Col des Fours
Without too much effort this route allows you to immerse yourself in the high mountains, to walk on the snow and to redefine the contours of the ancient glaciers of which only the traces remain. Marvel at the arctic-alpine plants which bloom where the ice has retreated. The view of the pass is one of the most beautiful in the Vanoise National Park and the icing on the cake.
Coming from Bonneval-sur-Arc, on the D902 road, in the direction of the Col de l’Iseran, the departure point is located at the Pont de la Neige car park at 2,530 m. From there, take the only path towards the South South-West. Very quickly, 100 m further on, leave the trail that leads down to the left in the direction of Bonneval-sur-Arc and take the trail on the right which climbs into the coomb and crosses through the Illards stream. The path is well marked towards an altitude of 2,700 m. It then approaches an area corresponding to the old Jave glacier where a great névé persists into the early summer. Ÿou then have to follow the tracks in the snow until an obvious pass (not named on the IGN maps)... If you happen to be the first to pass, you will have to trace your steps taking care when moving through the snowy terrain. At the end of summer, the snow disappears leaving a path marked by cairns among the scree. From the pass you discover the Lac du Grand Fond and the path becomes visible again on the right climbing the last 50 metres of incline, up to the Col des Fours at 2,976 m in altitude. The descent follows the same route.
- Departure : Pont de la Neige, Bonneval-sur-Arc
- Arrival : Pont de la Neige, Bonneval-sur-Arc
- Towns crossed : BONNEVAL-SUR-ARC
Access and parking
From Bonneval-sur-Arc take the D902 road in the direction of the Col de l´Iseran. Before the Pass, the departure point is located at the Pont de la Neige car park at 2,530 m in altitude.
4 points of interest
Labrador tiger mothWith luck, the attentive observer may be able to detect, in the short grasses, beyond the Pont de la Neige, a unique moth with black and white zebra stripes, known as the Labrador tiger moth (Grammia quenseli). This Arctiidae, found all over the world located around the polar circle ... and at high-altitude in the Alps, is a Boreo-Alpine species. An adult lives for only one to two weeks and has one essential mission: to reproduce. The caterpillar will take at least two years before it pupates.
Androsace alpinaWhen the snows are gone and sometimes late in the summer, the scree and moraines around the Lac des Fours are adorned with dense mounds of small pink or white alpine rock-jasmine flowers (Androsace alpina). These densely packed rare and protected flowers are an adaptation to the intense cold prevailing at these altitudes. Androsace alpina is endemic to the Alpine arc.
Lac des FoursSet into the Grand Fond valley under the Col des Fours are some real gems: the Lac des Fours (not named by the IGN [French National Geographic Institute]) is a glacial lake which culminates at 2,899 metres. It is the result of the erosion created by the Fond glacier which retreated to leave a frontal moraine acting as a natural barrier and thereby creating this pretty lake often covered in snow and ice at the beginning of summer.
Col des Fours"The Col des Fours, at 2,976 m in altitude, lets visitors experience a high wire, balancing between Maurienne and Tarentaise. There, in the thin air, the view takes us south to the glaciers in close proximity to the Albaron and the Ciamarella while in the other direction are the eye-catching Mont-Pourri and the distant Mont Blanc massif. Number enthusiasts will be able to display a ""3000"" in their logbook by easily climbing the Point des Fours one cable from the eponymous pass."