Glacier de la Martin
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Glacier de la Martin
VILLAROGER

Glacier de la Martin

History
Viewpoint
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Encountering a glacier, an initial step from the village of Gurraz on the borders of the moraines.

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This hike on the vertiginous east face of Mont-Pourri, will lead you from the world of men, with the hamlet of Gurraz and Chevril dam up to the ""eternal"" kingdom of the glaciers, where only the ibex ventures.

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10 points of interest
Architecture

The hamlet of Gurraz

Under the protection of Saint-Roch and its church, the hamlet of La Gurraz nestles behind an old moraine, sheltered from the dreadful avalanches that sometimes hurtle down the north slope of the Mont-Pourri massif, causing windows and chimneys to rattle. In 1990, the village was cut off from the world for four days. Narrow alleys, stone houses with wooden balconies opening on to the hay barns, bread oven… infuse this alpine mountain village with authenticity and character.
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Flora

The alder grove

It is a forest-vegetation dominated by the green alder, also called “arcosse” in patois. Its highly flexible branches bend under the weight of the snow without breaking and allow it to establish in the avalanche slopes. The alder is often accompanied by plant formation that grows in fresh environments such as eutrophic tall herbs, recognised by their tall plants (Alpine sow-thistle, Adenostyles alliariae). Difficult to access by man, the alder grove is an area of tranquillity for many animals (deer, dunnock…).
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Viewpoint

The panorama over the Nantcruet valley

From the cross looking eastwards, you can see the very steep-sided stream of the Nant Cruet, with the Aiguille de la Grande Sassière at the bottom of the valley, culminating at 3,747 m. The left bank of the torrent on the cold and humid ubac slope (north-facing side), is little exploited by man, which has allowed the forest to establish. By contrast, the right bank, located on the adret slope, testifies to the strong agricultural activity characterised by numerous hamlets, hay meadows and mountain pastures.
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Flora

The orange lily

While hiking on this part of the trail from June to July, scour the cliffs upstream and your eye will be drawn to the flamboyant colour of the orange lily. Ÿou will easily recognise it with its long angular stem more than 25 cm high, adorned with one or more bright orange flowers at the top. Present up to 2,200 m in altitude, it is particularly fond of these rocky terraces on limestone soil well exposed to the sun.
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Small heritage

The Passerelle des Balmettes

Composed of 4 wooden structures of approximately 600 to 700 kg, this footbridge is dismantled every autumn by helicopter and assembled at the end of spring. It provides hikers with access to the heart of the Vanoise National Park by allowing them to safely cross the Savinaz stream which is impassable in times of high flows. The footbridge was also designed to allow access to the farmer’s pastures and his herd of heifers.
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Pastoralism

The alpine pastures of Savinaz

"Agriculture has been declining for several decades in the municipality of Villaroger because the sloping terrains are not favourable to mechanisation. The alpine meadows of Trousse (called the ""mauvais prés"") and their upper part, which are dependent on the mountain pasture of Martin, illustrate this reality. Where once hay was formerly used, agriculture is still maintained today with herds of goats and heifers which make it possible to prevent these alpine pastures from being filled with green alder."
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History

The Chevril dam

From the cross looking south-east, you can see the Chevril hydrœlectric dam, established on the Isère river below the ski resort of Tignes, which is the only access road. At the time of its construction in 1952, it was the highest arch dam in Europe at 181 metres high. Its impounding caused the engulfment of the old village of Tignes, populated back then by 387 inhabitants. The expropriated families were relocated to the new village of Boisses (village located at the foot of the dam).
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Refuge

The Refuge de la Martin

This shelter, kept from the end of June to the beginning of September (providing food and accommodation), remains open for self-catering for the rest of the year. Before becoming the property of the Vanoise National Park in 1972, it was a former alpine chalet which was built from materials extracted on site starting in 1932. It was home to the Alpage de la Martin for a period of thirty years during which Beaufort, Sérac and butter were produced.
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Fauna

The alpine ibex

Threatened with extinction in France at the beginning of the 20th century (only about sixty individuals survived in the French Alps), this ungulate was responsible for the creation of the Vanoise National Park in 1963. Every summer, about fifty animals inhabit the cliffs around the Refuge de la Martin, a peaceful environment favoured by the females for giving birth. In winter, however, the majority of them desert this very snowy and avalanche-prone slope.
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Glacier

The glaciers of Martin and Savinaz

The end of this hike offers an exceptional panoramic view over the glaciers of Martin and Savinaz. Access road to the Dôme de la Sache (3,601 m in altitude), this itinerary has been increasingly abandoned by mountaineers due to the major decline of glaciers, linked to global warming and furthering the opening of crevices and serac falls. In the early 1980s, their glacial tongues descended to the trail where you now stand.
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Description

From Chantel car park, follow the path which gœs to the left. Follow it for about 280 m, then continue on the trail leading off it to the first hairpin bend. Cross the Mont-Pourri stream with EDF water intake. The trail enters the shrub vegetation and meanders. Once out of the forest, you arrive at Crêt (chalet). Follow the path into the mountain pastures. Cross the Savinaz stream over the wide footbridge. Continue until Refuge de la Martin. From the refuge, head in the direction of “Glacier de la Savinaz 0h20” The trail ends in the midst of moutonnées and moraines rocks. To return, follow the path in the opposite way.

Departure : Chantel car park, Hamlet of Gurraz, Villaroger
Arrival : Chantel car park, Hamlet of Gurraz, Villaroger
Towns crossed : VILLAROGER

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

At the end of the trail, it is not recommended to venture further without being accompanied by a mountain professional (guide). In the summer, ice blocks can come loose from the glaciers without warning. Ÿou can take your dog with you, but only up to the Refuge de la Martin. Beyond the refuge, you enter the heart of the National Park. Please ensure you respect the park’s special regulations.

Is in the midst of the park
The national park is an unrestricted natural area but subjected to regulations which must be known by all visitors.

Information desks

Place de la Gare<br>73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice,

http://www.lesarcs.com

contact@lesarcs.com

04 79 07 12 57


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Tourist Information Office - Tignes

Maison de Tignes-le-lac BP 51, 73321 Tignes

http://www.tignes.net/

information@tignes.net

04 79 40 04 40

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Access and parking

From Bourg-Saint-Maurice, follow the RD 902 in the direction of Val d´Isère; approximately 4 km after the village of la Thuile, turn right in the direction of La Savinaz/La Gurraz

Parking :

Chantel car park, Hamlet of Gurraz, Villaroger

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