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Grand Capelet: Loop and summit

Day 1: From Pont du Countet 1702m, go up the dale of Gordolasque either on the right or left bank (depends on the snow cover) until the Mur des Italiens 2022m. Go up a small scoop on the left which leads to the flat area of Barme 2136m. Traverse this flat area and go up under the Fous dam that you pass on the left (on the right if there is good snow cover). The refuge is in sight, either skirting Lac de la Fous on the right bank or crossing it and reaching the Nice refuge by a short wall.

Day 2: Climb 1: Climb to the east behind the refuge until Lac Niré 2353m. Just after the lake, go up the left side of small gullies which lead to Lac Tout Seul (2483m, without name on IGN) then to go up the crest prolonging the top of La Fous until a flat area to the SSW of this top. Traverse via the W side of this top to reach the upper part of the Vallon de la Fous that you follow until Pas de la Fous 2828m. Climb the top Viglino 2910m to the N of the pass.

Descent 1: Descend Pas de la Fous directly on the Lac de la Luisière. At the lake go the right and take a long gully facing SE which leads to the SE ridge of the Luisière. Around 2450m traverse horizontally on the right to reach the scoop resulting from the Pas du Chamineye. Descend then directly on Lac Noir via beautiful slopes (unrelenting S3). Variation via the Cime de la Luisière (D-, S5): After having traversed the W side of the top of Fous, you reach a pass located on its N ridge diagonally go up the S side of the top of Luisière  2907m that you reach via the W ridge (a little rock climbing, easy). The SE descent corridor is obvious. It leads to the scoop under the Pas du  Chamineye, that you descend until the Lac Noir.

Climb 2: From Lac Noir climb to Lac du Basto 2341m that you traverse then climb the base of Valmasque 2549m.

Descent 2: Reduce the broad S corridor of the base of Valmasque until the flat area 2383m.

Climb 3: By an obvious ramp on the right, go up underneath a bar towards the Lac Superieur des Conques 2513m and follow a scoop until Pas des Conques 2651m. Traverse on the right horizontally to a short corridor making it possible to cross the bar (~2720m) then to go up the slope going to the right to reach the summit of Grand Capelet 2935m.

Descent 3: Return by the same route until Pas des Conques. After a few metres, normally on foot, descend the NW corridor scoop which follows while remaining on its right bank. Around 2350m you descend a pretty narrow part which leads to a flat area around 2240m (Warning, do not to follow the IGN route which leads directly in bars!). Traverse to the left under the Cayre des Conques (point 2285m, wrongfully named on IGN) via a ledge to join the Lapassé dale. At 2100m, take one of the two corridors (S4, the one on the right is slightly easier) which leads to a flat area at 1950m. Then descend the right bank of the dale, then around 1850m, go right, either on a small trail, or on skis to reach the trail of the Nice refuge 500m uphill from the Pont du Countet.

  • Difficulty: S4 - Difficult (<45°)
  • Danger/Exposure: UNKNOWN
  • Total climb: 1550 m
  • Total elevation drop: 1550 m
  • Highest altitude: 2935 m
  • Lowest altitude: 1702 m
  • Extra gear: None
  • Lift access: No



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