Plan your walk properly making sure you have the times and distance right and you have enough time to do it. Make sure you have a map of the walk and compass and know how to use them especially if the weather changes and visibility becomes an issue.
Although the weather in the Écrins is very settled for alpine weather it can change fast, make sure you have an up to date forecast and take enough spare clothes or waterproofs in case it changes, and remember to take sun cream and a sun hat.
Make sure you carry enough food and drink for the walk, some of the walks may have fountains you can refill from but not all.
If coming in the autumn be aware that hunting is big in this area, the hunters should mark the area they are in but this is not always realistic, you can sometimes tell where they are by the barking of the hunt dogs. Try to wear bright clothing.
.Patou’s are big white working dogs, the local shepherds use them to guard the sheep up in the mountains and pastures, they are raised with the flock and it’s their job to protect them mainly from wolves. You may here the odd story of walkers being bitten but this is very rare, that’s said you should beware of them. The author has had many encounters with them over the years and had everything from friendly ones that come for a pet and a fuss, ones that just stand off and bark at you till you have passed,to some really grumpy ones that growl and follow you. Most of the issue arise when you startle the dog, so if you see a flock expect there to be a patou with them even if you can’t see it, try and give the flock a wide birth. If you find yourself close to a patou don’t panic stand still and let it work out that you’re not a threat to the flock,and it normally calms down, if not back off slowly and find another way around.
Use a GuideIf you are not sure of any of the above it is advisable to use a guide who can not only guide you on a walk but can instruct you on how to become more independent on them.
112 is the general emergency number in France
PGHM Briançon 04 92 21 58 58
CRS/PGHM Briançon +33 (0)4 92 22 22 22
IF YOU ARE NOT SURE ON ANY OF THE ABOVE WE RECOMMEND FURTHER TRAINING OR THE USE OF A MOUNTAIN GUIDE