This article is complementary to the Trail: "Conquering the mountain of Thunder".
And is dedicated to anyone who wants to engage in an exploration in the ice tunnel of Chaberton.
The ascent on Mount Chaberton, the highest mountain of the hill Montgenèvre (3130 m.), in itself exciting and full of charm, can hold other amazing surprises, once you reach the top!
Anyone has practice ice climbing and caving, can venture (with a minimum of equipment) in the long and huge tunnels carved into the rock in the early twentieth century.
The stairs to the powder magazine that penetrates deep into the rock of 72 meters (184 steps) and the long corridor (300 m), a horizontal course, dug under the fortress at a depth of 8.28 meters, which was used as a store bullets in the forties.
This corridor was a boring first job, to move through the fortress sheltered the depths of the rock!
In the course of more than seventy years of neglect, within these tunnels, they are appalling amount of accumulated ice on both floors and on the vault, which make them similar to mine pure and sparkling quartz crystals.
Panimetry of the Tunnels
The TunnelsThe entrances to these tunnels are two, at least the most accessible. The first is located inside the battery, at the bottom of the small hallway that you see on the right when entering the front door.
This is access to the scale of the powder, only the first three ramps are accessible, the other two are completely blocked by ice. The powder is therefore impossible to access by ladder.
At the bottom of the second flight of stairs, completely covered with a thick layer of ice (which makes it similar to a steep slide), there is access to the horizontal tunnel beneath the glacis. To cross it, you have to walk on her knees and reach the tunnel itself, which is divided into two branches: East and West.
Inside there are still the chassis that covered the tunnel, and these are covered with delicate crystals of ice: "The jewels of Chaberton". Just touch them to make them fall with a noise similar to that of a crystal chandelier that falls apart.
The West Branch of the tunnel at one point was blocked by ice, to visit the remaining portion must come from the second entrance to the tunnel, which is external.
This is reached by descending from the square of the battery (side of Italy) and passing under the cable car station, an old power line pole marks the spot.
Normally the entrance is very wide and high, is flooded with more than five feet of water.
This first branch of the tunnel would have to accommodate the arrival of the cable car station. Moved into the cave for safety. But it was never done!.
At the bottom rung of the corridor on the left opens a slit in the mountain that was the observation of artillery.
The view of Montgenevre and Briancon is spectacular.
Visit the Powder Magazine.
To access the underground powder, the last flight of stairs stairway is blocked by ice, so you have to enter through the ventilation window placed 72 feet below the battery, at the penultimate bend of the military road. You have to crawl on the ice (the last time I did, I brought home a beautiful bronchitis!), the feeling is very claustrophobic, as the time only
twenty inches from the head.
EquipmentWarm and waterproof clothing.
Your Helmet with head lamp.
Body harness, snap hooks.
Essential to have the camera...in! there is a fantastic show.
External LinksThe Gunner of the Chaberton
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