Starting point and arrival : Cotolivier – Bivio Pourachet (2048 m)
Maximum Height : Passo di Desertes (2553 m)
Height difference : 500 m
Climb time : 4 h
Mapping: Fraternali n.1 1:25.000 Alta Valle Susa
Access. From Oulx follow the road to Cotolivier (6 km) pass the villages of Pierremenaud and Vazon, go straight on to the crossroad to Pourachet
Path. Take the dirt road on the left before arriving at the Cotolivier church going to Pourachet. From there the dirt road become a path called Balcone 1 and cross a fresh larch wood to reach in 50 minutes a junction marked with a wood panel: on the right in 40 minutes the Croce di San Giuseppe, on the left the Vallone di Desertes and the pass with Punta Gardiol. Go out from the larch wood following the path, look at the dolomite walls and Punta Gardiol, at the Chaberton and at the Cesana valley. Leave the path Balcone and continue on the right side to the stony ground and pass the military bivouac Rocchette.
The path turns into a simple but obvious trace in the stony ground and go up in ten curves to the Passo di Desertes (2553 m), passing in front of the charming bivouac N.VIII. From the Col that marks the limit with France there is a moonlike landscape on the high Plampinet Valley, on Desertes and on Sauze d’Oulx. Taking south direction, the path continues to the Rocca del Lago and the Pas de Chalance Ronde, taking north the steep path goes to Punta Clotesse (others 325 m height difference).
On the way back take the same itinerary or follow at 2338 m high on the last curve on the right the path taking south to the Colletto del Lago (2283 m). Leave the stony ground and go up east direction, on the alpine meadows between marmots, until the Faure Cross at the top of the Punta Gardiol (2340 m). From here there is a beautiful view on the Argentera Valley, la Rognosa of Sestriere and the Pic de Rochebrune.
From the cross, go down in north-west direction to the Lake of Desertes (at the end of summertime almost dry), follow the path Balcone 1, until crossing the path coming from the Passo of Desertes. From now the itinerary follow the one of the climbing until Pourachet