Thursday, November 28, 2019

Merindol: Les Falaises de Canteduc and Pic de Faiendre.

This is perhaps one of the wildest areas of the Luberon. You start deep into the Luberon and you will cross a biological reserve, which means you should use extreme caution and not walk outside the small trail. It is also perhaps one of the most “montagneuse” areas of the Luberon. You really feel you are in the mountains. The views are just fantastic, already after 15 minute’s walk, with the winter morning sun warming you all the way up. Very good winter route also, but make sure you start early to make sure you have the daylight till the end in case you get lost.

Walking in the morning sun up to Pic Faiendre. 
This particular walk takes you out to the big plateau Canteduc surrounded by big cliffs on 3 sides. To continue the walk downhill on one of its sides takes a very steady foot and you should not have problems with vertigo. So quite a few stop here for lunch and return back the way they came up.  Equally important to mention is the problems of navigation in these parts. You really need to download the GPX-file from this site on your telephone (use free apps like VisoRando or Viewranger) to find your way without too much hassle.

On the top of Pic Faiendre.
When you approach Merindol from the east on the main road, drive all along to the main roundabout, but don’t turn right into the village of Merindol. Drive on for another 250 meters and turn right into a small lane which you follow along. This will in time take you down to the small road that you follow all the way up through the mountain valley to a place called La Font de l’Orme (Maison de Forestiere). Park at the large car park here.

Take the main route straight north, through the picnic area and further into the Combe de l’Euse valley (yellow markers). But you only follow this deep valley for 12-15 minutes. Then you see a medium large cairn on your left and you take the small trail that winds its way up this side of the valley (after a few meters on this trail, turn right). After another 35 minutes, you reach a small plateau and a large cairn.

On the map, the trail simply turns back down the other side, but we want to continue straight north towards Pic de Fayendre. You see the trail continue along the ridge upwards towards the peak, and try to keep directions for the actual summit. Keep on the middle ridge in the beginning, and you will soon see the trail marked with small cairns. About 10 minutes before the summit, you reach a T-junction. Take right here and follow for a while along the eastern side of the peak. Then at a small cairn, take the path that turns sharply left and around the southern side of the peak again. Follow it on to the western side and pass the actual peak. You are now at a small cairn just north of the peak.

Morning fog over the Durance Valley (Mt. Victoire behind)
Now the trail continues north along the ridge, but it’s well worth to take a 15 minutes break for water on the actual peak with a fantastic 360 degrees view. You will see Les Alpilles, Montagne de Victoire and of course the Durance valley. Turn back slightly and take the small trail on the western side of the peak, just above the one you have come on. This takes you around to the southern side, where you simply climb up to the summit quite easily.

First glims of the western cliffs of Canteduc (left).
Effective time walking from the car to the summit is about 1h 10 min, and you have now another 45 minute’s walk to the ridge of Petit Luberon (the old ridge road). You continue the small trail along the ridge and it will finally zigzag its way up to the plateau. Here you follow small cairns till you meet a small track road that you follow in north eastern direction in the beginning. You meet up with the road that goes all along the ridge of Petit Luberon pretty soon.

Southern Cliffs of Canteduc.
Take left and walk westwards along this road, but only walk for about 8 minutes to the 714 meter point (there is a yellow signpost), and take left here. This is where your navigation aid should come into play. The path will be difficult to see in places and there could be far between the cairns marking the way. You should head straight down towards the forest where a tree is marked. Here a small trails take you further. The most practical advice further will be to keep slightly to the right till you get to the cliff edges. It’s easier to walk along the western cliff edges.

Starting down the southern cliffs of Canteduc.
After about 25 minutes walking from the road you end up on a large plateau with fantastic viewpoints all along the cliff edges and from the plateau itself. Continue to the next plateau and this is what’s called Canteduc. (You can see from the GPX-file that we took a 25 minute’s walk around all the cliff edges of this final plateau.)

If you have decided to continue the walk down below the plateau (the alternative will be to return the way you came), the exit path is to the left as you “enter” the second large plateau. You will have a small path with some cairns, and you need to make sure you don’t miss the path. It takes the best part of an hour just to get down and walk “around” the cliffs below till you finally leave the last cliff behind you and continue down on the mountain ridge itself.

Leaving the last cliffs behind.
Only some 150 meters below the 424 meter point the path will join a small forest track road and after another 5-600 meters you will be down at a T-junction on a larger forest road some 45 minutes after you left the last cliff’s edge. Here you could choose either right or left, but we chose walking left and then immediately right in order to have a bit more sun shine on a late November afternoon. After 25 minute’s walk you joint the GR-trail going back to the car park (another 5 minutes).

Basic information:

Duration:       6h (including lunch)
Distance:      11 km.
Ascent:         500 m
Difficulty:      Difficult
Start/finish:   Merindol/La Font de l’Orme
Map:             IGN 3142 OT (1cm=250 m)
GPX-file:       Merindol3 (link to free download)

VisoRando Lien.
Pour le fichier GPX, vous pouvez télécharger à partir d'ici (voir ci-dessus) ou mettre à jour via ce lien VisoRando où vous pourrez également voir l'itinéraire sur une bonne carte:

For the GPX-file, you could download from here (see just above) or go to this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map.

No comments:

Post a Comment