Laurichard Mountain Pass

Laurichard Mountain Pass

Lake and glacier
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Permafrost and rock glacier... a hike in the land of cold pebbles. 

On the track, at an altitude of about 2500 m, look about! In the South/South East  direction you can see at the foot of the Western peak of the Combeynot four white  spheres (about 35 cm in diameter)... they are  the landmarks enabling scientists to  measure the evolution of the rock glacier at  Laurichard.


Leave the car park at the foot of Serre Orel to start the ascent in the direction of the Combe de Laurichard. Do not hesitate to look at the signs in the car park, marked « porte du parc national des Ecrins ». 250 m after the car park, the track divides into tow: stay on the one that goes up towards Laurichard and leave to your right the « track for the interpretation of crevasses ». The slope accentuates progressively up to the entrance of the Combe de Laurichard (alt. 2300 m), mineral world ‘par excellence’. The path follows its route at the foot of the South-East face of the pyramid of Laurichard and looks up at the imposing Northern faces, somber and austere, the summits at Combeynot (black rock of Combeynot and the West peak of Combeynot). It is at the foot of these two mineral giants that the Laurichard rock glacier is found with its permafrost – the soil is permanently frozen – but for how much longer, due to global warming? - Continue the ascent to reach Laurichard mountain pass, the panorama embraces the entire Meije massif and the surrounding summits (pic Gaspard, pointe Nérot, Bec de l’Homme,). For the descent, use the same itinerary in the opposite direction. 

  • Departure : Col du Lautaret
  • Towns crossed : Villar-d'Arêne

5 points of interest

  • History

    Dismantled ski-lifts

    A small ski resort was created in 1970 not far from the Lautaret mountain pass. Due to the risk of avalanches and new standards required, alpine skiing was moved near to the village of Villar d'Arène and Chazelet hamlet. The two obsolete ski-lifts situated in this very   picturesque territory, rich in terms of biodiversity, ruin this place which has been classified since1974 as the national nature reserve of Combeynot. In 2013, dismantling was carried out by the Mixed union of ski-resorts in the Haute Romanche with the support of the National Park. In the end more than 35 tons of iron and concrete blocks were evacuated.

  • Flora

    Fringed sedge

    Protected patrimonial species which flowers between July and August, the fringed sedge is present in the sector of the Combe de Laurichard. It is the subject of a detailed prospection by the National Park. Result: on the crystalline sites of the Laurichard valley, it is not as rare as all that… 

  • Geology and geography

    Rock glacier

    The Laurichard rock glacier has been monitored since 1979. It is the oldest research program of this type studying the morphology of glaciers. At the moment the Ecrins National Park and the scientists are studying the evolution, the speed of its advance and its volume. On the terrain, note the presence of four white spheres which are used to carry out this monitoring.

  • Fauna

    Rock Ptarmigan

    The cold bottom of the Laurichard valley is where the Rock Ptarmigan lives (species that is a glacial relic). Its Latin name ‘Lagopus’ signifies "hare’s foot": this species reproduces during the warm season in the valley. It is one of the ten species of bird to be protected in priority in the heart of the National Park. Take care to stay on the path to avoid disturbing their nests...

  • Panorama

    Laurichard Mountain Pass

    The Laurichard mountain pass, at an altitude of 2654 m, offers a superb panorama over the Meije massif and the surrounding summits : le pic Gaspard, la pointe Nérot, le Bec de l'Homme,... In the South the Barre des Ecrins points its icy nose behind the Roche Faurio.


Altimetric profile


Put a top in your bag; the weather changes so quickly at these altitudes.

Herd protection dogs

In mountain pastures, protection dogs are there to protect the herds from predators (wolves, etc.).

When I hike I adapt my behavior by going around the herd and pausing for the dog to identify me.

Find out more about the actions to adopt with the article "Protection dogs: a context and actions to adopt".
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Is in the midst of the park
The national park is an unrestricted natural area but subjected to regulations which must be known by all visitors.

Information desks

Information center "Col du Lautaret" (summer only)

Col du Lautaret, 05220 Le Monêtier-les-bains 92 24 49 74

Under the gaze of the Meije (3983 m) and surrounded by beautiful meadows celebrated in the great names of botany, the former hospice of the Lautaret called "refuge Napoleon" houses the reception and information Park center - Projections, documentation, books of the Park. Accessible to people with reduced mobility. Free admission.

Find out more


The bus Grenoble - Briançon, via the Lautaret mountain pass (regional express line: LER 35). 

Access and parking

D1091 (Grenoble Briançon), col du Lautaret.

Parking :

Laurichard car park (at the foot of Serre Orel Use the car park at Lautaret mountain pass if the first one is full.


Parc national des Ecrins

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