Ascent: 1530 m

Descent: 1250 m

Distance: 15 km

Time on trail: 6:00 – 14:45


After a nervous night, the first night on trail is always, the morning revealed itself beautiful though heavy clouds were forming in the north.



The first pass, Col de Bise (1915m), with a bunch of bouquetins.



The view from the pass showed what lies ahead for the days to come.


I decided to order some breakfast at the Bise refuge. While eating, two Scandinavian ladies joined me. Anna and Ýrr were doing also the GR5. We shared some of the days walk together and camped at the same place in the evening. It was very encouraging to meet others walking the same route.



Up to the second pass, Pas de la Bosse (1816m) and then down to the village of La Chapelle d’Abondance for groceries.


The third and last climb of the day was heavy, perhaps because of the extra food in the backpack. Anyway we found a nice meadow to camp at the empty chalet of Les Crottes.



4 thoughts on “GR5 – DAY 1, to LES CROTTES

  1. Hi, I consider walking the GR5 next year. (with tent, too) I saw this excel sheet about the different stages and you were writing often about campsites. So my question is, are there campsites with refuges like on the GR20 or do you mean official campsites but no infrastructure? Thank you, Jo

  2. Hi Jo,

    By campsites I meant those that are usually in the villages and having reception, toilet and shower blocks. As they are down in the valleys, lot of different people use them: families, hikers, caravans etc.

    On few occasion I had a campsite in brackets in that excel sheet. In Moede Anterne I camped next to the refuge as typical in GR20. The owner gave a permission. After Les Contamines there is a free, official bivouac site, having a public toilet as well.

    Twice I slept inside a refuge as weather was so bad, and wild camping was camping wild, out of sight:)

    I didn’t see people camping next to refuges so I don’t know how typical this is. I think it depends on the owner.

    I figured out possible campsites and wild camping spots by reading the Cicerone guidebook and these three online trip reports:




    I hope this helps and feel free to ask more.

  3. Hi Antti,
    Very good information! We are likely to spend 10 days on the GR 5 starting St Gingolph (already walked Vanoise + Modane to Briancon + Briancon to St Etienne in other years). From the above I get the impression that you have an excel sheet with camping locations, but I can’t find it. We would be much helped to have it!

    Thanks! Arine

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