HR de Mercantour
Rugged peaks on the Côte d'Azur
|Week 10||02 March - 08 March 2019||
. 6 days full guiding
. 6 nights accommodation with breakfast and dinner
. safetyequipement (transceiver-shovel-probe)
. organizational costs
. lift ticket first day, around 25,- euros
. avalanche airbag
. transport to location
. travel insurance
. taxi retour to Nice, around 30,- euros
. minimum of 5 to a maximum of 6 participants per guide
Level C: You are stable on all kinds of slopes. When the slope is not too steep (<30 degrees) and the snow not too uneven, you can descend off-piste with confidence.
Level D: You have specific techniques such as the kick-turn mastered.
Level E: You have a very strong condition. Multi-day tours at a steady pace, and with a heavy backpack are not a problem.
The Mercantour is for some the most beautiful national park in the Alps. For sure, this vast mountain range offers an exceptional biodiversity. The Mediterranean Sea has a huge impact on the southern foothills of the Alps, but this place remains a high mountain area, with several robust peaks above 3000 meters high, very close to the coast.
The easiest way to get there is to go to Nice and then take a direct bus to Isola 2000. From this ski resort, which lies at the heart of the Mercantour, we will travel towards the sea, in a six days hut to hut ski tour, to arrive at the Col de Turini near Sospel. We will spend most of the journey above 1500 meters, and so be able to keep the skis tied to our boots most of the time.
On Sunday, we will warm up quietly, starting from Isola 2000, reaching the perched village of Boréon via two cols and a beautiful forest. The next morning, we will walk through a narrow valley made of steep limestone walls to the high Coucourde hut. From there, and for those who want to do it, we can climb a nice summit on the Italian border. Tuesday will be a demanding day, as we will climb over the balcony of the Cime de Gelas. But the view is more than worth it, as we can see the sea from there and, if the sky is clear, even Switzerland and Corsica. From this summit, we will ski down to the hut called Refuge de Nice.
On day four, in order to recover from the previous step, we will do a day trip around the hut, as this place offers tons of possibilities for great skiing. The day after, we will go to the unguarded Merveille hut, passing through two steep climbs and the very picturesque valley of Mont Bego in which, if you keep your eyes open, you can find some prehistoric paintings from around 3300 BC. Once at the hut, we will cook our own dinner, getting water from the mountain lake nearby.
On the last day, we will play the tightrope walkers over the summits of the Alps that are the closest to the sea. There, we will cross the Redoute des Trois communes, a strategically located stronghold which was used for controlling the salt route between Nice and the Italian Piémont. If we are lucky with the conditions, we might even get the chance to ski straight down to the Col de Turini and drink a well-deserved Pastis. Then, we will get back to Nice by taxi, to take a good swim in the Mediterranean Sea.
We will spend between 3 and 6 hours on skis each day. Some parts of this Haute Route are more technical than our tours in Queyras and the Mont Thabor. Therefore, this trip is only suitable for skiers with good off-piste technique and extensive experience in ski touring.