TOPO Ski Touring

Refuge du Chambeyron via Pas de la Couletta, Fouillouse

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Sous le Brec de Chambeyron, un peu avant le Pas de la Couletta

Spectacular ride in the magical setting of Brec and Aiguille de Chambeyron. From the hamlet of Fouillouse, the quiet ascent of the Plate Lombarde valley is already worth the detour. Then, at the level of the old fort, the route climbs northwards to reach the Pas de la Couletta, which gives access to the upper basin where you'll find the Chambeyron refuge and the high-altitude lakes. The impressive Brec de Chambeyron dominates and gives a unique character to the landscape, facing the great rocky barrier of the Aiguilles de Chambeyron a little further north. Further on, you can continue to Lac des Neuf Couleurs and climb to the Col de la Gypière, eventually reaching the Tête de la Fréma at an altitude of over 3150m. A final option is to go around the Brec de Chambeyron on the Italian side and return to the Plate Lombarde valley via the Col de Stroppia.

Technical summary

Itinerary

Ski touring. 1180m ascent and 16 kilometers distance (ascent and descent according to our itinerary to the foot of the Bujon couloir). Maximum altitude of 2950m at the entrance to the Bujon couloir at the foot of Brec de Chambeyron.

Geographical situation

Departure from Fouillouse at 1900m, just above Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye, in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04).

Technical difficulties

No difficulty up to the Pas de la Couletta. The ascent from the refuge is steep and may require knives (on our route).

Orientation

All

General review

A spectacular and accessible ride in the magical setting of Brec and Aiguille de Chambeyron.

Access to the place

After Barcelonnette, take the D900 up to Col de Larche. After Jausiers and La Condamine-Châtelard, turn left onto the D902 to reach Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye. Here, follow the narrow D25 road into the upper Ubaye valley. Further on, turn sharp right onto the mini-overhead road to Fouillouse. Cross the Chatelet bridge, built at the end of the 19th century to cross the Chatelet lock for 30m, but 108m above the torrent! Continue along the steep, winding road to reach the hamlet at 1900m altitude. Park in the parking lot before entering the hamlet.

Map & topo

The itinerary is indicative for both the ascent and descent, drawn up after the outing. Voir en plein écran

Itinerary description

Course

Ascent to the Pas de la Couletta

From the parking lot, walk through the hamlet of Fouillouse and continue on the main path. Follow the wide, well-trodden summer path (GRP) up the Plate Lombarde valley, heading south-east until you reach the ruins of the fort. From here, turn left and embark on a long, gentle traverse. Once you've bypassed the Replat des Génisses (see map), climb into the Vallon des Aoupets, this time heading north-east. The climb is steeper but not too difficult. You soon pass a small hut. Higher up, the route opens out into a long basin that leads to the Brec de Chambeyron. Follow the gentler curves upwards to the Pas de la Couletta at the foot of the Brec. View of the refuge below and the Aiguille de Chambeyron, which closes off the high-altitude valley.
Crossing to the Bujon couloir

Optional, but gives a little more descent. From the col, cross over staying as high as possible below the base of Le Brec. We begin to skirt around it a little or finally pass on the north side and, climbing a little more, we find ourselves at the entrance to the steep Bujon couloir at almost 3000m (40° at the start, more above). We're exactly opposite the Aiguille de Chambeyron.
Descent to the Chambeyron refuge

From the entrance to the couloir, ski almost 400m of ascent on several small, fairly interesting slopes to finish at the bottom of the basin and glide down to the refuge de Chambeyron. Pause opposite Le Brec.
Ascent to Pas de la Couletta

From the refuge, 2 options: either follow the frozen Lac Premier to the east and climb a fairly steep combe to exit at the Pas, or follow the lake to the west and climb a steep slope to exit a little to the south-west of the Pas de la Couletta.
Descent to the Aoupets valley and back

Take the path in the opposite direction, being careful to stay high on the right-hand side of the bowl, then descend the vallon des Aoupets where the snow is best. At the bottom, below the hut, slide down again, crossing high enough on the right to reach the Fort. All that's left is to glide quietly down the Plate Lombarde valley back to Fouillouse, without pushing on the poles.

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