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Col de Praletang

This plateau, bordered on all sides by more or less steep limestone cliffs, is like an island with forest on top. Between the Vercors and the Drome regions are several "islands" like that. On the north and south this plateau is bordered by the valley of the Isere, stretching  north to Grenoble. In the south it s bordered by the Gorge de la Bourne. At least 2 named passes on small, mostly paved roads are located in this plateau. I was going for the higher one "Col de Mont Noir", but new snow on the top convinced me to cross this one instead.

1.(00.0km,0190m)START-END WEST:low point next to river La Bourne, Pont en Royans
2.(02.9km,0240m)profile leaves Gorge de la Bourne and climbs to Col de Toutes Aures
3.(07.1km,0560m)Col de Toutes Aures
4.(11.3km,0830m)profile turns right before reaching Presles
5.(17.0km,1130m)profile stays right at this junction. Left goes to Col du Mont Noir
6.(19.5km,1270m)TOP: Col de Prelatang
7.(26.5km,0850m)profile turns right at junction with road coming down from Col de Romeyere
9.(41.6km,0240m)START-END EAST:same as point 2 in Gorge de la Bourne


From West.
The profile starts out by climbing Col de Croix deToutes Aures from Pont en Royans. Here a right turn leads to a popular climbing area in the vertical limestone cliffs. The road elects to go through a different portion of that same cliff with a number of short bridge like tunnels - different mode of travel, similar exposure.

The road becomes ever narrower, and before reaching the village Presles, a right turn onto a paved forest road marks the spot, where the absolute minimum of road width for this journey begins. Now on the plateau, the road climbs not quite as steeply but steadily ever onwards through the forest. Past a farm and a junction, leading to Col du Mont Noir amongst other destinations, the road leads to a first clearing (and with that a good view) since quite a workout ago. In the view below, the limestone entrance to the Gorge de la Bourne has taken its place in the surrounding landscape of cliffs and forests. From here that spectacular gorge it is just a breech in a lip of a limestone cliff.

Approaching the summit, the forest seems to become ever thicker. The road passes a map of the area (which can be very confusing), curves around, past a turnoff for a cave that can be explored, and finally one more curve leads to a summit. It is marked with a rudimentary wood cross and a pass sign.

From East. (described downwards) After rolling through the trees, a great view of the main part of the Vercors range behind limestone cliffs of the Gorge de la Bourne appears at the site of an abandoned inn.

I know of the practice of labeling single family dwellings with place names on the map from Wyoming and other sparsely populated US states. But here in France  ? Yes - here in France. On the way down, the two single most spectacular vantage points onto Rencurrel and the vertical scenery below are occupied by single farm dwellings, and the dwellings or "villages"; have a name, complete with signs as you enter and leave only a few dozen meters apart - even if I forgot what the names are, and they are not marked on my openstreetview map.

In Rencurrel the pavement widens and the profile goes back down to where it meets itself on the other side

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

Dayride with this point as intermediate summit:

( < Font d'Urle s(u) | Col de Bataille > )

Col de Praletang , St Julien en Vercors s(u) : Pont en Royans > Col de Toute Aures(shp) > Col de Praletang > Rencurrel > D531 east > D103 west > St Julien en Vercors s(u) > St Martin en Vercors > D518 west > Eulalie > back to starting point in Pont en Royans: 39.3m with 4779ft of climbing in 4:25hrs (garmin etrex30 r5:19.4.26.
Notes: In this ride on the Friday after easter fresh snow covered the upper 100 meters of the climb