Grand Combin – 4 peak that are well-worth the challenge

The Grand Combin is a prominent mountain range located in the southwest of theValais region. It has four mountain peaks and is well-worth the challenge for hikers and mountaineers.

About the Grand Combin

Grand CombinWith several 4000 meter peaks, the Grand Combin has a real alpine character. Views are impressive no matter what face you are looking at. The Grand Combin is a mountain massif in the southwest of the Valais region consisting of four summits: Combin de Grafeneire (4314m), Combin de Valsorey (4184m), Aiguille du Croissant (4320m) and Combin de la Tsessette (4141m). Trails to the summit are long and demanding while the route to the summit remains long. There are no easy routes leading to the highest point. The “easiest” route was the one used by the first summitters through the “Corridor”, but in the last few years it has become too dangerous and is no longer recommended. A better option would be the NW Face,technically a little more advanced, but has less exposure to icefall. The first ascent took place in July 1859 by Charles Sainte-Claire Deville with Daniel, Emmanuel and Gaspard Balleys, and with Basile Dorsaz.

Accommodations around the Grand Combin

The region of the Grand Combin is a paradise for hikers and experienced mountaineers. The massif is surrounded by two valleys and several mountain huts, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out: Hotel Beau Sejour, located in Etroubles, one of the oldest and most beautiful medieval villages in Italy, also known for its "Open Air Museum", halfway between the city of Aosta and the Gran San Bernardo, along the historic Via Francigena, connection between Canterbury and Rome. Hotel Des Alpes, located at 1620 m high, surrounded by nature and ideal for relaxing and purifying stays, in one of the most evocative places of Valle d'Aosta. Hôtel Forclaz Touring, located at the heart of the city Martigny. Visit and discover landscapes of Valais. It has complete amenities that offers excellent stay.

Grand Combin camping

The Grand Combin campsite is located in Valpelline, a small town in the Western Pennine Alps. Its total surface reaches over 3 hectares. It is full of green stretches/enclaves with wide and shady pitches/encampments.

Val d’Entremont

One of the most popular places in Val d’Entremont is the Great St Bernard Pass, a mountain pass connecting
Martigny with Aosta and the wintersport destination, Verbier. This famous ski resort has a population of only 1800 inhabitants, but offers accommodation for 25,000 tourists year-round. Its splendid location with great skiing options makes it one of the most-traveled-to destinations in Switzerland during winter season.

Val de Bagnes

Val de Bagnes is connected to Val d’Entremont near Sembrancher. Though the views and alpine meadows are a terrific sight during summer season, it is not nearly as popular as Verbier.

Valsorey hut

Mountain hut - Valsorey HutThe Valsorey Hut is a mountain refuge owned by the Swiss Alpine Club, located at 3030 meters above sea level. It is situated on the southwestern slopes of the Grand Combin, the reason why it is often used as a starting place for a summit bid of the Grand Combin. The best way to reach the cabin is from Bourg-Saint-Pierre.

Cabane de Mont Fort

This mountain is located on the Haute route which leads walkers or skiers from Chamonix to Zermatt.The proximity of the lift system in Verbier Resort makes it a great spot for hikers and mountain bikers in summer and skiers and ski tourers in the winter months. Half board is available for 74 CHF per person per night or bed only is 34 CHF in the summer. During the winter the rates tend to be higher. Prices go up to 92 CHF half board and 52 CHF per person per night for a bed. Discounts are available for younger hikers and skiers or Alpine Club members.

Cabane FXB Panossière

Cabane FXB Panossière Cabane FXB Panossière, Photo by Genyphyr Novak
Located at an altitude of 2,641 m in the heart of the Combins massif, the Cabane FXB Panossière is named after the famous helicopter pilot and founder of Air-Glaciers, François-Xavier Bagnoud. The refuge offers a panoramic stop on magnificent hikes such as the Tour des Combins, the Tour du Val de Bagnes and the Chemin des cols alpins.

Cabane de Louvie

Mountain Hut - Cabane de LouvieThe hut of Louvie was built in 1997 in its current location. It is the property of the Bourgeoisie de Bagnes, managed by Anne Gattoni for several years, and hosted from June until the end of September by Claudia Filliez. The hut can be the meeting place of Tour du Val de Bagnes, tour des Grands Barrages or Chamonix – Zermatt.

Cabane de Chanrion

Mountain Hut - Cabane de ChanrionThe hut Chanrion, situated in the massif of Combins at the end of Val de Bagnes,is happy to welcome active travelers seeking the charms of this region. Discover the wealth of the fauna and the flora, admire the tops of Combins, and make it a stopping place during your haute-route Chamonix-Zermatt or the Tour des Combins. In the middle of a wild and protected nature, the host waits for you with his typical dishes.

Hiking in the Region of the Grand Combin

Hikers can choose from a wide range of hikes, varying from short valley hikes to multi-day adventures.

Tour des Combins

The Tour des Combins is a 6-day hike circumnavigating the Grand Combin massif. During this adventure, you will hike in Swiss and Italian territory. The trail is often started in Bourg-Saint-Pierre, but you can embark the journey at every trail stop. It is a challenging trail suited for experienced hikers as it crosses five valleys between Switzerland and Italy.

Walkers Haute Route

The Walkers Haute Route is a contestant for being the best hike in the Alps. This two-week trek from Chamonix to Zermatt leads you along the most impressive peaks from the Mont Blanc massif to the notorious Matterhorn, along 4000-meter peaks such as Grand Combin, Weisshorn and the Dom. This trail originated from the Haute Route skitouring route often done in April. Despite the fact that the official start is in Chamonix, lots of hikers skip the prelude to Argentière and start their adventure farther.

The Chamois hike

The intriguing Haut Val de Bagnes nature preserve at La Chaux is probably the best place to observe the chamois, ibexes and marmots against the gorgeous backdrop of the Combins Massif. The trail starts at La Chaux and ends 14.3 kilometers later in Fionnay. Since you will be gaining about 602 meters and descend twice as much, it’s not an easy hike. Fit hikers need about 5 hours to complete. Best time: July to September

Bisse du Levron

Bisse du Levron Bisse du Levron, Photo by Alain Rouiller
This trail, starting from Les Ruinettes, is 11 kilometers long and goes to the start of the Bisse du Levron, located above the gondola station. It is an easy trail that takes about 3 hours to complete. The mountain restaurants, Namasté, Marmotte and Marlénaz, offer a great break option.

Col des Otanes

A more strenuous option is the trail from Fionnay to Col des Otanes. Hikers need about 6 hours to reach the end in Mauvoisin, but fortunately the Cabane FXB Panossière, located halfway on the trail, is a great place to have a drink ora nice meal while enjoying the views.

Bisse de Corbassière

This trail is shorter option for the route to Col des Otanes. It starts in Fionnay and ends at Cabane FXB Panossière where one can spend the night before continuing the walk or returning to the village. To reach the cabin, take about 4 hours into account. The elevation change of nearly 1200 meters makes it a hard walk, not to be underestimated.

Things to do in the region of the Grand Combin

There are 400 km of hiking trails, making hiking one of the most popular activities in the region. Experienced hikers can follow the tracks of the chamois through this mountain world, which is covered in snow even in summer. For those looking for more action, there is climbing, paragliding down to the valley, and 200 km of mountain bike piste. A trip aboard the mountain railway to the peak of Mont Fort with its impressive panorama from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc is a must. Golfers will find two exciting courses and the modern sports center offers saunas, tennis, squash and curling whatever the weather.

Hiking with kids

Verbier benefits from numerous cableways and lifts all the way to the Mont Fort, making it a great region fors family-friendly hikes. The panoramic walk from Les Ruinettes to Savoleyres is a terrific option as it offers splendid views on the Grand Combin massif. The walk begins at Les Ruinettes, just under the upper station of the gondola.