Le refuge de platé



The Désert de Platé is a high altitude karst (limestone pavement).

This type of landscape is formed by two properties of limestone rock, one chemical, which causes dissolution of the rock by waters, charged with carbon dioxide, the other structural, which allows the development of fissures formed in the mountain to render the rock more permeable. This creates a 'gruyere' mountain where the surface becomes engraved with crevasses (grikes), runnels and the thousand other shapes formed on the limestone pavement.

Internally, the structure is a criss-cross of galleries and drains, by means of which, in summer, rain water runs off rapidly. On the Désert de Platé, water does not trickle over the surface but is engulfed in the interior of the mountain itself, to resurge finally from beneath the limestone when an impermeable layer is encountered.

Thus the mountain collects the water to be redistributed at the periphery at the level of the spring line. For example, we cite the emergence of the river Ugine at the level of the Chalets de Charbonnière, 700m below the Chalets de Platé, which can be seen by walkers coming from Praz Coutant