*Day 2/3* Positive Elevation: 2200m; Length: 19km
This is the second of a series of guides to hike the Mercantour French National Park, an approximately 30 mile trek that loops in one of the most preserved area of the park. Each segment roughly corresponds to a day on the trail. This Guide describes Segment 2 of 3: Refuge de Nice to Refuge de La Madonne de Fenestre and Ascension of Mount Clapier.
Optional: Mont Clapier (POI 3). This 10,000 ft summit is very accessible if arriving from the southern slope. Avoid the north west ridge (aerial). It adds 800m in positive elevation (included in the announced 2200m). Tip: leave heavy gear at the refuge and get it back after climbing the summit.
From the "Refuge de Nice" climb up to the "Pas du Mont Colomb" (POI 4)(steep trail). Hike down to the "Refuge de la Madone de Fenestre"(POI 5).
Optional: If you have time and legs, hike up to the Fenestre lake (POI 6) and pass (POI 7) and to the Ladres Pass (POI 8). Tip: leave backpack at the refuge and take water + cereal bars + 1 warm piece of clothes
Sleep at the refuge (POI 5) or set up tent at the bottom of the "Vallon de Ponset".
How to get there:
- By car: From Nice, drive on Route Nationale 202 until Plan du Var, on your right drive up the Valley of the Vésubie to Roquebillière. Follow then the Valley of the Gordolasque for 12 kilometers in the direction of Saint Grat and stop near the "Relais des Merveilles".
- By Bus:
TRAM Nice - Roquebilière; Phone: +33 4 93 85 92 22
When to go: June to October
What to bring:
- Map IGN 3741 OT "Vallee de la Vesubie" (http://loisirs.ign.fr/documentArticle.do?idDoc=5619807&siteId=5059600)
- Cold weather & rain clothes
- Tent (optional); bivouac is allowed in the park from 7pm to 9am, only at 1hr or more from the park boundaries.
- Water: ~2L/person (there are water points along the way)
Food is available at Refuges of Merveille (POI 4), Nice (POI 9) and Madonne de Fenestre (POI 12)
Animals you might see: Ibex, Mouflons, Chamois, Marmots, Black Grouse, Wolves (very rarely)