to buy a lift pass. It seemed that Christmas holiday makers had waited until the fresh snow to get their tickets. So I decided to fix skins and climb to the Croix de Chamrousse, just over 600 vertical meters. Not the most extreme of routes, well it is actually rates as 'easy' in the guide books but a prudent choice for a skier alone after fresh snow.

Le Croix de Chamrousse

In fact one is never really alone on the route. The Cross of Chamrousse is a favourite training route for the locals. They will often come and do one, or even two before or after work. After suffering last season in the Pyrénées I was very surprised to find myself at the summit after an hour of brisk climbing. Admittedly, at 2253 meters the summit is not that high and the air is still rich although free of the ever present Grenoble smog.

At the summit the wind was blowing a gale. I took a picture of the cross, magnificent with its shroud of frost. This cross had obviously survived the attentions of a local group who have been cutting down these religious symbols in the area. The snow was windblown at the summit but soon turned to powder, around 30cm on a solid base. When I got to the bottom I noticed that the Récoin still offered some virgin slopes.

Graffiti: Ski tracks from the Récoin

So I fixed my skins and climbed another 200 meters to leave some nice tracks. A kind of graffiti in clear view of the ski station.

Contributed by davidof on the 23/12/2003

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