Up to Mont Thabor

Why is it, that the first day is always the hardest?

So i scored a car ride thru (blablacar.com) all the way up to Valfréjus, as i would arrive there around 3 in the afternoon, i decided to skip the first 2 hours hiking up from Modane to Valfréjus. The guide book said the trek up to Refuge du Mont Thabor from Modane would take 6 hours, and i didn’t want to hike the last km in darkness.

It was strange to get into the center of Valfréjus, there was almost no people around and loudspeakers, hanging from poles around the town square, where blasting 90’ies techno music. I quickly rearranged everything in my backpack and filled my water bottles form a fountain, then followed the road up thru the small town.

Easy walking on gravel road

The path continues on the other side of the stream, and goes parallel to the road up to the trail head and parking spot, from here on it’s on gravel road, withs turnes quite steep right after the parking lot. the weather is nice, a few clouds but no rain in sight, the climbing is hard as i’m passing 2000hm, i’m not used to the hight and i’m struggling to catch my breath every now and then. i pass the treeline and the landscape shows itself in the best way, it’s breath taking!

i need to be at the refuge before nightfall, so i push on, i plan to camp by one of the lakes behind the refuge, but i don’t know if it possible, i hope so!

yeah.. but that’s not the refuge, it’s way further up below the peaks

there are several places to pitch a tent on the way up, to the Col but this is an area with a lot of cows and farming!

I reach Col de la Vallée Étroite in under 3 hours, way faster than expected, but i’m also tired and hungry now. The refuge is 10min from the col, and the trail is super nice, so i enjoy it and the view fullly. the first lake isn’t the best place to camp, but at the second theres a nice flat grass area right next to the lake, it’s an fine spot, and it out of the worst wind, but there isn’t a cool view, only the majestic mountains behind me 😉

Col de la Vallée Étroite, 2434m

Just after i have pitched the tent it starts to rain, but only a bit. i have some dinner while waiting for the rain to stop again. it’s only half past 6 så i go out to check my surroundings. theres actually several spots for som fine camping in this area, and if the weather i good you can pitch your tent right on the edge and have a grand view of the valley.

I’m super exited to test my new sleeping bag, it is actually a quilt, meaning that there isn’t a hood on it, and i can open it up and use it as a blanket if it gets to hot. it is super nice and i’m toasty all thru the night. i’m a bit sickish and don’t sleep very well, in the morning i have a massive headache and nausea, i think it’s the elevation! a little height sickness maybe?

Out of the wind, but not the greatest view

View form a small col 50m form my tent, the refuge is just below the ridge where the trail exit’s the image