Photos from August

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early start

An early start to beat the heat. 27 August 07

Col de Grangettes

The last few metres to the Col des Grangettes. 27 August 07

glacier de seguret foran

The glacier de Seguret Foran snakes down from the Dome de Monetier. 27 August 07

lac d'eychauda

The lac and pic d'Eychauda (2514m). 27 August 07

vallee de chambran

The valley de Chambran, unusually wide and flat for the Ecrins. 27 August 07

old barn

An old barn shelters beneath the Crete des Lauzieres. 27 August 07

chapel at le sarret

The chapelle St Joseph at Le Sarret. 27 August 07

villar d'arene

Villar d'Arene, houses packed tightly together to leave the ground clear for crops. 26 August 07

river romanche

The head waters of the river Romanche. 26 August 07

summer loo

All mod cons at the refuge: summer and winter loos! 26 August 07


Masses of tadpoles cram into the warmer shallows so they can mature quickly. 26 August 07

pic de neige cordier

A glacial lake in front of the pic de Neige Cordier... 26 August 07

glacier d'arsine

The snout of the glacier d'Arsine, 15m high, near constant ice and stone fall. 26 August 07

torrent de petit tabuc

Ice-melt colours the sinuous meanders of the torrent de Petit Tabuc. 26 August 07


The Italian artist Zarbula painted many sundials in this area. This one is designed in his tradition. 26 August 07

fountain at Besse en Oisans

Fountain in the the centre of Besse en Oisans. 25 August 07

sculpture of a climber at Besse

Sculpture at Besse. 25 August 07

boundaries of disused fields

The boundaries of disused fields at La Serre recall a time before the rural exodus. 25 August 07

La Meije

La Meije (3983m), long thought to be unclimbable, and the 'finger of God'. 25 August 07

village of Le Chazelet

The village of Le Chazelet, opposite the mountain of La Meije. 25 August 07

Le Bourg d'Oisans

The town of Bourg d'Oisans, built on the site of an old lake. 24 August 07

roman bridge at Huez

The roman bridge above the village of Huez. 24 August 07

La Meije and Le Rateau

First sight of La Meije and Le Rateau. 24 August 07

oratoire at clavans

An Oratoire (a little shrine to a saint) at Clavans. 24 August 07

morning view of the Ecrins

Morning view above the refuge de la Muzelle. 23 August 07

cliffs above lac lauvitel

Cliffs fall from Pointe de Confolans into the lac Lauvitel. 23 August 07

lac lauvitel

The lac Lauvitel, largest and deepest of the lakes in the Ecrins. 23 August 07

Main street in Bourg d'Oisans

The main street in Bourg d'Oisans. 23 August 07

fountain in Bourg d'Oisans

Fountains piped from a spring are found in every village, and people would often gather there to exchange news. 23 August 07

blue flowers

Nature gets a grip in the smallest of places. 22 August 07

aiguille des marmes

The Aiguille des Marmes from the col de Cote Belle. 22 August 07

Pointe Swan from the Cote Belle

Pointe Swan from the Cote Belle. 22 August 07

col de la muzelle

Closer to the col de la Muzelle, it didn't look any easier .... 22 August 07

climbing the col de muzelle

Slipping and in difficulty on the steep col de la Muzelle, I climbed up the slate wall in a stream, grateful for secure footing. 22 August 07

lac de la muzelle

A nice glissade down fresh snow from the col de la Muzelle to the lake. 22 August 07

les orgues de villar loubiere

les Orgues de Villar Loubiere; rocky pillars like organ pipes. 21 August 07

path on a ledge around a ravine

The path to the col de Vaurze crosses a ravine on a rocky ledge. 21 August 07

col de vaurze in snow

The col de Vaurze. Snow fell gently in thick wet flakes on the lee side; on the other side, it was driving in on a strong wind. 21 August 07

grasses in the rain

Raindrops glisten on ripening seedheads. 20 August 07

4 chamois on a ridge

Four chamois on a ridge in the cloud; as surprised to see me as I was to see them. Reward for going out in the rain! 20 August 07

patterns on the trunk of an ash tree

Moments earlier, dappled sunlight was playing on this ash tree. When the sun went behind a cloud, it seemed to have left its impression on the bark. 20 August 07

sundial at la chapelle en valgaudemar

Sundial at la Chapelle en Valgaudemar: 'Kill time, or live every moment' - says it all really. 20 August 07

view from col de gouiran

View from the col de Gouiran. 19 August 07

col de vallonpierre

The col de Vallonpierre, slate ravines shadowed by early light. 19 August 07


This thistle is reputed to bring good luck, and big ones are cut and nailed on stable doors around here. 19 August 07

refuge de vallonpierre

The refuge de Vallonpierre looks out on a little lake, with the Sirac just behind. Idyllic. 19 August 07

rock looking like a dragon

The head of a dragon fossilised in the rock ... 19 August 07

glaciers du sirac

The path tiptoed through debris left behind by the retreating glaciers of the Sirac. 19 August 07

ravin des bans

The GR54 crosses the braided torrent flowing down from les Bans. 18 August 07

cascade de l'ale

The cascade de l'Ale tumbles down a ledge from the upper valley. 18 August 07

col de l'aup martin

The long scree slope leading to the col de l'Aup Martin. 18 August 07

crete de l'aup martin

From the col, the crete de l'Aup Martin looms over the valley. 18 August 07

The Pointes de Verdonne and Chabourneou

The Pointes de Verdonne and Chabourneou; next days path can be seen winding its way up on the left. 18 August 07

blue aconite

Blue aconite. 15 August 07

chapelle st pierre

The chapelle St Pierre, at 2050m, in the middle of nowhere. 15 August 07

Tete de Clotinaille

A great view from the Tete de Clotinaille. 15 August 07


Touching memorial to nine children and two adults killed by an avalanche. Their names are carved around the statue. 13 August 07

blue flower

An unusual dark-centred blue flower. 13 August 07

la montagnette

La Montagnette, a steep-sided outcrop that makes a traverse of this ridge system tricky. 13 August 07

rock sandwich

Rock sandwich! 13 August 07


A degree of poise required on this narrow trail above a steep ravine. 13 August 07


Cargneule (limestone and dolomite) is eroded by solution and freeze-thaw to give this dramatic landscape. 13 August 07

glacier noir

The Glacier Noir, so-called because it is covered in stones, creeps down valley. For scale, tiny walkers can just be made out on the lateral moraine wall. 12 August 07

pic de Dormillouse

Walkers round the corner on the way to the Glacier Blanc, with the pic de Dormillouse on the skyline. 12 August 07

pelvoux pic sans nom and the ailefroide

One of the great ridge systems of the Ecrins: The Pelvoux, the Pic Sans Nom, the Coup de Sabre and the Ailefroide. 12 August 07

glacier blanc

The tongue of the Glacier Blanc hangs down the cliffs. At one point, it was 100m deep here. 12 August 07


Chocards, or choucas; these clever opportunists are always on the lookout for a free meal. 12 August 07

crevasses on the glacier blanc

The Glacier Blanc cracks into deep crevasses as it turns the corner. 12 August 07

pink flowers

A dash of colour in a mineral landscape. 12 August 07

bog cotton

Bog cotton waves its head in the breeze. 12 August 07

braided river

Ice melt from the glaciers forms a braided river on the Pre de Mme Carle. 12 August 07


Typical farmhouse near Chateauroux, with hay storage in the loft and undershot waterwheel. 11 August 07


Streams idle across a high meadow, reflecting the sky colour. 11 August 07

rock pattern

Nature the unconscious artist: abstract patterns in the slate. 11 August 07

red plant with dried flower spikes

Even after blooming, this dried flower spike is a fine sight. 11 August 07

lac du distroit

The lac du Distroit (2519m) on a perfect morning. 11 August 07

scrambly ridge

A scrambly little limestone ridge above the lac du Distroit. 11 August 07

three zygaena

Different types of Zygaena fueling up on thistle heads. 11 August 07

col des tourettes

The twin limestone towers at the col des Tourettes. 11 August 07

green scarab beetle

A hungry scarab beetle. 11 August 07


The Orientation table just below the Aiguilles de Chabrieres. Clouds to the left of me, clouds to the right... 8 August 07

western cliffs

The path approaches along the Western cliffs. 8 August 07


A squeeze through a tunnel.... 8 August 07


....followed by a narrow ledge above this gully.....8 August 07


...leads to the summit, and a fine view of the Aiguilles. 8 August 07


The valley of Freissinieres was once a glacial lake. 7 August 07


Climber on the "Cimetiere des Vaudois" - not me! 7 August 07


Clouds drape the peaks overlooking the hamlet of Les Viollins. 7 August 07


The meanders of the river Durance contrast strongly with the limestone ridge. 7 August 07


Yes, this photo IS level! The crazy contortions of the ridge distort the horizons. 7 August 07


The cycle of renewal: young larches colonising a decaying tree stump.7 August 07


Old Arollo pines with side branches like candelabra. 7 August 07


A shepherds summer quarters: hay and grain upstairs, shelter for sheep below. 7 August 07


The lac d'Orcierette. 7 August 07

heavy horses

A fine pair of heavy horses. 7 August 07

arete de ratelle

Extraodinary ravining below the arete. 5 August 07


Carpets of wild strawberries alongside the path. 2 August 07

crete de gaulens

The Crete de Gaulens at first light. 2 August 07

the cave

Inside a beatiful little cave. I'm not that thin, this is a secondary entrance!. 2 August 07


Spring-fed fountains here are all wood so they still flow below freezing. 2 August 07

croix des enfers

The Croix des Enfers (Crosses of Hell). 2 August 07


Older graffiti are carefully hammered with a pick. Modern ones are hacked by a knife. Sniff - quality isn't what it used to be!. 2 August 07

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