Printed from: http://braemoor.co.uk/crolles/annette.shtml on 20 Aug 2017
Copyright: © 2017 - 2017 John Gardner

Réseau de la Dent de Crolles

Grotte Annette Bouchacourt

Northing: 45.30710° Easting: 5.85540° Altitude: 1,685 m

How to find it

Grotte Annette Bouchacourt is located under the south nose of Dent de Crolles. From the Col du Coq follow the GR9 up the zig-zags above the Col des Ayes. At the top of the zigzags the GR9 goes off to the left towards Trou du Glaz. Follow the right hand path up towards the Pas de l'Œille and when it starts an ascending traverse to the right look for a thin line going off beneath it. This becomes a more distinct path as it follows a line between the cliffs above and the steep valley below. Continue round the nose, and traverse on shale ledges for a couple of hundred metres. There may be fixed ropes for protection. Grotte Annette Bouchacourt is on a platform 30 metres or so above the traverse, and is accessed by a thin ascending path through the loose scree and vegetation. Once at the right level, the entrance of Grotte Chevalier is on the right. Traverse back south-west at the same level for a 100 metres to find the entrance to the Grotte Annette. The cave is named after one of Chevalier's team who died in a skiing accident in 1944, and there is a marble plaque in her memory by the entrance.

Map of Dent de Crolles showing position of Grotte Annette Bouchacourt

Showing location of Grotte Annette Bouchacourt on the IGN 1:25000 map 3334OT
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Traversing across to the Grotte Annette Bouchacourt
Grotte Chevalier can be seen in the background
Photograph: Dave Checkley

Traversing across to the Grotte Annette Bouchacourt - Photograph: Dave Checkley
Grotte Chevalier can be seen in the background
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The entrance of Grotte Annette Bouchacourt

The entrance of Grotte Annette Bouchacourt
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The memorial plaque at the entrance to Grotte Annette Bouchacourt

The memorial plaque at the entrance of Grotte Annette Bouchacourt
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Further information

Grotte Annette Bouchacourt was first entered in 1943, and connected to the main system in 1946 after some protracted digging. Although it is the upstream end of a large phreatic tunnel that once flowed through to Trou du Glaz, because the water was running down dip and rising up large phreatic risers, upward pitches prevent through trips from this end unless they have been pre-rigged. It is usually used as an exit, normally from Trou du Glaz, but equally realistically from Gouffre Pulpite or P40. An entertaining couple of hours caving can be enjoyed going as far as Puits de la Gnole, but the signage tends to be misleading as it is designed to help people on their way out rather than those going in. Such a trip can be combined with a sortie into Grotte Chevalier.

The through trip from the Trou du Glaz is probably the easiest of the pull-through trips in the Réseau de la Dent de Crolles, and it provides an excellent introduction to the system. The pitch heads are all equipped with pull-through chains and traverse lines, and the various traverses encountered en route are also equipped with traverse lines. There is one upward pitch which has a fixed rope on it (it can be free-climbed if necessary). The route is used for commercial caving, so in normal season one can be very confident that the fixed rigging will be there. There used to be a very unstable boulder choke / scree funnel in the entrance series, but this has been stabilised with some serious iron work.

See here for details of the pull-through from Trou du Glaz produced by the Spéléo Secours Isère. It has been loosely translated by the author which is available here. Use it at your own risk...