France: Merveilleuse-Vertige


Active member
Has anyone done this through-trip in the Borne massif of the French Alps before, or know anyone who has? A less famous and more recent through-trip than its neighbour, the Diau. It looks great on paper and I have detailed guidebook routes and surveys, but I just can't see much about it online. I'm hoping for Leclused or Langcliffe to pipe up with a glowing reference so it ends up on the shortlist for this summer :)


Active member

No personal info sorry for that.

But I did find the following report halfway on the webpage. It's about a trip of last summer (9 july).

Trip report Merveilleuse-Vertigo

Some quick translations
- The only negative parts is that the horizontal part is very muddy
- the ledge after the finale descent had a fixed rope. But I'm not sure if it real fixed one. Perhaps it was there only during last summer
- the exit from the ledge to the road was very dangerous, they had to grip to the grass during the climb

Perhaps you can contact this club for more info about that trip.


Well-known member
You really sold it. As it was in the same area as the last Congress I had consulted the instructions, which are fairly clear on the mud situation. It is possibly significant the French did not consider rigging it for the event.

The traverse book uses grade 1-4. I honestly think there should be a 5, because messing about in the Jean Bernard or PSM is not the same as doing Trou de Glaz to Guiers Mort (which you can get a guided tour through).


I have done this trip twice - last time was a couple of years ago. And Leclused summary is fairly correct.

It is a nice trip with some muddy bits - the exit is very scenic looking across the valley - you land on a ledge half way up a cliff.

There was a traverse line - but the line is there to calm nerves as the rock is loose and flaky - evidenced by one bit of the traverse having come away from the wall (this may have been removed/replaced by now?) - clip in but do not weight it unless you fall off - then hope some of the anchors stay in place!!!

The grassy slope is steep and you need to alternatively traverse/climb it until you reach the footpath - easiest is to return to the top back to where you parked your cars. - I would not be happy on the grassy slopes if it was very wet!!

I do not recommend attempting to walk downhill to the valley - we tried this the first time traversing down towards the footpath aiming to join it lower and got suckered into several deep gulley's that eventually forced us into the main streambed - this was like caving in daylight with large boulders and drops etc. - luckily we did not have to rig any drops and eventually found some paths that took us to the valley floor, took longer than the trip through the cave!!