Ascent of Catogne on 2017-07-19

Climber: Denise Mclellan

Others in Party:Richard Mclellan -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:8524 ft / 2598 m

Ascent Trip Report

The ascent of Le Catogne is straightforward but steep and affords superb views from the summit.

The route starts at Champex Lac, which is south of Martigny, Switzerland. Champex Lac is on the Tour de Mont Blanc route, which means there are lots of English walkers, a useful small supermarket, bars, restaurants, hotels, a pretty lake with pedalos. We camped at the pleasant, terraced Les Rocailles campsite just up from ( NW of) the lake on the main road.( We started at the campsite at 07:40 am.

The path starts to the north of the lake. Follow the main road NW up past the lake and Les Rocailles campsite and turn right at the fork, signposted Jardin Alpin ( This is before you get to La Preya lift station.) Follow zig in this tarmac road back parallel with the main road , past the attractive looking Jardin Alpin (CHF8) and some chalets to reach a small layby (free parking) and yellow finger post after 5-10 minutes. It says Le Catogne 3h 45. We took the obvious uphill path in a generally northerly direction within pines, passing a further finger post saying L'Adray 1515 m after a few 100m. The path was surprisingly steep but easy to follow with paint marks , dust, roots and pinecones underfoot. At 08:35 we ascended a short easy rocky section with chain. At 09:25 we emerged out of the forest onto a rocky spur- labelled Replat du Fratsay 2274m (2309m per GPS) with prolific flowers and great views. Here we traversed left, signed Le Catogne ( not right, uphill, which feels more obvious, but is signposted Catogne Alpage).

The path traverses along the west side of the ridge, with steep drops left, and losing then regaining c 100m of height .The path then curves right and more steeply up to gain the ridge at 10:50. We scrambled up a subsidiary summit at 2598m here. Departing again at 11:15, we traversed down c 20m then up onto an easy final scramble ( avoidable) to reach the summit at 11:20.

At the summit is a 2m high wooden cross and various cut rock survey marks on a small rocky area . The views over the Mont Blanc massif are superb. This route is evidently popular with locals. There is a third subsidiary summit c 50m away with c 20m descent, where we had lunch to escape the crowds!

We continued north west to complete the traverse and the grassy ridge walk was lovely. At 13:15 we turned SW at a fingerpost junction and descended through a maze of avalanche fences to reach a junction ( trough, chalet) at 13:55 signed Champex d'en Bas. Here the path entered a steep narrow gully, partially filled with pine trees. The obvious path zig zagged SW somewhat tediously and very steeply down the centre, sometimes with rolling gravel underfoot- poles were useful.At 15:00 we reached a grassy lane with fingerpost where we turned left and at 15:10 we reached the tarmac road and ate wild raspberries. We turned left, uphill, SE, back to Champex Lac, along the road, taking advantage of a signed offroad section. Sultry heat was relieved by a cool downpour.We crossed the col at La Preya lift station and reached the campsite at 15:55 with 8.8 miles walked and 1300m of ascent including reascent.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4423 ft / 1348 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4423 ft / 1347 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
heavy rain in afternoon
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4423 ft / 1348 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3767 ft / 1149 m; Extra: 656 ft / 199m
    Loss on way in:656 ft / 199 m
    Route:South Ridge, from Champex Lac
    Start Trailhead:Les Rocailles campsite  4757 ft / 1449 m
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3767 ft / 1148 m
    Route:North west Ridge, via Champex d'en Bas
    End Trailhead:les Rocailles campsite  4757 ft / 1449 m
    Time:3 Hours 0 Minutes

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