Ascent of La Tournette on 2020-08-04

Climber: Peter Stone

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:La Tournette
    Elevation:7713 ft / 2350 m

Ascent Trip Report

La Tournette is an exceedingly fine and shapely mountain in the Bornes Massif, Haute-Savoie, noted for being the highest of the peaks surrounding Lac d’Annecy and being a relatively easy Ultra.

I used the normal trailhead to the west, north of Montmin (which is on the D14), at the large parking area of Les Prés Ronds (which is where the tarmacked road ends). A gravel road extends further up to the parking area at the Chalet de l’Aulp but is somewhat rough and my chauffeuse didn’t fancy it in our low-clearance car. The summit is signposted as being 3 hours 40 minutes away (and states that to the Chalet is 45 minutes, so from there would be proportionately less).

During the ascent there was low cloud from about 1,400 metres upwards and the rock and soil was somewhat slippery underfoot from overnight rain, but there was no more precipitation during the day and the weather was steadily improving. The route is generally very obvious because of its popularity, but there are few signposts and only the wear of others’ feet and sporadic differently coloured dots, dashes and arrows to guide the way. In 30 metre visibility there were times I had to be careful to follow the correct route and not try to ascend a gulley, animal path or other erroneous linear feature on the way up. Awareness of the path taken by previous climbers (from their GPS tracks on this site) certainly helped at one or two points as the route zig-zags through the limestone landscape. Towards the upper portions of the mountain the steeper and more exposed ground is mostly protected by short sections of chains and wires so any competent hiker with good grip on their shoes should have no problems (no additional equipment is required, nor did I see anyone with via ferrata kit or even wearing a helmet). At the final summit block (signposted ‘Le Fauteuil’ - the armchair) there are two consecutive well-protected ladders, one of 8 rungs and one of 25, leading directly to the top.

The summit area is flat and surprisingly large and sports a metal cross. By enormous good fortune the cloud started to break intermittently while I was sitting on the top, eating my lunch, revealing short-lived but wide-ranging views to the west (but nothing in other directions). I waited 40 minutes to see if this might improve but to no avail. At least it was warm, dry, and not too windy.

Descent was a joy, the rock had dried, the cloud base had risen to 2,000 metres offering stunning views over the surrounding limestone scenery and with the gorgeously coloured and shapely Lac d’Annecy laid out before.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3723 ft / 1134 m
    Trailhead:Les Prés Ronds  3990 ft / 1216 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 

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