An amazing snowshoeing holiday adventure!
A great snowshoeing journey across the Chartreuse, an emblematic mountain range, part of the Pre-Alpes. Our snowshoe traverse of the Chartreuse mountains starts just north of the city of Grenoble in the south and finishes in the Savoyard city of Chambéry in the north.
We will snowshoe through silent beech forests and through hushed alpine pastures underneath dramatic mountain peaks. As we make our way north we cross passes opening up new horizons. At times we will be snowshoeing through remote wooded valleys at others across snow-covered high pastures beneath spectacular limestone cliffs. Snowshoeing through the Chartreuse gives a special perspective to this area bypassed by the masses.
The Chartreuse a true hidden gem!
Above us the high limestone plateau of the “Hauts” Chartreuse are guarded by spectacular limestone cliffs. The Chartreuse is a countryside full of contrasts. The Chartreuse is know for the richness of its forests that include oak, beech and box. Higher up the beechwoods disappear and give way to sitka-spruce and stunted pines.
On the high plateau, almost inaccessible in winter and much of it part of the Reserve Naturelle des Hauts Chartreuse, alpine pastures are home to flocks of sheep and cattle looked over by shepherds during the summer months. The plateau are characterised by limestone karst and an absence of water as it has all gone underground to emerge in spectacular fashion at the foot of cliffs such as the Cirque de St Meme. There is a huge diversity of plant life including over 50 species of orchids. The Chartreuse is a “Natura 2000” site.
Beech woods bow under the weight of snow on the branches and alpine pastures under a mantle of sound-deadening snow. If we are lucky we spot some of the recently re-introduced ibex in the Cirque de la Plagne in 2010 and 2011. The Chartreuse is home to a variety of owls including the Tengmalm.
The Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse
Our snowshoe traverse of the Chartreuse will literally take us past the the front door of the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, home to monks who still hold the secret recipe of the Chartreuse liqueur.