Réou d’Arsine… A hike and a night from autumn 2014 from which I still have strong memories… Yes it is another hike report from Hautes-Alpes, the part of French Alps I like the more. It had been done during a 4 days trip alone in the area at the beginning of Octobre : first night in Cerces range, second night at Arsine lake, and the last one in Muandes area on top of Clarée valley. A trip full of memories.
This hike has not particular difficulties, but it is a long one with a noticeable elevation gane of 700 meters to Arsine mountain huts, and 250 meters more to glacier lake. The full trip one-way takes around 4 hours.
The hike starts at Le Casset near Le Monêtier-les-Bains (1512m), close to Briançon (easy to find on the way done from Galibier and Lautaret passes). The first part takes place in a larch trees forest, following a classic mountain river. At the beginning it is almost flat, but quickly the ascent intensifies until one of the Ecrins National Park jewel -390 meters of elevation gain later : the lake called “Lac de la Douche“.
This lake is a perfect spot to take a break, eat and drink, or simply to enjoy the local trees and landcapes. It is also the final point of some hikers. The lake is surrounded by many nice larch trees that takes vivid orange and red colors at fall. At the beginning of october, colors were only starting but it was worth the effort.
After the lake the path continue with the main ascent that made me remember that wild camping and photography make bags more heavy than they should be… At this time I could feel that the hike from the day before and the long drive from Normandy had some consequences on my own battery… I finally arrived around the blue lake/river and shepherd mountain huts while the weather was starting to go badly. In october, I could set up my tent anywhere as the area was really empty : no sheep, no dog and no human.
Finally I took a one hour break in the tent while the weather was still getting darker and darker… When I woke up I could hear some thunderstorms with which I was not really comfortable with. I checked if a hut could be open and what a surprise to find a small but nice roof for a stormy night. A not expected pleasure that made the moment even more unforgettable.
Before the night, I managed to take some pictures of the area and hiked up to the glacier lake I found… in the fog that made pictures not possible.
The morning after, I watched the sunrise over the “Lac de la Douche” area. The sky was still cloudy but quickly became blue and clear…
I hiked many times in French Alps, but every time I think about my “top 3” I select this one. Maybe this lonely night in a warm mountain hut alone during a thunderstorm make the memory best than it is, but this hike really worth the effort for everybody anyway.
- Departure : Le Casset, Mônetier-les-bains
- Altitudes : 1512m (Le Casset), 1900m (“Lac de la Douche”), 2200m (Mountain hut), 2460m (Glacier lake)
- Elevation gain: 950m
- Duration : 3h30 – 4h
- Date : october 2014
- Mountain range : Ecrins
- Ecrins National Park protection area (dogs are not allowed for example)