Gouffre de la Pulpite Irréversible
|Northing: 45.31407°||Easting: 5.85586°||Altitude: 1,901 m|
How to find it
Follow the GR9 from the Col du Coq past the Trou du Glaz onto the plateau above. At the signposted junction follow the path up towards the summit. After about 350 metres there is an obvious spoil heap 40 metres on the left, which marks the location. Note that some sources on the web give the altitude as 1,790 metres - this is incorrect.
Having been identified as a potential entrance from below, Gouffre de la Pulpite Irréversible was dug open in 2010. Details of the cave are not readily available. It is short, but is flood prone so should be avoided in wet weather and snow melt. The entrance shaft is short and broken, and drops into about 150 m of passage, 20 m of which are restricted (the Tortue Ninja). This enters the Salle du Dome des Ecrins from which some short pitches lead down to the main feature, a 145 metre shaft (Puits du Lac) dropped in three stages - 85 m, 20 m, and 40 m. This lands in the main passage in Trou du Glaz below the Lantern shafts. From here, it is possible to exit through Trou du Glaz (4 to 5 hours) by ascending the permanently rigged Puits de l'Ogive into the Trou du Glaz upper story, or join one of the standard through trips from Trou du Glaz. All the pitches have been equipped with pull-through chains and traverse ropes. The Pulpite - Glaz route is used for commercial caving.
It is worth noting that that there is a complex of passages above the Puits du Lac shafts, with at least one connection to the Grotte du Guiers Mort. These passages, and the story of the connection to the surface, are described in an article by Olivier Dutel in Scialet 39 (2010) (further information available on bona fide request). A cross section of the upper passages is also available.