Grand Som Col Du Fret

Hiking -> Routes -> Chartreuse -> Grand Som by the Col du Fret


Grand Som tracks
le Grand Som

From the car park at les Reys follow a track to the west-south-west. At around 1200 meters the track turns into a steepish path that winds up throught the forest turning south at 1250 meters. There is pleasant, sunny clearing at 1300 with lots of wild flowers. Shortly after you will see a sign for the Sentier des 120 lacets (120 switchbacks). The path heads back north across a scree slope before the hairpins begin. I'm not sure there are 120 of them though. The zig-zag up a 400 meter couloir that looks like it could be an excellent ski although route finding in winter would be more complicated as there are effectively 3 parallel couloirs that you have to switch between.

120 lacets
120 Lacets

The col du Fret (N 45.3867°, E 05.8197° - 1750m) offers excellent views over the northern Chartreuse and col de Bovinant. Here there is a choice, either continue along the ridge to join the sentier du Moutons. However the ridge is airy in places and had lots of trees and bushes to climb around. I walked down 100m to the col de Bovinant (refuge - N 45.3823°, E 05.8126° - 1625m), about 15 minutes then reclimbed to the Moutons sheep path. It is then about 20-30 minutes traverse over to the summit.

col du bovinant
Col du Bovinant with the Grand Sure behind
Mountain RangeChartreuse
SummitLe Grand Som
MapsIGN TOP 25 3334 OT Chartreuse Sud + Nord
GPS WaypointN 45.3704°, E 05.8118°
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:Grand-Som
Road AccessSt Pierre de Chartreuse -> D512 -> D102b -> left turn just before les Reys
Starting Altitude1030m
TimeClimb 2h30 to 3h30
Refugeshabert de Bovinant

Trip Reports

6th September 2007

After seeing a lot of people about over the summer it was strange to arrive at the car park completely deserted. A presumably old metal sign warned of "rabies" The track started off gently through the forest with jeep or tractor tracks but was soon blocked by a fallen tree which someone had made a half hearted attempt to clear. From here there was a path, muddy in places and the woods were dark and cold. Then a wonderful and warm clearing full of alpine flowers and buzzing insects getting ready for winter. Just after was the path of the 120 hairpins. I remembered climbing Mt Whitney in California and the 70 of so hairpins that seemed endless in the desolate scree but this trail went quickly, zig zagging between flowers and crossing between 3 main couloirs.

Mont Blanc
Mont blanc from the col du Fret

The air was chilly now and I could see my breath in the cold. The col du Fret gave wonderful views but was not a place to linger. I took a few photos and headed down to the Bovinant. Better to add 100 meters than to waste time on the complicated ridge. I could hear voices blown on the wind and finally met someone eating a snack on the ridge to the summit of the Grand Som. At the summit there is an original orientationt table made from granite. This reminded of the last I'd been here with Timothy in the winter of 2006. The weather was fowl, it was sleeting and we could see none of the surrounding peaks from the summit. Viz got worse on the way down and, amazing now given the superb clear day, we had trouble negociating across the col du Bovinant.

col du fret
Looking down the 120 lacets

There were quite a few people at the summit including a "courting couple" who looked a bit cross when I walked past them on the way down. Such a busy summit is not the best spot for a bit of hanky panky. Rather than retrace my steps I opted for the steep but more direct Grand Som crete des Aures route for the descent.

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