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GR54 -- July 2012
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Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
GR 54 - Tour de l'Oisans (July 2012) on 06/03/2013 00:36:35 MDT Print View

I am making my first trip report...just so people know I really do go on trips. How do I do it? Do I really have to upload ONE photo at a time? In the mean time, here is me ready to go in Le Bourg-d'Oisans...fresh off the Tour of the Vanoise with time to spare.

start ecrins

I used the Cicerone guide. I followed the main route as described by Reynolds until the last day when I somehow managed to follow the GR54C variant. This is impossible to confuse! I walked out of a refuge, sleepless, on auto pilot. This was unfortunate as it made the last day a very tedious walk instead of what would have likely been one of the best days of the walk. Only one other issue...I was physically assaulted by the guardien at Refuge du Pré de la Chaumette.

I used the refuges for both shelter and food. I completed the walk in 10 days, 2 of which were just a few hours of walking.

Please advise: What is the best way to upload some photos? I will try to put some commentary with the photos.

Edited by backpackerchick on 06/03/2013 08:36:56 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: GR54 -- July 2012 on 06/03/2013 02:47:25 MDT Print View

Uploading photos - one at a time ... sigh

Assault: this should have been reported immdiately to both the police and the CAF, with witnesses.


Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Reports on 06/03/2013 03:34:54 MDT Print View


This was one of the most remote huts in the region. While badly shaken, I was not injured. I did not want to sacrifice days of my walk. I was more than a day away from any potential gendarme encounter. I did not want to face an interrogation in French. This region does not cater to foreigners. I very much doubt the gendarme was interested in coming to Refuge du Pré de la Chaumette to take a report from a UK national. And I wanted to finish the walk. I reported the incident to the CAF office in Grenoble after the fact. I also had photos of a blocked fire exit...I think CAF was more interested in the exit! I have photos of the perpetrator...stay tuned for my "report". I might devote a separate thread to the Pré de la Chaumette incident...with photos of course.

So I load all the photos the same way I did the photo above... like this...And keep posting to see what it looks like and editing with commentary.

Self Portrait
A self portrait

I have a new respect for everyone who has made an elaborate trip report here!

Edited by backpackerchick on 06/03/2013 06:38:00 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
GR54 -- Part 1 -- Bourg d'Oisans to Vallouise on 06/03/2013 03:45:22 MDT Print View

The photos are in chronological order. I will add some commentary later. (It is a work in progress.)

There is much discussion about a very short portion just outside Bourg d'Oissans being "dangerous". This is it. While you would not want to fall off here, I think it's way overrated.

I broke one of my walking sticks the second day. I slipped and fell on it...snap...shit! I tried to find solace in the flowers on the way down from Col de Sarenne. Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Pole -- really quite fragile.


Lunch in Besse-en-Oisans where I took stock of my broken walking stick and attempted a repair.


The occasional hiker. Surprisingly few people for the end of July. The weather was excellent.




Entering Vallouise

Edited by backpackerchick on 06/03/2013 08:38:10 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
GR54 -- Part 2 -- Vallouise to Bourg d'Osians on 06/03/2013 04:31:22 MDT Print View

The route leaves and reenters the Ecrins National Park at various points.






Refuge de Vallonpierre. A marvelous setting and a wonderful salad. Vegetables!

Typical signage. The GR54 uses the familiar red and white swaths. The paths within the Parc national des Ecrins use a red, white and blue swath...the French flag. Where there is overlap of routes, there is potential for confusion. There are no true route finding challenges.



My broken stick. A segment splintered on one side of the joint. I approximated the ends of the affected segments and splinted it with duck tape applied vertically. I then wrapped duct tape around the stick. This held surprisingly well. The stick did not fail.




Gîte d'étape le Béranger. An EXCELLENT dinner with fine conversation. A bright cheerful dorm room to myself. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


The path approaches Col de la Muzelle.






I walked during the end of July. The flowers were spectacular. For the most part, there were few people. On the weekend, there were more people. In the more remote sections, I might encounter 5 people in a day while walking. Naturally, the readily road accessible portions of this walk are more heavily used.





FINISHED. I would not put this walk high on my list. I finished it because I started it. There IS some beautiful scenery. Some fantastic days.

Out of commission for 18 months with a very difficult thoracic spine injury and then a long illness, I had set aside 2 weeks to walk the Tour of the Vanoise, an absolutely brilliant walk! (I will post some things from that walk too.) I finished the Vanoise in 1 week. I was thrilled that I could do this again. I realized that I had time to do the GR54 as well. So this walk was a bonus.

Edited by backpackerchick on 06/03/2013 08:42:00 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
A Few Gear Notes on 06/03/2013 07:52:18 MDT Print View

Guide Book: Reynolds (Cicerone)
Map: Rando A6 Ecrins
Compass (carried, not used)

I used the refuges and gites so I did not carry much. I will make a few notes here. I will try to answer any questions. I feel like I could have survived a night out in the cold with my gear in an emergency. I didn't notice the weight of my pack.

Shoes: Saucony Peregrine 2
Sock: Smartwool PhD outdoor light quarter sock x3
Gore Bike Wear Gore-tex socks -- I used these heavily on the glaciers in the Vanoise the week before. I don't think I used them on this walk. I wear them over my my wool sock. I can tuck my pants into them.

Sticks: Black Diamond Ultra light z-poles -- snapped one falling against it.
Pack: Osprey Talon 33. Not filled anywhere near capacity.

Pants: lululemon Studio pant/Lululemon Camp pant (whichever not used in day, worn at night)
Shirt: Ibex Indie Half zip hoody
Panties: Patagonia Barely Hipster, Ibex boy short (whichever I didn't use in the day, I used at night)
Bra: Nike Pro Racerback
Hat: Patagonia Bucket -- very light from several years ago (the newer versions are heavier material)
Patagonia Sun Glove -- doesn't sufficiently cover thumb

Note: I cover the skin instead of using sunscreen. Cooler and cleaner.

Rain Gear: Mountain Hardwear Stretch Cohesion Jacket, Mountain Hardwear Stretch Cohesion Pants, Mammut DryTech shell mitts

Insulation: Patagonia Ultralight Down Sweater -- must have left it in a hotel room in grenoble, arrived home without it
Smartwoool Microweight long bottoms and long sleeve half zip T-neck
T shirt -- Icebreaker Tech T
Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Glove
Icebreaker 200 double layer beanie
Half UV Buff

Patagonia Barely Bra -- not the new ones! I think they were designed by a man.
Crocs Cleo II -- Never again. Used in refuges and for lunch breaks. Probably most serious risk faced on trip! I will carry the weight of the classic croc even if it IS heavier than my hiking shoes.

Rab Silk Mummy liner

Camera -- Panasonic Lumix ZS10 -- thought walk would be more technical so wanted small one handed camera. Wish I had taken LX5. Nothing remotely technical on GR 54 in summer.
Gorilla pod -- the thin one

First Aid Kit (incl. sturdy reflective survival bag and a "Mega Warmer")

I think that's about the top of my head. I have weights on this stuff if you want a weight on an item.

Edited by backpackerchick on 06/04/2013 21:23:42 MDT.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
GR54 on 06/03/2013 08:51:30 MDT Print View

Thanks for the TR and pictures, a nice adventure.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
GR54 -- July 2012 on 06/03/2013 09:11:04 MDT Print View

Wonderful photos, Hartley, thanks for the trip report.

Glad to hear you were able to take care of yourself and get out of a bad situation!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Thanks on 06/03/2013 09:14:51 MDT Print View

For the time of doing the TR. especially like that it is an international location that I can add to my growing list. Lets see some more!

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Trip Reports on 06/03/2013 09:51:34 MDT Print View

You can do all the text of the report in a separate word program, note the pics you want to place in the text and where, then paste the whole thing on the site, then go through and insert the pics where you marked them in the text. This way you can edit the whole report at your leisure. Inserting the pics is the tedious part.

Nice trip in a beautiful country.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
GR 54 - Tour de l'Oisans on 06/03/2013 17:51:40 MDT Print View

Thank you for the nice comments. It's a pretty rough attempt. Thanks for the advice on using this format.

I need to get the photos from my phone and my camera in the same album/project/whatever and then order them chronologically so I can figure out where the photos were taken!

I'll work on it.

I will post some photos of the Vanoise soon. IMO, that should be at the top of everyone's list.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
GR 54 - Tour de l'Oisans on 06/05/2013 19:50:32 MDT Print View

Thank you for the nice comments. It's a pretty rough attempt. Thanks for the advice on using this format.

I need to get the photos from my phone and my camera in the same album/project/whatever and then order them chronologically so I can figure out where the photos were taken!

I'll work on it.

I will post some photos of the Vanoise soon. IMO, that should be at the top of everyone's list.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Mini Report on Vanoise Walk on 06/11/2013 19:13:30 MDT Print View

I did another walk, finishing a couple days before I started the GR 54. Tour of the Vanoise (Figure 8 as detailed by Kev Reynolds).


A plug for an AMAZING walk!!!