5. GTM - Stage 05 : Ferrière - Refuge de Vens
Lac de Vens and refuge
The Vens refuge only has a warden during the summer months. In winter, only one room is open to allow hikers to shelter. The Vens refuge overlooks a series of lakes of the same name. These lakes are of glacial origin, they are the result of a long erosion process by glaciers. The lake below the refuge (the biggest) is 31 metres deep. Ibex, chamois, mouflons and golden eagles can often be seen at the site. Very close to the refuge, you can see the endemic plant which was for a long time the symbol of the Mercantour National Park: Saxifraga florulenta.
Club Alpin Français: Capacity: 45 in summer and 30 in winter (no warden)
Reservations only be e-mail in summer: http://refugedevens.ffcam.fr/reservation.htmlNo shower, meal included
The path goes down slightly to go up again parallel to the riou of Forneris which is drawn below in the middle of a vast meadow. Pass by a private hunting hut "gias del Bal" and take advantage of this opportunity to refuel at the fountain. Continue the ascent and cross several streams from the northern foothills of Mount Bal and Lake Gorgion Lungo.
Pass at the foot of an imposing rocky massif that you go around to the left (east). Reach a flat and cross the high valley of Forneris then join by the path the last valley to the plumb of the Col du Fer.
The slope of the path increases but allows to reach without difficulty the Iron pass (2584 m - b 35). Take to the left and by a short ascending crossing, join the wide Tortisse pass (2591m-b.35a), at the foot of the homonymous needles. Shortly after starting the descent, suddenly discover the string of lakes that occupy the bottom of the glacial cirque of Vens, the refuge of the French Alpine Club sheltering on a small rocky bar east of the large upper lake. Descend towards the refuge and pass near a geological curiosity "the Ark of Tortisse". Reach the refuge (b24-25) with large shoelaces, the end of this fifth stage.
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