Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sisteron: Les Monges - from Baudinard with Lac des Monges


Western face of Les Monges
Les Monges (2,115 meters) attracts walkers from all directions, and the best walk for the top of Les Monges is in my opinion still the walk published on this blog 03.07.2013, called the ultimate Crete walk (from Authon). The main attraction with that walk is that you stay up on the Crete for most of the day and up/down the Crete is quite strait forward.


This walk explores the northern ridges and slopes of Les Monges and have the advantage of visiting the lovely Lac des Monges on the way down. It’s quite a long walk, but it could easily be shorten down by dropping the actual top of Les Monges (saves you an hours walk there and back) and you could do a short cut from the La Sapie Ruins in south east direction, taking the small path directly for the Ridge at around the 1743 meter point (see map).


Northern ridge and Les Monges in the background
You take the No 23 Exit (Sisteron North) from the A51 Motorway and follow for La Motte-du-Caire. You soon get on the D951 road (still for La Motte), but make sure you get off this road only 4 km before La Motte. You turn right onto D1 for Clamensane and 3.5km after passing through Clamensane, you take the small D751 road for Reynier. It takes about 10 minutes up to Reynier, but you need to drive on another 10 minutes to Baudinard, a total of about 1.5 hours’ drive from Pertuis. If you have problems parking at Baudinard, turn back and park at the “bottom” where the road did a 360 degrees turn at the 1057 meter point (see map).


The walk starts going straight south from Baudinard on a red marked trail for La Sapie and Le Crete, and after about 20 minutes you see the farm situated on a large slope of fields. You turn sharp right off the road a few hundred meters before the farm house and follow the red markings out of the fields and into the sloping woodland. It takes about another 45 minutes to the La Sapie ruins, where the red path takes right and follows an easterly direction. The red markings becomes more scattered and old, but you just follow the path and the map. After some 30 minutes, you are just below the La Sapie Col at 1744 meters, and here the path turns left upwards for the top of the mountain ridge, which you reach in less than 10 minutes.


Les Monges: The top.
Now you have a fantastic 360 degrees view, which you will have with you for another 2 hours plus your lunch time. You see all the neighbouring mountains close by and a  large range of the Alpes in the north. When you get to about the 1743 meter point on the Ridge, you see a path coming up gradually joining the Crete around here. This is the short cut one can take to reach the Ridge a good 30 minutes faster going directly from the La Sapie Ruins.


After 1 hours walk along the ridge from the 1743 meters point, you get to Crete du Rause at 1915 meters, where there is a large signpost. Here you could decide to drop the 60 minutes up to the top (and back). You have about 2.5 effective hours walk back to Baudinard via Lac des Monges. But if you have time to walk up to the top, you will be well rewarded with strange mountains and rock formations, and large green areas, some in shelter from the wind.


Lac de Monges
The walk down from the mountain takes incredible long because of the way the path has been constructed, but it’s a very nice walk and very easy going for a path that could have been much steeper. You see the lake on your left after about 1h 20 minutes. You should take a short rest here on the western end of the lake before starting the last “lap” of the walk, which could be quite steep in places. No real problems, however; the path are also meant for horses, though I doubt you will meet any. You see the yellow signpost for Baudinard at the western end of the lake going straight down the mountain side, passing a natural “source” after a short time. You should recon on a good hour down to Baudinard, unless you have a very steady foot going downhill.




Basic information:

Duration:       7h (including total of 1h stops, which might not suffice)
Distance:      18 km.
Ascent:         1000 m (accumulated)
Difficulty:      Moderate (but a long hard walk unless using short-cuts)
Start/finish:   Baudinard (see driving instructions from Motorway)
Map:             IGN 3339 ET



Some of the views of the Alpes.


View of the Alpes from the top of Les Monges



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