June 2019. My cousin and I went back to French Aps for my traditional late spring “lonely” trip in mountains. Like every year I had to deal with the snow level in some mountains ranges to find the three hikes and wild camps we could do. The first of these three ones was the Bramant lake which is located on the way to the Etendard glacier and very close to Etendard refuge (followed the Goléon lake and the Thabor / Sainte-Marguerite lakes).
The path that leads to the lake starts at the Col de la Croix de Fer road pass and follow a large mountain road for a hike of about 1h30/2h, depending on your level and weather conditions. Mid-june, it took us two hours to reach the lake, thanks to our heavy bags and some big snow packs on the last part of the trail.
The view from the lake is really nice, especially because of the Glacier that seems to dominate the area. But I have to admit that this hike and the landscape around the lake and the refuge are not the best I know in the Alps : you will find around the refuge some large mountains trails and a lot of skiing remains that gives a “not so wild ” taste to the place.
This said, we still spent a nice night here. Very cold but nice. And we had the surprise to be awakened around 3am by my dog who was afraid of seeing headlights and people skiing on the remaining snow slopes at that time of the night. Indeed it seems that during spring or early summer week-ends many local guys do the hike by night to use the cold morning snow to reach the Etendard glacier.
Another thing to know about this hike: it seems to be a “busy one”. We met on our way back a lot of people going up for the day (it was sunday) so I can imagine in summer that is could be a little bit “crowded” sometimes for this kind of altitude. It also possible to go back by the Saint-Sorlin-d’Arves ski slopes. It will give you the opportunnity to enjoy the view on the three famous local peaks called Aiguilles d’Arves, and at the end before the return to the cark park you will discover one of the most beautiful lakes of the Alps : the easy but lovely Guichard lake (I will write a post about it in the future). We did our way back by the same way, but went up in the morning to enjoy the view to the Arves needles at the mountain pass called Col Nord des Lacs.
To conclude I would say that if you look for wild landscapes and solitude in high altitude, there are plenty of better hikes to do. But if you have kids and want to make them enjoy a easy hike, a lake at more than 2400m high and a drink or a meal in a mountain refuge the Bramant lake can be added to your “to do” list.
- Departure : Col de la Croix de Fer
- Altitudes : 2067m (col), 2448m (lake)
- Elevation gain : 381m
- Duration : 1h30/2h00 (depending on the snow)
- Date : june 2019
- Mountain range : Grandes Rousses
- Outside any park