Fort Curgeret from Jausiers - Views from high places - 2550m by foot

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Friday 8 August 2014

Fort Curgeret from Jausiers - Views from high places - 2550m by foot

Despite a fantastic hike yesterday in the mountains above Jausiers, with stunning views of some wild mountain terrain, unfortunately our camera has completely messed up our memory card and so we can't currently add any photos. Hopefully the video we took above gives a good sense of the breathtaking scenery which made the loss of the camera especially upsetting.

Setting off from Jausiers directly we headed upwards, very steeply, in the direction of Fort Curgeret.  Constructed in the 1800s and standing guard over the head of the Ubaye valley at an altitude of 1866m the fort promised commanding views along the Ubaye. Ascending through thick pine forest enjoying the scent of the wood in the air and with legs fresh from a rest the day before we powered up the hill, reaching the fort in just 90 minutes. The views were as promised looking for miles along the lush Ubaye river valley with the mountains hemming in from all sides. Breathtaking.

Feeling good we decided to press on upwards in the direction the Curgeret summit at 2917m, although how high we would reach we did not know since the clouds were darkening in the sky. After another 300m of climbing over more open mountainside coloured with wild flowers and listening to the ever present sound of millions of unseen crickets chirping, we reached the first of the military observation towers above the fort. Roughly 6m across and built on rocky outcrop the strategic value of the site was obvious, but the creature comforts were not. We couldn't imagine spending a winters night on guard duty here!

Pushing on still further, now over much more exposed rocky terrain we criss crossed the mountainside with the ground falling away sharply below. The views of steep peaks all around were stunning, but we had to stop to look or risk slipping off the narrow path. After another 450m of climbing we emerged at the second observation tower at 2526m. The view over the Curgeret peak was now in view and the twisting, contorted layers of rock were awesome, rising to sharp spires at the summit. This was far enough for us today as the path ahead looked decidedly hairy and the sky was not looking good either.

After a spot of lunch trying to absorb the views all around, since the camera was out of action. From this viewpoint we were able to  see clearly over each of the cols we had cycled and paths we had walked this week. We could even see our motorhome parked more than 13000m below!  We started the steep descent, having taken 3 1/2 hours up we found ourselves back in town just an hour and a half later the time having flown by. 5 hours for 1350m of ascent and descent, not bad we thought!

After a pleasant evening and an spectacular light show from the overnight storm we are now on the road again in search of a new camera and some more supplies before we head to the next valley.

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