Le Granier Pas De Balmettes
From the village of Bellecombe (700 meters) follow the road that climbs to the west by the Auberge. You leave the village and pass by a reservoir, immediately afterwards take a right fork direction Pas de la Porte. The track is steep and climbs up through woods. At 970m you should begin to here the noise of a spring (source des Eparres), the path turns north and crosses a clearing, straight ahead there is a yellow cross on the tree, the path is just to the left and is well made up. This path traverses for a couple of hundred meters then zig-zags up to a crossroads at 1250 m (les Balmettes). The path we will take is uphill to the right (north-west), not the track marked pas de la Porte. In 2006 it was marked with a yellow cross and blocked by a small tree. This is the end of any clear markings, everything else has been painted over or removed.
Traverse after point 1250meters
The path is a bit overgrown at first then rapidly clears to traverse across the forest; it is not very wide and is not advisable in very humid conditions. The path traverses for a good 250 meters with cliffs to the left before opening into a sort of valley in the woods. At this point the path doubles back to the south and crosses the first cliff band marked on the IGN map. There is absolutely no climbing. You will start to pick up cairns at this point and the occasional faint blue (and sometimes red) mark.
The overhanging cliffs
At around 1350 meters you reach overhanging cliffs, follow these for about 50 meters before finding a small gorge on your right, climb up this, zig left then zag right into an airy wooded sloped.
Small notch right in the overhangs
Climb up this slope and cross to the right to climb some small cliffs.
Climb these small cliffs to the right of the notch
Finally turn back to the south-west to climb a last chimney which exits onto the plateau 1565 meters, a little to the south of the path currently marked on the IGN map. From here continue south-west for 1km to a large kairn and either continue to the Porte de l'Arpette by the pas de Barres or turn north to climb to the summit of the Granier by the top of the pas de la Porte route
Perched on a strategic outcrop on the western flanc of the Gresivaudan valley the Fortress of the Bellecombe guarded the combe de Savoie and the route to Mont Cenis. A haven of calm the houses of the Savoy and Dauphin fought for over 3 centuries to control this fortress.
Little remains today but foundations and some traces of the fortified walls of the village incorporated into houses.
Bellecombe and Chateau Fort
Further Information on the Chateau
|Distance||3km to the plateau + 3km to the summit of the Granier|
|Maps||IGN TOP 25 3333 OT Chartreuse Nord|
|GPS Waypoint||N 45.4606°, E 05.9422° (pas de Balmettes)|
|Markings||yellow then indistinct blue with cairns|
|Road Access||A41 -> Pontcharra -> Chapareillan -> D285 (col du Granier) -> Bellecombe|
|Starting Altitude||700 meters|
|Time||2 - 3 hours|
Very warm and sunny again today. After les Balmettes the track is hard to follow under the cover of autumn leaves however it is there, don't follow any chamois trails, there is no climbing until after the overhanging cliffs and even then it is very limited.
Pas des balmettes
After the pass I climbed down via pas des Barres rather than continuing to the summit of the Granier (lack of time on these short November days).
Contributed by davidof on the 28th November 2006
Page last modified on December 01, 2006, at 04:58 PM