Colours and rain at Vercors 14-15.10.2000

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The mountaineering club (Club Montagne) at INSA organises each fall a trip to some place in the Alps easy enough for beginners. The idea is both to get the veterans together for one weekend and recruit new people in the group. After the initial trip the club has regular gatherings each week where people can meet and decide what to do the following weekend. The club has maps, skis, snowshoes and climbing equipment to borrow for the members.

This year the destination for the "Weekend d'intégration" - seems to be a popular term here - was the natural park of Vercors, about fifty kilometers to the south of Grenoble. The announced program included a relatively easy hike on top of Grand Veymont (2340 m) on one day and a possibility to try mountain climbing guided by experts the other day.

The meeting was 6.30 Saturday morning, and after verifying that all the roughly 40 participants were present and getting driving instructions we got going about seven o'clock. The sky was gray, but following my usual optimistic habits I sled the "Sunrise" mix of Astral Projection in the CD player and hit the highway with Melanie, Aurelie and Pedro.
According to Melanie this beautiful small creek is usually dry. (196 kB) After about two hours of driving and getting lost once on the way there we arrived at the Vercors area. The road featured some beatiful, old and very narrow tunnels with nice views on the side.
Time to grab some breakfast if you didn't have time in the morning. (145 kB) The club had reserved a boarding house in the village Vassieux-en-Vercors for sleeping. The others had already found the local bakery when we arrived.
Except for the mountains one could imagine being in Finland. (59 kB) Due to the bad weather the original plan of half the people hiking to Grand Veymont and the other half doing climbing was cancelled. Instead we left for shorter hikes in the area in two groups. The crispy October weather had already coloured the trees.
In between two layers of clouds. (69 kB) Looking down to the valley from the highlands at 1500 meters of altitude. The clouds formed interesting looking mattresses around the smaller hills.
On this hike it didn't actually rain too much. (118 kB) Hikers always take group photos, don't they. This time without posing for the camera.
Our fondue expert. (117 kB) After a good five hours of walking it was time to get a shower and concentrate on the fondue dinner. After finding an electric outlet that worked our Spanish chef José got into business. Sophie taking care of the pot on the right.
Happy faces everywhere. (111 kB) Everybody was hungry and of course the food was good as well, so the cheese disappeared quickly. Melanie (one of the main organisers), Nicolas and Sophie.
Rush for the fondue pot. (131 kB) Of course one had to taste what the other groups had cooked. Also a good excuse to get some more if your group had already run out of cheese.
The hike started about 9.00 Sunday morning. (106 kB) On the Sunday the sky still didn't show any promising signs, so the planned climbing activities were impossible. Instead we left for a hike to the Grand Veymont, this time in one big group. The peak is more to the right and cannot be seen in the picture.
People in the rain, Eric in the front. (132 kB) At about 1900 meters we divided in two, some decided to have experienced enough of rain and headed back to the parking place using a slightly different route, and about half of us had enough motivation to continue up to the peak.
Grand Veymont, 2340 meters. (79 kB) The fog made it impossible to view anything, but of course a group photo is still necessary. :-) The rain was becoming heavier all the time so we just quickly grabbed some lunch from the backpacks and started descending. Back at the house it was easy to see which parts the goretex film did or didn't cover...

I hope the weather didn't scare away all the people doing their first hike to the mountains. At least I will be joining the club later for other trips, probably trying out various winter activities too. I have japanese courses on Tuesdays at the same time with club meetings, but you will probably find me hanging around on several Thursdays.

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Copyright Arto Teräs <> 2000-2001.
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Last update 17.8.2001.