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France Day 09 Saturday: Slalom Course, Glacier Blanc and Flea Market

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2023 LCC Alpine Paddling Holiday

Day 09a Saturday: Slalom Course by Cameron Fletcher

Adjacent to the campsite at l’Argentière is the l’Argentière la Bessée Slalom course. Early on Saturday morning, a number of us got up early and went to paddle it. We walked up alongside the water to the get-in at the top of the course. We got on and did some ferry gliding across the top flow before dropping down to the first pool.

There aren’t too many places to surf or play on the course, but there’s lots of Eddies all the way down to go in and out and across. We were paddling at the same time as some French youth slalom paddlers, and it was interesting watching how their style differed to general Whitewater paddlers. Once at the bottom – the walk back up is not too bad. We got off after a couple of hours of paddling – and just a short walk back to the Campsite!

Very convenient.

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Day 09b Saturday: Glacier Blanc by Keith S

We set off from the campsite at 7:00am to try and miss the heat of the sun as we climbed from the car park at the end of the road at Refuge du Pre de Madame Carle. On the walk up we were see 19 Marmots either on or very near the path. With only two of us this year making the climb they must of have been far less timid.

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We took a look around the old refuge but there were less flowers out this year, maybe a sign of a later spring and more water runoff with the snow patches. We then headed across the water meadows to the last steep climb to the refuge.

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Glacier Blanc (like 90% of the worlds glaciers) has been retreating (Shrinking) over the last 100 years due mainly to global warming.

Glacier Blanc is on the east side of Barre Des Ecrins the southernmost of the 4000 m peaks in the Alps. It is the largest glacier on the peak. The glacier began a sustained retreat after 1870, that ceased in 1895-1900 , 1915-1920, 1935-1940 and 1980-1990 (Cossart et al, 2006). The glacier has shrunk by 5-10% of the total glacier volume during 1981-2005 (Rabatel et al, 2008). The series of images below are used to examine the retreat over the last 14 years of Glacier Blanc with LCC trips to the region. The first image is from 2008 and shows the glacier very low down and almost level with the bridge. By 2023 it has retreated right up the valley and is now along way above the refuge at 2550m.

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Day 09c Saturday: Vallouise and the flea market by Stuart T

After a busy morning spent carrying out running boat repairs and with half of the group returning home.  Some of us planned to soak up some French culture.  We decided to travel by car to the very picturesque town of Vallouise about 15 minutes’ drive. Our intention was to visit the local flea market and enjoy a relaxing tour of the town. 

We parked the car and wound our way up hill, following the river Gyr that flows through the centre. Crossing to the opposite bank we found the market.  About 20 stalls, mostly dealers made up the market.  It had the usual book stalls,  furniture,  and lots of unique alpine tools and equipment. 

Later we explored the older part of the town, stopping at a lovely cafe for ice creams and crêpes.

The Gyr at Valouise
Church at Valouise