Le Petit Tas

Hiking -> Routes > Chartreuse > Le Petit Tas


I found le Petit Tas (The little stack) marked on the IGN 1:25,000 series topo map but as with many features on IGN maps it raised more questions than it answered. From the map it wasn’t obvious if it was a pass as no path was indicated by the boys from the IGN. Denis Barberot (the indefatigable "Dens") provided the answer on his website where he described it as “one of the most technical passages in the Chartreuse”. Sounds interesting.

le petit tas

le Petit Tas

Dens did the route from the col de Marcieu. This makes sense if you want to take the pretty but gentle passage de l’Aup du Seuil on the way back but adds a long and boring traverse on the Col de Marcieu forest trail. Instead the direct climb from the hamlet of la Batie seemed more logical, especially for a descent by the Pas des Charassons. The main disadvantage is that there is very limited parking at la Batie. Best to arrive early and don’t park on private land or blocking the road or access to houses. At worst it is possible to park at the crossroads with the D30c road.

Bear claws

Bear Claws - formed by water erosion

From la Batie climb due south on a steep but good path. This is marked as a winter snowshoe trail. After about 15 minutes the path joins a rocky trail from les Guillots. Here the path climbs through the woods. It is also possible to use the Guillots trail but it is rocky and uneven. All roads eventually lead to Rome. Continue straight across the junction at 1260 meters, a couple of minutes further on the track crosses another track that gives access to the top of the ski piste of the col de Marcieu. Continue straight ahead, the track climbs fairly steeply to the “sous les Charassons” junction at 1340 meters. Straight on leads to the Aup du Seuil. Take the narrow and steep track to the left. This heads south. After about 10 minutes of climbing the path levels out, passes a water tank, about 100 minutes after a cairn on the right marks the start of the Pas de Charrasons track and about 50 meters after a narrow track climbs directly throught the forests. This is the start of le Petit Tas. There are occasional red marks on trees. At about 1500 meters the path turns to the north and exits onto a scree slope. It zig-zags up the left bank of this slope (looking down the mountain) and then traverses to the right across a grassy slope. There are occaisional cairns marking the way. Just below the Petit Tas the path climbs up the slope over a couple of rock steps before traversing to the north again. Do not climb the first chimney, there is a small arrow pointing to the Petit Tas a few meters further to the north.

Petit Tas arrow

Characteristic arrow

The base of the Petit Tas is very exposed. Any fall here will probably take you 100 meters over cliffs and certain death. In 2004 three walkers attempted the Tas without equipment, one slipped and fell and was killed. The Petit Tas is a 4.1 climb over 50 meters towards the South-West. Local expert Pascal Sombardier recommends wearing a helmet due to the risk of stonefall. Remember that Chamois may be walking above you and won’t be particularly bothered if they launch a fusillade of rocks onto your head. A climbing harness and via-ferrata sling are a good idea. The first 15 meters are equipped with a thin cable, the pitons looked in good condition. The climbing is fairly easy with lots of holds. There is then a short section up a 3 meter slab. If you don’t have a rope this is a bit exposed even if the climb is fairly straight-forward. This is followed by a section protected by a fixed rope. This passes under a tree before exiting on the ridge line.

petit tas climb

The Climb

Then entry to the Petit Tas is just after the Charassons and is marked by an arrow carved in a tree. You have to keep a close eye out to spot this. Take a 30 meter length of rope and a figure of 8 descender to rappel down the route in two sections. Given the recent death on this route I don’t want to underestimate the level of exposure on this route. However properly equipped the climb does not present a great technical difficulty.

petit tas fixed ropes

Fixed ropes

From the summit of the Petit Tas it is possible to climb to the Dome de Bellefond and the Lances de Mallsard to the south. If you have started from la Batie the return can be made by the Pas de Charassons 300 meters to the north.

Dome de Bellefont

Dome de Bellefont, the Petit Tas is to the immediate left

Mountain RangeChartreuse
Summitle Petit Tas
Distance5.2km (round trip)
MapsIGN TOP 25 3334 OT Chartreuse Sud
GPS WaypointN 45.3497°, E 05.8869° (entrace to le Petit Tas)
GPS RouteGoogle-Earth:Chartreuse
MarkingsSnowshoe trail from la Batie, Red/Yellow to Petit Tas path, Cairns/red marks after
EquipmentHarness, rope + slings etc. or via-ferrata sling
Road AccessA41 Crolles exit -> N90 to la Terrace -> D30 -> D30c to la Batie
Starting Altitude1060m
Time3 hours
Guide BooksAmazon-FR:2723453960
Authordavidof on the 2nd of July 2006
Websiteinformation in French


An early start from la Batie with no problems with parking as I had come on my motorbike. Even at 7am the sun was beating down and it was pretty hot. The Petit Tas has something of an aura, not least because of its tragic history. However the climbing was not particuarly difficult. With via-ferrata gear there is a short section that you can't secure between the top of the cables and start of fixed ropes, best not to fall here. A very enjoyable climb. I descended by the Charrasons.

petit tas

Looking down the Petit Tas

Contributed by davidof on the 2nd July 2006

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