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Via ferrata des Étroits, Saint-Étienne-en-Dévoluy

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In the Souloise gorges, in the heart of Dévoluy, the via ferrata des Étroits offers 2 consecutive routes. The first, Traversée des Beaumes, is not very difficult and is accessible to all, while the second, Vertigo, which starts at the end of the first route, is more difficult and more steeply sloped, and really enters the étroits for some impressive aerial sections suspended dozens of meters above the torrent. The equipment in place is excellent, but the damp atmosphere and weathered rock make progress a little tricky in places, particularly on the second section. The via ferrata is obviously well used, especially on the first section, in an authentic mountain atmosphere.

Fin de la Vertigo

Technical summary

The data below correspond to the 2 linked parts.

Departure point: Pont de Giers parking lot, Saint-Étienne-en-Dévoluy, Hautes-Alpes (05)
Type of route: via ferrata in 2 independent sections: the Traversée des Beaumes and the Vertigo.
■ Direction: north-east then south-west
Length: 1280 m
Elevation gain: +100 m
Estimated total time: 2h to 2h30 (45' to 1h for the Beaumes) and 1h to 1h30 for the Vertigo)
■ Min and max altitude: 1555 m / 1585 m
Equipment in place: excellent, 1 footbridge
Equipment required: standard equipment

Difficulty: AD (1st part) then D / K3 then K4 (2nd part)

Access to the place

Entering Dévoluy from the north, take the road from Corps, which runs due south past Saint-Disdier, and a little before Saint-Étienne-en-Dévoluy, just after the Pont de Giers at the entrance to the Souloise gorge, park at the via ferrata parking lot.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 0'

The via ferrata starts just behind the parking lot. For a less strenuous entry, cross the bridge and follow the path on the left bank to rejoin the route after the footbridge.

Course 1h45 à 2h30

The course is fully equipped with numerous rungs, 1 ladder (part 1), 2 footbridges (1 in each section) and a monkey bridge (part 2). Due to the numerous passages, the rock is slippery in places on part 1. In part 2, the steep, sunny and damp environment makes the rock slippery, especially as there are quite a few passages with rock contact for the feet.

Please note that the Super-Vertigo route has been de-equipped and is therefore no longer practicable.

Part 1: Traversée des Beaumes (AD)

Entering behind the parking lot, it's a steep descent into the gorge via stairs and then a ladder to a small overhang. Then cross without difficulty, skirting the torrent on its right bank. Further on, after 1 small descent and bypassing a boulder, you reach the footbridge on the left bank (on the right as you go up the torrent). The route climbs in small increments to reach the junction with the easy start (blue arrow). The rest of the route consists of a horizontal traverse up the Souloise, alternating between small walls to cross and balcony paths that follow the contours of the gorge.

Halfway along, there's a passage under a large rocky beak and then in a large hole. Behind, a small, fairly airy, balanced traverse then a new vertical wall. The next ledge leads to a second, much smaller hole, where you'll have to crouch or crawl on all fours. A new balcony section leads to the last "obstacle": a mini-passage between the wall and a boulder forming a very narrow corridor where you have to squeeze through without your bag. Then we see the bridges above our heads and the curve formed by the gorge at this point, the starting point for the second section. The exit from part 1 is here, by climbing to the right.
Part 2: Vertigo (D)

Follow the path into the narrowest part of the gorge, passing under the 2 bridges visible above. A 1st tricky traverse balances you on a small ledge and continues until you pass under the 1st bridge. From here, the route climbs upwards on slightly slippery rock, without too many rungs. The route then descends to pass under the 2nd bridge, another tricky section, with feet on slippery rock and a slightly overhanging final section that pulls on the arms to reach the monkey bridge below.

Cross the monkey bridge and then, after a gentle walk, cross the gorge again via a footbridge and climb back up through the vegetation to reach the second, even more incised section of the Vertigo. This section isn't as hard as the 1st, but it's impressive with its height and the dark atmosphere between the walls. On the whole, you tend to descend with your feet still on the rock, then, once out of the narrow passage, the route climbs back up to aim for the exit and a small beam to cross. There's not much time left to get out of the gorge and reach the exit point with Saint-Étienne-en-Dévoluy revealed under the Lieraver ridges, which form a long natural barrier around Dévoluy with Pic Ponsin.

Back

From the Vertigo exit, a small road leads down to the main road. Walk downhill, passing the bridges you've just crossed and then skirting the Souloise gorge, with the first part in view on the opposite bank.

Map & topo

Voir en plein écran

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