Printed from: http://braemoor.co.uk/crolles/references.shtml on 23 Nov 2017
Copyright: © 2017 - 2017 John Gardner

Réseau de la Dent de Crolles, Chartreuse


Réseau de la Dent de Crolles, Chartreuse

Reference Material

There is a lot of literature on the Réseau de la Dent de Crolles, and many trip reports on the web. However, much of the available literature has been superseded, and many of the trip reports on the web are now misleading. Below are listed the most useful sources. Note that, to save server storage and bandwidth, some of the PDF files are stored on Google Drive and the link may need to be right-clicked and displayed in a separate tab (at least, that is my experience with Google Chrome).

'La Dent de Crolles et son Réseau Souterrain' edited by Baudouin Lismonde

Published in 1997 by the Comité Départemental de Spéléologie de l’Isère, this is the nearest to being a definitive reference work on the system. It is over 300 pages and includes chapters on, amongst other topics, the area, the geology, and the history of exploration. It also includes a survey in eight sections, and descriptions of a number of caving routes in the system. It is a must for anyone wanting to visit the system. It is available to buy for 34€, but CDS de l’Isère have generously also made a PDF copy available on the web. I have added a PDF metatag table of contents to this to make it easier to navigate, and that version is available for downloading here. Major explorations that have been made since the book was published include the four newer entrances: Puits de Cartusiens, Gouffre Bob Vouay, Gouffre des Quanta, and Gouffre Pulpite.

System Surveys

Apart from the survey separated into page-sized sections available in La Dent de Crolles et Son Réseau Souterrain discussed above, the best survey available on the web is a synthesis published by Gilbert Bohec available here. It does not include the two more recent entrances of Gouffre Pulpite and Gouffre Bob Vouay but an indication of where they fit in can be gleaned from this small scale survey, also compiled by Gilbert Bohec.

An updated version of the northern half of the survey including Puits des Quanta was distributed with Spéléo Magazine 60 (2007), and an updated version of the southern half of the survey including Gouffre Bob Vouay was distributed with Spéléo Magazine 70 (2010).

Spéléo Secours Isère Route Guides

Following a minor spate of rescues, the Spéléo Secours Isère produced a series of route guides in 2014-2015 for the more popular routes in the system. Although there are many other guides on the web which have subtle variations, the above document the routes that have been equipped and should be regarded as definitive.

  1. P40 - Trou du Glaz traverse
  2. Gouffre Thérèse - Grotte du Guiers Mort traverse
  3. Trou du Glaz - A round trip between Puits de la Lanterne and Puits de l'Ogive
  4. Trou du Glaz - Grotte Annette Bouchacourt traverse via Puits de la Lanterne
  5. Trou du Glaz - Grotte Annette Bouchacourt traverse via Puits de l'Ogive
  6. Trou du Glaz - Grotte Chevalier traverse via Puits de la Lanterne
  7. Trou du Glaz - Grotte Chevalier traverse via Puits de l'Ogive
  8. Trou du Glaz - Grotte du Guiers Mort traverse via Puits de la Lanterne and P36
  9. Trou du Glaz - Grotte du Guiers Mort traverse via Puits de l'Ogive and P36
  10. Grotte du Guiers Mort - a round trip between Galerie du Solitaire and Escalier de Service Bis
  11. Grotte du Guiers Mort - a round trip between Boulevard des Tritons and Escalier de Service Bis

The above links are to the Spéléo Secours Isère website to ensure that the latest versions are referenced.

These have been loosely translated by the author. Use at your own risk...

  1. P40 - Trou du Glaz traverse
  2. Gouffre Thérèse - Grotte du Guiers Mort traverse
  3. Trou du Glaz - A round trip between Puits de la Lanterne and Puits de l'Ogive
  4. Trou du Glaz - Grotte Annette Bouchacourt traverse via Puits de la Lanterne
  5. Trou du Glaz - Grotte Annette Bouchacourt traverse via Puits de l'Ogive
  6. Trou du Glaz - Grotte Chevalier traverse via Puits de la Lanterne
  7. Trou du Glaz - Grotte Chevalier traverse via Puits de l'Ogive
  8. Trou du Glaz - Grotte du Guiers Mort traverse via Puits de la Lanterne and P36
  9. Trou du Glaz - Grotte du Guiers Mort traverse via Puits de l'Ogive and P36
  10. Grotte du Guiers Mort - a round trip between Galerie du Solitaire and Escalier de Service Bis
  11. Grotte du Guiers Mort - a round trip between Boulevard des Tritons and Escalier de Service Bis

'Le Karst de Dent de Crolles' by Bruno Talour

This splendid 26 page booklet is in essence a guided walk around the Dent de Crolles visiting a dozen points of karst interest en route. It starts in Perquelin, and goes past the Fontaine Noire up the Sentier du Colonel to the plateau. It then visits Gouffre Thérèse, the summit, P40, and descends via the Trou du Glaz and Grotte du Guiers Mort. It also passes by the more recent entrances of Gouffre Bob Vouay and Gouffre Pulpite which can also be easily visited. It provides a splendid introduction to the geography and geology of the area, and is available for downloading here.

Grotte des Montagnards and Gouffre des Quanta Specific Material

These two entrances are not covered elsewhere on this website, and are unlikely to be on anybody's itinerary, but for completeness there is an account of the Grotte des Montagnards exploration in Scialet 3 (1974) which is available on the web (and also reproduced in 'La Dent de Crolles et son Réseau Souterrain' above), and Gouffre des Quanta and its exploration is described in an article by Jean-Pierre Gonzalez in Scialet 43 (2003), more information available on bona fide request.

'À Travers le Karst' by Fabien Darne and Patrice Tordjman

This book describes many of the best through-trips in France, and a copy should be in every caver's library. Although the description for the Réseau de la Dent de Crolles routes have been superseded by the Spéléo Secours Isère route guides, it also describes other fine routes in the area including the Grottes des Masque to Grotte du Mort Ru traverse (252 m deep), and the Gouffre Tasurinchi to Grotte du Guiers Vif traverse (305 m deep), both associated with the Cirque de St. Même near St. Pierre d'Entremont.

'Subterranean Climbers' by Pierre Chevalier

First published in 1948, this is a strong contender for being the best caving book ever written. It describes the explorations in the Réseau de la Dent de Crolle undertaken between 1935 and 1947 by Chevalier and his team (including Fernand Petzl) which resulted in the linking together of the Grotte du Guiers Mort, Trou du Glaz, P40, and Grotte Annette Bouchacourt. Many of the explorations were undertaken during the war under incredibly difficult conditions, and pioneered the use of prusiking and maypoling techniques in caves. Although Chevalier completed his explorations when only 17 km of passages were known compared with the 60 km known today, the book inspires one to follow in his footsteps, and it is a thrill to see the signatures of some of those great cavers on the walls at their break-through points. Some of the team were later involved in the Gouffre Berger explorations.

The IGN Map

French mapping compares favourably with the best. The French equivalent of the Ordnance Survey, the Institute Géographic National, have the whole country covered in a number of different scales, including the orange 1:50,000 series, and the blue 1:25,000 series. The latter are also supplied in tourist editions for the major walking areas. The accuracy of the maps is reliable, and the presentation is excellent, with the subtle shadowing on the blue series being particularly useful, although the colours are a little more vivid than those used by the Ordnance Survey.

The Chartreuse area is covered by two special 1:25,000 IGN maps, 3333 OT, and 3334 OT, covering the north and south of the Chartreuse Massif respectively, with the Dent de Crolles being covered by the latter. They highlight the major footpaths, and are highly recommended. They are not expensive (£12.99 in June 2017), and may be obtained locally, or from our Amazon shop. A waterproofed version is also available for £14.99 (June 2017). A digital version of the 1:25,000 map for the whole of France is available from Memory-Map for about £200 (June 2017).

'A Walking Guide to Chartreuse' by John Gardner

The author has been maintaining a website since 1998 dedicated to walking in Chartreuse. In addition to describing about 40 walking routes, it also contains much general information on the area gleaned over a period of 50 years, which visitors may find useful. A PDF version of the website is available.