Mont-Pourri seen from Mont Saint-Jacques (La Plagne) © French Moments
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Last Updated: 3 November 2018

The Mont Pourri is a mountain situated in the French Alps. At an altitude reaching 3,779 m (12,398 ft) above sea-level, it is the second highest peak of the Vanoise massif and the third of the département of Savoie.

The Mont Pourri, Savoie’s third highest peak

Mont Pourri © French Moments
Sunset over the Mont-Pourri seen from Granier © French Moments

The Mont Pourri is situated between the communes of Peisey-Nancroix and Villaroger near Bourg-Saint-Maurice.

The mountain dominates the Middle Tarentaise Valley but can also be seen from the higher parts of the valley between Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Val d’Isère.

The summit of the Mont Pourri was first reached by French mountain guide Michel Croz (1828-1865) on 4th October 1861.

The mountain was conquered again the following year by British alpinist William Mathews (1828-1901).

The Mont Pourri can be seen from the road from many vintage points from the valley (Aime) to the mountain villages of the Versant du Soleil (Granier, Valezan…). To have a peek at the mountain from a higher place, reach the Roche de Mio, the Aiguille Rouge by cable-car or the Beaufortain mountains (Pointe de Combe Bénite) on foot.

And this view of the Mont Pourri was taken from the summit of the Semnoz mountain near Annecy (66kms as the crow flies):

Mont Pourri from Semnoz © French Moments
Mont-Pourri seen from the Semnoz © French Moments

Why the name of Mont Pourri?

The Mont Pourri is French for the Rotten Mount or Decayed Mount). The less-than-flattering name means that it is often snubbed by alpinists who wrongly think the mountain is in bad condition and can be more dangerous that any surrounding peaks.

Mont Pourri © French Moments
Bad weather on Mont-Pourri © French Moments

They are many stories that attempt to explain the origins of the peak’s disgraceful name. They seem to have nothing to do with mouldy or loose rocks. It is more likely that the mount was called after a mountaineer called Pury, Pourrit or Purry. Legend has it that he would have climbed the peak a couple of centuries before Michel Croz. And would have given his own name to the summit.

Sunset on Mont-Pourri © French Moments
Sunset on Mont-Pourri © French Moments

Although prominent and clearly visible from the valley and when descending from the Little St. Bernard Pass, the Mont Pourri was curiously not referenced in maps until the 18th century. 

Where to find the Mont Pourri?

For more info about the province of Savoie, check out the Tourist Board of Savoie-Mont-Blanc.

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Discover the Mont Pourri, Vanoise's second highest peak © French Moments


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About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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