Hiking in France: Rochet du Baconnet, Vercors

It was the end of January. It didn’t snow since several days and the temperature was mild for a January. It was expected. This winter is rather friendly and I hope there wouldn’t be any bad surprise coming.

It had been raining since thursday but the forcast predicted a sunny saturday, and they were right; as usual. Normally I would go for a snowshoeing or a cross-country ski during this season, but with this mild weather hiking was the best option. So friday evening I prepared my usual hiking stuff: a gortex, water, chocolate, pocket camera, hat, and gloves. I put my gaiters inside my bag, just in case. I also had my hiking shoes and sticks ready.

I don’t have a car. One advantage of living in Grenoble is that the mountains are pretty much easy to reach by bus or train. I went with Philippe, my mountain guru. This time we decided to go to Rochet du Baconnet in southern Vercors. Vercors is one of the three main mountain chains surround Grenoble – in the south-west. It is rather the easiest to reach by public transportation.

Saturday morning we took our bike to the bus station. We had to take the TransIsère bus line 4500 that departed at 8.15am to direction of Mens. We got off at Monastier de Clermont. This small village is located between the mountains and the famous Monteynard lake. It was 9.15am. We supposed to arrive at 9am but the bus took a small detour to the lower side, close to the lake. I didn’t mind, it was beautiful.

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The village is located at around 820m a.s.l (above sea level) – Grenoble is around 214m a.s.l. There was a big sign to tell you where to head. First we had to walk on the normal road towards the east. We passed by a sport hall and a camping site before arrived at an intersection that lead to Audiere. From here on, the asphalt road became soil: hiking path. The path was wet and muddy, the kind that I dislike because it’s slippery. I felt some sting-like pain at the back of my feet: blisters.

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The forest at the foot of the mountain is certified as a durable. Basically means that you cannot cut down trees as you like. I hope to write about this later.

At around 1250m a.s.l, we arrived at Cer du Vento. Some trace of snow appeared on the ground. The sign indicated another one hour before we could reach the Pas du Serpaton. Rochet du Baconnet, our final destination, is in fact on the crest of the mountain, so we need to reach the pas first. At about 1350m a.s.l, the ground was completely covered by snow.

Around noon we arrived at Pas du Serpaton, 1586m a.s.l. It was breathtaking. I took a photo of Rocher du Cleton, the Chartreuse chain, and the Belledonne chain (from left to right). The village was also there.

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The view was to die for. The rest of the hike was on the crest which means 360 degree view – the best part of walking on the crest. On the left, we saw the Montaynard lake and the white Belledonne chain. On the right we had the other part of Vercors mountains: Pierre Blanche, Grand Veymont, Petit Veymont. Towards the end the Mont Aiguille stood there, majestic and strong. There we were, Rochet de Baconnet, 1808m a.s.l. It was windy but I insisted on lunch there. The sun warmed us. It was peaceful, time stopped.

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At around 1pm, we decided to walk down – we need to catch the train at 3pm. We had missed the bus. The snow was quite soft, the type that I like. I walked down quite fast, but my blisters were pain in the arse.

We arrived at the train station at around 2.30pm, bought our ticket back to Grenoble, then waited. There was nothing much at the station. The sun was bright. I was exhausted. It’s funny that I wasn’t tired during the hike but the moment it finished I was dead. The train came and we got inside. I was quite angry because people put their belongings on the empty seat, but was too tired to quarrel. Around 4pm we were back in Grenoble. I got my bike and went home. I was dead tired but definitely it was worth it.

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**All these are my photos. Don’t be a dick and grab them without putting the source 🙂

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