2. GTM - Stage 02 : Estenc - Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage
La Cantonnière refuge
The history of the refuge is closely linked with the Route des Grandes Alpes connecting Lac Léman with the Mediterranean. It was built in the early 20th century by the French Touring Club with the very rudimentary means of the period by Italian workers, for whom the imposing Cantionnière house was built.
Accessible in summer 1913 to the few automobiles which were around at the time, the road was to be inaugurated by President Poincaré in August 1914. But the declaration of war deprived the people of Entraunes of this visit.
The building today serves as a refuge and has been fully renovated by Mercantour National Park.
Capacity: 36 in dormitories of 2, 4, 5 and 18.
Prices and opening periods: http://lacantonniere.wixsite.com/refugelacantonniere
Tel: 04.93.05.51.36E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alpine ibex (Capra ibex)
A symbol of the high mountains and their giddying peaks, this ungulate disappeared from this region more than 150 years ago.
Since 1987, reintroduction operations have been jointly undertaken by the Mercantour National Park and the Parco naturale Alpi Marittime.
A group of fifty or so have settled at Roche Grande.
To allow them to be identified, the animals are given coloured ear tags. The park staff regularly monitor the development of the species.
Siberian cricket (Aeropus sibericus)
The Estrop lakes
White-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus)
Capacity: 12 in refuge
Opening period: All year
Pick up and drop off point for keys:
St Etienne de Tinée
M. FERRAN 04.93.05.54.22
In case of problems:
contact Nice CAF
04 93 62 59 99
Park House: 04 93 02 42 27
St-Etienne de Tinée Tourism Office: 04 93 02 41 96
St-Dalmas Lodge: 04 93 02 44 61
From the upper carpark (m.284), at the entrance to the Mercantour National Park, take the path on the right and then, lower down, you will go over a footbridge which crosses the Sanguinière mountain stream (m.281).
Follow the flat path (former canal) and you will reach the Estrop valley without any particular difficulties via markers 282 and 283. At marker 283, turn left and you will soon cross the Estrop valley and climb up the other side via a long hairpin bend (m.275) over the rock bar of the Estrop valley.
At around 2100m, you will reach an initial flatter section under the bars of Roche-Grande (south) before entering into the curious cirque of L’Entonnoir, a depression into which the Estrop waterfall plunges.
A short, sharp climb leads to the long and gradual Estrop climb, where an alpine pasture hut sits at the foot of La Pointe du Génépi. From time to time, imposing cairns show the direction to head in, and progress is easy until Col de Gialorgues (2519m - m.279), a characterful passage between the Var and the Tinée with its series of abandoned military pillboxes located on your left, which can be used as shelters.
From the col, you can look out over the opposite slopes and a vast panoramic view over La Haute Tinée with the distant focal point of the southern face of Mont Viso (3841m). Closer at hand, the sizeable Gialorgues valley displays its alpine pastures between the rocky peak of Bollofré on the right (east) and Fort Carra on the left.
Head down into the Gialorgues valley, where a path through the pastures leads pleasantly to a wide flatter section where the CAF refuge of Gialorgues (unstaffed) (2280m - m.73a) as well as the pastoral hut can be found.
Continue northwards and the route passes close to Les Sagnes de Gialorgues, where a stream bordered by cotton grass flows. You will reach the first areas of larch forest and then, when the path has zigzagged upwards, you will reach a dirt track (Valloar carpark) (1950m - m.73).
Turn left and ford the Valloar mountain stream and then follow the path to the right as it heads down the left bank of the Gialorgues mountain stream (approximately 6km). Via markers 72 and 66, you will reach the village of Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage (1500m - m.67).
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