Winter trekking in the Vercors (snowshoes and pulka style)

In January 2017, I left on my first ever winter hiking trip. We had a great time in the High Fens and I knew it was something I would want to do again. A couple of months later, Servaes contacted me with the question if I wanted to join him on a week-long winter trekking in the Vercors at the end of 2017. This trip quit a big step up from the one in the High Fens, but with the experience of Servaes, I wanted in. Once I told my mother I would not be home for the New Year’s Day dinner but instead, chose to spend that time in a tent somewhere in the mountains, we started the preparations.

I still haven’t found the time to write a full report about this trip. For now, I created a quick photo report. Hope you enjoy!

In A Nutshell

Type of hike Point-to-point
Start – Finish Col de Menée – Richardière (Chichilianne)
Duration 6 days
Distance 40 kilometres
Elevation +1.657 m -2.004 m
Time of year December
Location Vercors (France)

Photo Report

Winter trekking Vercors
Arriving late in the evening on Col de Menée.
Winter trekking Vercors
Making our way up to the plateau, the pulka didn’t make things any easier. I really learned to swear during this trip 😁
Winter trekking Vercors
Time for our first lunch break. It’s a special kind of fun ⛄

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors
Melting snow quickly became the number one task for every night. We needed water for cooking diner, drinks that night and drinks during the next day.
Winter trekking Vercors
Getting ready for our second day.

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors
“EFFE POEMPE” he said.
Winter trekking Vercors
Mont Aiguille in the evening sun.

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors
Preparing the route for the next day. On a trip like this, you really want to have a GPS.

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors
On the evening of our third day, we stayed in a farm on the plateau that was open to use as a shelter during winter times. The next day when we woke up, the weather was horrible and a complete white out. We decided to take a day of to rest.
Winter trekking Vercors
Since we had spend the full day inside the cabin, we were happy when the storm went away in the evening and everything cleared up. So we put on headlamps and went out for a beautiful evening hike on the mountain behind the cabin.

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors

Winter trekking Vercors
The sun went down for the last time that year.
Winter trekking Vercors
Good morning! This is where I woke up on the first day of the year.
Winter trekking Vercors
Mont Aiguille

Practicalities

Maps

The map we used during our trip was the IGN 3237 OT (Glandasse – Col de la Croix-Haute).

Vercors IGN 3237 OT

Gear

It’s pretty clear that for a trip like this, it’s important to bring good gear. On a summer trip, gear failure may cause at the very least an inconvenience. During a wintertrip, bad gear can be very dangerous. So please, the pictures above look nice and fun, but don’t take a trip like this too lightly.

When you are not sure about your gear, I would advice to rent gear instead of buying something that might perhaps, if the conditions are could, just be good enough. There are a couple of good places for renting gear in Belgium. I rented my gear for this trip with Servaes from Outdoor Animation (Leuven). He rents snowshoe’s, pulka’s, sleeping bags and mattresses specifically for winter.

Here a photo of my bed during the preparations.

Winter trekking Vercors

Camera

I have gotten a couple of questions lately about the camera that I use when going on a hike.

When I was looking for a camera, this was my checklist:

  • Easy to use (for quick shots)
  • Manual modes for more challenging shots
  • Ability to shoot in RAW
  • Not big or heavy
  • Delivered good quality photos also in low light conditions

I debated long between the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II and the Panasonic Lumix LX15. Finally I decided on the latter one. Super happy with it! If you buy a camera through one of the links above, you support me and my website! Thanks a lot 🙂

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