Grande Jorasses

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Grandes Jorasses

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Grandes Jorasses 45.868800, 6.988000

The Grandes Jorasses are located in the Mont Blanc massif between the Haute Savoie in France and the Aosta Valley in Italy. The mountain group is only slightly lower than its well-known neighbor, the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.

About the Grandes Jorasses

The Grandes Jorasses is a mountain group in the Mont Blanc massif of which the highest peak has an elevation of 4208 meters. The group is a collection of six summits linked by a 1 kilometer long ridge. The six summits are: Pointe Young (3996m), Punta Margherita (4066m), Punta Elena (4045m), Pointe Croz (4110m), Pointe Whymper (4184m) and Pointe Walker (4208m), the highest peak.

The first ascent of the Pointe Walker, the highest summit, took place in 1868 by Horace Walkerguided by Melchior Anderegg, Johann Jaun and Julien Grange. The group is best seen from the Italian side.

Accommodations in the Grandes Jorasses Region

The Grandes Jorasses is part of the Mont Blanc massif located on the France/Italy border. Both Chamonix and Courmayeur are great places to stay to explore the region around the Grandes Jorasses, with the Aosta Valley being the best, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Le Morgane, a 4-star hotel with the sporty atmosphere of Chamonix. The style and concept of the Morgane stand out from the traditional Alpine hotels.

Hotel Gustavia, located In the heart of Chamonix and very close to the train station you’ll find the Langley Hotel, a charming, comfortable, fifty-room hotel with great atmosphere and a marvelous view of Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc.

Hotel Mont-Blanc is the door way to  Chamonix Valley. Every morning, the hotel offers the happiness of waking up to the most beautiful summit, Mont Blanc.

Chamonix

Chamonix Valley
Chamonix, Photo by Matthew Roberts

This valley in the Haute Savoie is one of the top destinations in the French Alps for hiking, paragliding, biking and as a starting base for the ascent of Mont Blanc. The reputation of this large village mainly comes from the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. This was the birth of mountaineering as we know it today. The main street is full of bars, restaurants and outdoor shops offering the best gear for your hiking or climbing adventure. Accommodations in Chamonix are – as you can expect – pricey. The many campsites offer a budget alternative; but for thoselooking for a cheaper place to stay, the neighboring villages of Argentière and Les Houches are your best choices.

Courmayeur

Courmayeur
Courmayeur, Photo by Franco_F_a

Courmayeur is to Italy what Chamonix is to France. It is the base for Mont Blanc ascents on the Italian side of the massif. The village is situated at the end of the Aosta Valley, near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Views of Mont Blanc are more impressive from Courmayer due to the steeper Italian face. Accommodationsare similar to those in Chamonix.

Camper van rest areas in the Aosta Valley

Camper van rest areas offer places where you can load water and unload your dirty water. On some occasions,electricity is available, along with bathrooms with showers. Sometimes there are facilities such as a hotel, bar, restaurant or a minimarket nearby. In the Grandes Jorasses area, these type of rest areas can be found in the Cogne Valley, Rhemes and Savarenche valleys, the Orco valley and the Soana Valley.

Argentière Hut

Mountain Hut - Argentière HutThe Argentière Refuge is located at an impressive altitude of 2771 meters. It offers views of the full Mont Blanc range, including its highest peak. It accommodates 91 people, and rooms cost 30 euros per night or 65 euros (half board). The refuge is often used for long distance hiking and the skitouring trails between Argentière and Zermatt, also known as the Haute Route. The refuge is open in the summer and from February to May, the latter period offering beds toskitouring visitors.

Albert Premier Refuge

Albert Premier RefugeThe slightly larger Albert Premier Refuge (140 beds) is situated besides the Le Tour glacier. It is a great goal for a short day hike, a nice stopover to the glacier, or the neighboring peaks of Aiguille du Tour, Aiguille d’Argentière, Les Drus and the Aiguilles Rouges. The refuge is only manned in the summer season but is open year-round. It is owned by the CAF, the Club Alpin France. Getting to the hut is easy by taking the Charamillon gondola from Le Tour and the Col de Balme chairlift. This helps you gain a lot of altitude in a short amount of time and reduces the hiking time to 1hour 30minutes. Those who want to go on a longer hike can follow the trails to Col de Balme underneath the cable car  (strenuous, add 3 hours).

Refuge des Cosmiques

Refuge des CosmiquesThe Refuge des Cosmiques is located on the shoulder between Col du Midi and the southwest ridge of Aiguille du Midi. This makes it the closest mountain hut to the peak and the second highest in the French Alps. Located at an altitude of 3593 meters, it is often used as a starting base for Mont Blanc ascents (Three Monts route) . The hut has about 140 beds at 42 euros (breakfast included) to 66 euro (half pension).

Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille

The Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille is easily reachable by getting off at the first stop of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (Plan d’Aiguille). Not only is this a great place to start your hike, but the overlook views over the Chamonix Valley also make it a great place for lunch. There is one room with ten beds available, even in the winter season. Owners, Claude and Marie-Noelle, accommodate visitors at 2207 meters of altitude. Spending the night here costs 24 euro per person or 54 euros with meals included. Wifi is available and pets are allowed as well.

Hiking in the Grandes Jorasses Region

Tour de Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, Photo by Ange Traverso

The Tour de Mont Blanc is a 10-day trek around the Mont Blanc massif crossing three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Since it’s regarded as the most beautiful trek in Europe, the number of hikers can get high during the peak season. While most people start their hike in neighboring Chamonix, the village of Argentière is an often-used stop.

Aiguilles des Posettes

This short 5.8-kilometer hike has great rewards. From the Tre le Champs carpark, you can follow your way up to “Aiguilette via la crète”. It is rough and strenuous trail gaining 750m of ascent, but there is a real summit as a goal. Besides having reached an alpine summit, the views over the Chamonix valley are breathtaking. On clear days it is possible to get a panoramic view all the way to the Jungfrau region. You have the option to hike the same way down or use the Vallorcine gondola; however, this option will require a car shuttle.

Grand Balcon Sud

This 13.6-kilometer trail leads you through the Reserve Naturelle des Aiguille Rouges. Despite the strenuous start, the hike is relatively easy and flat. You will get views over the entire valley and have plenty of opportunities to spot an ibex. To enlarge your chances, head off early in the morning! Descending back to the valley floor can be done by taking the Flegere lift down.

Col de la Croix

This 3-hour hike leads to the Col de la Croix, located at an elevation of 2380m. It enters the valley of Arpy before climbing the col. Descending is possible via the Plan Praz (2057m) and the village of Theraz.

Things to do in the Grandes Jorasses Region

The cable car leading to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is without doubt the top tourist attraction in Chamonix. Return tickets cost about 58 euros. From this point, you can take an elevator through the rocks of the peak to a viewing platform, some 42 meter higher. Here, you get to see Mont Blanc up close. On clear days, views of the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa are admirable. The restaurant is a great place to have lunch before taking the Panoramic Mont Blanc tramway to Hellbronner on the Italian side of the massif; you can descend all the way to Courmayeur. This makes it possible to start this journey in Courmayeur as well.

Another main tourist attraction on the French side of the massif is the Mer the Glace train to Montenvers. It departs from the Chamonix train station and leads to the famous Mer de Glace, a glacier between Aiguille du Midi and Les Drus that used to reach all the way to the valley base.

The Chamonix valley is a hotspot for thrillseeking adventurers. Challenging peaks are the playground for experienced mountaineers while the air streams offer great conditions for paragliders.

Hiking with kids

Hiking with children around the Mont Blanc massif may seem difficult due to the altitude difference; however, there quite a few trails suitable for families. Fortunately, cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you. Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned.

Aiguille d’Argentière – Lesser known peak in the Chamonix valley

AIGUILLE D’ARGENTIÈRE
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Aiguille d’Argentière

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Aiguille d’Argentière 45.959800, 7.020300

Mont Blanc is probably the best-known mountain in the Chamonix valley, but the Mont Blanc massif has many peaks with a dramatic look over the valley. The Aiguille d’Argentière is one of the lesser known peaks at the less-crowded end of the valley offering great trails for active travelers.

About the Aiguille d’Argentière

AIGUILLE D’ARGENTIÈREThe Aiguille d’Argentière is a 3902-meters high peak in the Mont Blanc massif near Chamonix. The peak is located near the village of Argentière at the end of the Chamonix valley in the Haute Savoie, France. It was first ascended by Edward Whymper, A. Reilly, M. Croz, M. Payot and H. Charlet on July 15th, 1864. Nowadays, the glacier milieu is regarded as the easiest route to the summit of Aiguille d’Argentière. For this reason it’s a popular ski mountaineering route. Only the last 200 meters to the summit are a bittechnical. Climbs often start from the Grand Montets Hut or the Argentière Hut.

Accommodations around the Aiguille d’Argentière

The valley of Chamonix is one of the hotspots in the French Alps. The Mont Blanc massif is home to several hiking trails, offering splendid views to day hikers and diehards. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Boutique Hotel Le Morgane, combines the refinement of a 4-star hotel with the lively air of Chamonix. The style and idea of the Morgane emerge from the customary Alpine inns.

Hôtel de L’Arve lies in a stunning setting amidst Brévent, Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles de Chamonix in the heart of town. Peace and quiet guaranteed as the hotel stands at the end of a cul-de-sac near the Arve River by footpaths for relaxing strolls or more challenging steep hikes up to the mountain peaks.

Hôtel Mont-Blanc is the must address to visit in the valley of Chamonix. Every morning, the hotel offers the pleasure of waking up facing the most beautiful peak, the Mont Blanc. After the exhilaration of the summits, you can dive into the outdoor heated pool all year long. Unless if you prefer to relax in the 250m2 spa by Clarins’. Round off the day with a gourmet break at Matafan, where every dish on the seasonal menu invites you to partake in a moment of sharing and conviviality.

Argentière

While most people spend their holiday in sometimes over-crowded Chamonix, Argentière some 10 kilometers further is the closest village to the Aiguille d’Argentière. This small village may not have the same reputation as Chamonix, but it still is a popular ski resort in winter and a great base for hikers in the summer season. It is located close to the Swiss border and the cable cars leading to the nearby mountain ranges facilitate access to more difficult trails. There are some nice hotels in Chamonix as well as a campsite with views of Mont Blanc.

Argentière Hut

Mountain Hut - Argentière HutThe Argentière Refuge is located at an impressive altitude of 2771 meters. It offers views of the full Mont Blanc range, including its highest peak. It accommodates 91 people, and rooms cost 30 euros per night or 65 euros (half board). The refuge is often used for long distance hiking and the skitouring trails between Argentière and Zermatt, also known as the Haute Route. The refuge is open in the summer and from February to May, the latter period offering beds toskitouring visitors.

Albert Premier Refuge

Albert Premier RefugeThe slightly larger Albert Premier Refuge (140 beds) is situated besides the Le Tour glacier. It is a great goal for a short day hike, or a nice stopover to the glacier or the neighbouring peaks of Aiguille du Tour, Aiguille d’Argentière, Les Drus and the Aiguilles Rouges. The refuge is only manned in the summer season but is open year-round. It is owned by the CAF, the Club Alpin France. Getting to the hut is easy by taking the Charamillon gondola from Le Tour and the Col de Balme chairlift. This helps you gain a lot of altitude in a short amount of time and reduces the hiking time to 1h30minutes. Those who want to go on a longer hike, can follow the trails to Col de Balme underneath the cable car as (strenuous, add 3 hours).

Col de Balme refuge

Col de Balme refugeThe Col de Balme refuge (2191m) is a mountain hut located on the border between France and Switzerland. Due to its location on the col, you will be granted views of France as well as Switzerland. Col de Balme is a popular stop for hikers attempting the Tour de Mont Blanc or Walkers Haute Route, and provides refreshments to day hikers as well. Getting there is easy with the aid of the Charamillon gondola and the Col de Balme chairlift (5 minutes) or with a strenuous uphill hike (3 hours).

Hiking around the Aiguille d’Argentière

The Chamonix valley has lured tourists and active travelers ever since Mont Blanc was ascended and the mountaineering sport was born. There are numerous of trails in the region just waiting to be explored. All of them are rewarding and challenging at times, but no matter what, hiking in the Mont Blanc region is an experience to treasure.

Tour de Mont Blanc

The Tour de Mont Blanc is a 10-day trek around the Mont Blanc massif crossing three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Since it’s regarded as the most beautiful trek in Europe, the number of hikers can get high during the peak season. While most people start their hike in neighbouring Chamonix, the village of Argentière is an often-used stop.

Walkers Haute Route

The Walkers Haute Route is a contestant for 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 originates from the Haute Route skitouring route and is often done in April. Despite the fact that the official start is in Chamonix, a lot of hikers skip the prelude to Argentière and start their adventure on the latter one.

Aiguilles des Posettes

This short 5.8-kilometer hike has great rewards. From the Tre le Champs carpark, you can follow your way up to “Aiguilette via la crète”. It is rough and strenuous trail gaining 750m of ascent, but there is a real summit as a goal. Besides having reached an alpine summit, the views over the Chamonix valley are breathtaking. On clear days it’s possible to get a panoramic view all the way to the Jungfrau region. You have the option to hike the same way down or use the Vallorcine gondola; however, this option will require a car shuttle.

Grand Balcon Sud

Grand Balcon Sud
Grand Balcon Sud, Photo by Michael Wahlin

This 13.6-kilometer trail leads you through the Reserve Naturelle des Aiguille Rouges. Despite the strenuous start of the trail, the hike is relatively easy and flat. You will get views over the entire valley and have plenty of opportunities to spot an ibex. To enlarge your chances, head off early in the morning! Descending back to the valley floor can be done by taking the Flegere lift down.

Glacier d’Argentière

Glacier d’Argentière
Glacier d’Argentière, Photo by Snowbird1972

The nearby glacier d’Argentière is an impressive sight. This trail starting from the car park in Argentière is not an easy one as it leads all the way up to the glacier, locating a little over 2700 meters. The route starts by following the trail to Refuge de Lognan, where refreshments are available. If the hike is a bit too challenging, there are plenty of viewpoints more easily reachable as well that offer spectactular views of the seracs of the glacier.

Petit Balcon Nord

Petit Balcon NordThis hiking trail beneath Chamonix and Le Tour is situated some 200 meters above the valley floor. However, the lack ofelevation differences along the way make it a trail doable for everyone. Bus services in between Chamonix, Argentière and Le Tour make it easy to return to the starting point. Most of the trail leads to the forested flanks of the Aiguille rouges.

Lac Noir

The other side of the valley offers splendid views of Aguille du Midi and Mont Blanc. The hike to Lac Noir (2540m) is not an easy one, but has great rewards. From Col Cornu, you head towards Col de Gliere via a marked path. To complete the trail, it requires about 2h30minutes from PlanPraz. The lake is a beautiful but not crowded picnic setting since it’s often partially covered in snow and ice.

Things to do around the Aiguille d’Argentière

The Chamonix valley is a hotspot for thrillseeking adventurers. Challenging peaks are the playground for experienced mountaineers while the air streams offer great conditions for paragliders. Active travelers will feel at home here, but for those looking for an effortless day in the valley, there are a few options. The Aguille du Midi in Chamonix has a cable car leading all the way to its 3842-meters high summit. It offers not only great views of Mont Blanc, but it also has a museum as well about the history of the Aguille and its tall neighbor. The small train to Montenenvers is a great alternative. It leads from the Chamonix station to Montenvers, at the base of the Mer de Glace glacier.

Hiking with kids near Aiguille d’Argentière

Mountain Hut - Lac Blanc hutHiking with children near the Aiguille d’Argentière or in the French Alps may seem difficult due to the altitude differences, however there quite a few trails suitable for families. Fortunately, cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you.
Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned. Another option is the the hike along the Petit Balcon Sud, a relatively flat trail high above the valley floor.

Aiguille du Midi – best view on Mont Blanc

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Aiguille du Midi

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Aiguille du Midi 45.879300, 6.887400

Aiguille du Midi is a mountain peak in the Mont Blanc massif dominating the skyline from the village center of Chamonix, France. Reaching 3842 meters in altitude with accessibilty by cable car from the center of Chamonix, it is one of the closest places one can get to Mont Blanc without having to climb it.

About Aiguille du Midi

For more than 50 years, Aiguille du Midi has been the highlight of Chamonix. With an altitude of 3842 meters, Mont Blanc’s little brother offers a splendid view over the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Aiguille is French for “needle,” and when you see the peak you will understand why they call it thisname. Every year, about half a million people visit the Aiguille du Midi by cable car, reaching the summit in two stages. A viewing platform on top offers a panoramic shot of the Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alps and a restaurant. On clear days, it’s even possible to see the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa massif, some 200km away. The peak was first succesfully climbed in 1818.

Accommodations around the Aguille du Midi

The Aguille du Midi is part of the Mont Blanc massif located on the France/Italy border. Both Chamonix and Courmayeur are great places to stay to explore the region around the Aiguille du Midi, with Chamonix being the best. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Chamonix Lodge owned and operated by mountain lovers! Whether you are here to take part in the numerous winter and summer outdoor activities or just for sightseeing, we want you to feel the love that we have for the amazing town of Chamonix and the stunning mountains that surround us.

Hôtel Le Chamonix is located in the center of Chamonix, 50 meters from the tourist office and bus stops that will take you to the foot of the slopes of Chamonix. You will have close to the hotel all the shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs to relax after a good day of skiing. Most of the rooms are facing Mont Blanc and you can admire from your bed the beautiful landscapes of this mountain range.

Hotel Gustavia is a significant landmark in the Chamonix valley. Many of our rooms has a fantastic view of Chamonix’s greatest attraction, Mont Blanc. With its 4810 meters it is the highest summit in western Europe.

Chamonix

The valley in the Haute Savoie is one of the top destinations in the French Alps for hiking, paragliding, biking and as a starting base for the ascent of Mont Blanc. The reputation of this large village mainly comes from the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. This was the birth of mountaineering as we know it today. The main street is full of bars, restaurants and outdoor shops offering the best gear for your hiking or climbing adventure. Accommodations in Chamonix is – as you can expect – pricey. The many campsites offer a budget alternative but for thoselooking for a cheaper place to stay; the neighbouring villages of Argentière and Les Houches are your best choices.

Courmayeur

Courmayeur is to Italy what Chamonix is to France. It is the base for Mont Blanc ascents on the Italian side of the massif. The village is situated at the end of the Aosta Valley, near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Views of Mont Blanc are more impressive from Courmayer due to the steeper Italian face. Accommodationsare similar to those in Chamonix.

Refuge des Cosmiques

Refuge des CosmiquesThe Refuge des Cosmiques is located on the shoulder between Col du Midi and the southwest ridge of Aiguille du Midi. This makes it the closest mountain hut near the peak and the second highest in the French Alps. Located at an altitude of 3593 me it is ters often used as a starting base for Mont Blanc ascents (Three Monts route) . The hut has about 140 beds at 42 euros (breakfast included) to 66 euro (half pension).

Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille

Refuge du Plan d’AiguilleThe Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille is easily reachable by getting off at the first stop of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (Plan d’Aiguille). Not only is this a great place to start your hike, but the overlook views over the Chamonix Valley make it a great place for lunch. There is one room with ten beds available, even in the winter season. Owners, Claude and Marie-Noelle, accommodate visitors at 2207 meters of altitude. Spending the night here costs 24 euro per person or 54 euros with meals included. Wifi is available and pets are allowed as well.

Refuge du Lac Bleu

Refuge du Lac BleuThis mountain hut can be found in the heart of the Aiguille Rouges mountain range close to Lac Bleu, a popular hiking destination. This makes the refuge a popular lunch stopover during a hike to Lac Bleu. Besides lunchtime meals, the 2352-meter high mountain hut can accommodate up to 40 people. The hut can easily be reached from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station.

Bellachat Refuge

Bellachat RefugeThe Bellachat Refuge is a very basic mountain cabin at 2152 meters of altitude. There are no hot showers and the only restroom is an outside toilet. Three dormitories are available for overnightsside by side, and you should bring your own sheets. Still, the Bellachat refuge is a popular place to visit due to its exceptional views of Mont Blanc. The sunny terrace is a great place for a lunch stop. Lunch includes typical alpine food such as homemade soups, salads, local cheeses, meat and blueberry tarts.

Hiking around the Aiguille du Midi

Plan d’Aiguille, the first stop on the Aiguille du Midi Cable car at 2207 meters, is a popular hiking starting point. Walks along the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers, Lac Bleu or descending to Chamonix valley are among the best to explore the area.

Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers

The hike starts from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station and leads via the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers, near Mer de Glace. Most people hike the trail one-way before returning on the Montenvers scenic train to Chamonix station. The hike takes about 2.5 hours and is a great way to admire the impressive mountain ranges of Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc.

Lac Bleu trail

Views of the Mont Blanc massif from Lac Blue are found on many postcards sold on the village streets. Needless to say,Lac Bleu is a popular hiking destination for active travelers. The lake itself is not big nor that impressive, but it’s the way there and the views on the nearby Mont Blanc that makeit worthwhile. Hiking from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station requires only a 15-minute walk, making it an option for families with children.

Hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets

Another, though more challenging, hike from Plan d’Aiguille is the 3.5-hours hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets. The hut is located just above 3000 meters making for a big ascent and requiring glacier crossing. It is a popular route in winter for ski descents from Mont Blanc.

Lac Noir

Lac Noir
Lac Noir, Photo by Philippe Saire

The other side of the valley offers splendid views of Aguille du Midi and Mont Blanc. The hike to Lac Noir (2540m) is not an easy one, but has great rewards. From Col Cornu, you head towards Col de Gliere via a marked path. To complete the trail, it requires about 2 hours and 30minutes from PlanPraz. The lake is a beautiful but not very crowded picnic setting since it’s often partially covered in snow and ice.

Tour du Mont Blanc

The tour du Mont Blanc is a multi-day hike often completed in ten days. This is one of the best options for experienced hikers with enough time during their holidays, and is regarded as one of the best hikes in Europe. The trail contours around the Mont Blanc massif and crosses three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Nights are spent in mountain huts or accommodations in the valleys. The many different angleson Mont Blanc make it a hike with diverse views.
Hiking with kids
Hiking with children in the French Alps may seem difficult due to the altitude difference, however there quite a few trails suitable for families. Fortunately, cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you. Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned.

Things to do around the Aiguille du Midi

The cable car leading to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is without doubt the top tourist attraction in Chamonix. Return tickets cost about 58 euros. From this point, you can take an elevator through the rocks of the peak to a viewing platform, some 42 meter higher. Here, you get to see Mont Blanc up close. On clear days, views of the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa are admirable. The restaurant is a great place to have lunch before taking the Panoramic Mont Blanc tramway to Hellbronner on the Italian side of the massif; you can descend all the way to Courmayeur.
Another main tourist attraction is the Mer the Glace train to Montenvers. It departs from the Chamonix train station and leads to the famous Mer de Glace, a glacier between Aiguille du Midi and Les Drus, that used to reach all the way to the valley base.

Grande Casse

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Grande Casse

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Grande Casse 45.405300, 6.827500

Facts About Grande Casse

Grande Casse is a mountain found at the Vanoise range in Savoie, France. Standing at 3855m above sea level. This is the range’s highest point. The peak is occasionally noted as Vanoise’s answer to the Mont Blanc massif’s king of white peaks, the Mont Blanc. Hikers enjoy trekking by the north face since it is easy compared to some peaks in adjacent massifs.

How to get to the peak of Grande Casse?

So you are driving from the Geneva Airport, for example. Google Maps teach you how by clicking here. Summit Post has an alternative though. Drive towards Albertville via A43. Drive at least 27km on Route de Tarentaise towards Moutiers next. You will reach Brides les Bains to the right. Reach Bozel and Pralognan next 26km after. There is a parking lot by Pralognan in Les Fontanettes. Prepare for the uphill climb by foot.

Traverse the teleski along the GR55 trail. You will get to Cabane des Barmettes at 2010m above sea level. Cross the Glière torrent. Reach Chalets de la Glière. Climb towards the Pont de Chanton first and the Lac des Vaches next. Pass by the left side to reach the Aiguille de la Vanoise. You get to Refuge du Col de la Vanoise at this point. Stop over for the night to prepare for the early morning climb.

Getting to the summit takes you from the hut to the stonefield. This leads you to Glacier des Grand Couloirs. Reach for the tong at the right shore to go up. Turn left to traverse over several crevasses. Get to the middle of the glacier to walk towards the right bank. Reach the Col des Grand Couloirs. The main peak is just right behind this landmark. Enjoy the view of the entire French Alps from this spot.

What to expect at Grande Casse?

The path along Lac des Vaches turns into an icy swamp in June. This is the first part of summer. Summer in this area spans from June to September. Campsites at Le Chamois and Le Parc Isertan offer alternatives to the huts as stop overs. For details, contact Parc de la Vanoise at 04 79 62 30 54.

Aiguille de Triolet

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Aiguille de Triolet

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Aiguille de Triolet 45.916900, 7.024600

Facts About Aiguille de Triolet.

Aiguille de Triolet stands at 3870m above sea level at the Mont Blanc massif. This stood between the boundary of Aosta Valley in Italy and Haute Savoie in France. A rather complex peak to climb. It split the basins of Argentiere in the north and the Talefre in the west through its big glaciers at the French side of the mountain. The peak started a massif that included Aiguille Verte, Les Droits and Les Courtes.

How to reach the peak of Aiguille de Triolet?

Drive from Train du Montenvers-Mer de Glace in Chamonix. Follow the path from Place de la Mer towards Avenue Cachat le Geant, about 120m. Turn right to the D1506 part of Avenue Cachat le Geant. Continue driving by 29m. Drive straight ahead by 6.2 km. You will reach Refuge du Couvercle shortly. This is your last stop over before traversing the path towards the peak.

If you would rather start from Refuge d’Argentière, simply follow the same directions as the ones written in the Aiguille d’Argentière article. There is also a summit station. Hop into a cable car on the summit station at Aiguille des Grands Montets. You will reach Col des Grandes Montets. Walk by a bergschrund. Make sure to hand on to the rope by the Glacier Rognons. You reach P.300 to P.2754m then by the Glacier d’Argentière just above the ice break. Walk 2 more hours to reach the Refuge.

What to expect at Aiguille de Triolet?

Apart from the previously mentioned huts, you can choose other stop overs. When taking the Italian side, Bivouac Fiorio and Refugio Dalmazzi are the stop overs. Specific directions based on chosen hut are found here.

Pic Sans Nom

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Pic Sans

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Pic Sans 44.893800, 6.383100

Facts About Pic Sans Nom.

Pic Sans Nom is literally translated as “Nameless Peak”. Standing at 3914m above sea level. This peak is included in the Pelvoux-Ailefroides Group within the Ecrins massif. The High Dauphine Alps in France also includes this summit. Compared to Barres des Ecrins, this peak is at the southeast part of the massif in the Alps. The usual route leads to the north face just above the Glacier Noir.

How to get to the peak of Pic Sans Nom?

The Glacier Noir is the main landmark used to get to several peaks in the Pelvoux-Ailefroides Group including Barres des Ecrins and Ailefroide. The closest stopover from the Glacier Noir is the Cezanne hut. Just follow the sequence of Durance Valley – Argentière – Vallouise – Ailefroide to reach the hut.

From the Cezanne hut, go to the Glacier Noir by foot. Bring crampons and ice axe to climb the rock ledge in this glacier. Avoid the big gully found at the right side of the north face. Rocks fall from there. Be safe at all times. Use your tools to connect to the bolt found at the start of the part. Expect some time spent looking for that bolt. It will be worth it. You then get to the buttress in the center of the north face upwards. From here, you reach the head of the buttress and soon the peak itself.

What to expect at the Pic Sans Nom?

Don’t risk walking farther from the spot where the bolt should be. Your guide will help you find it especially if he is familiar with hidden bolts in the Glacier Noir. There are bolts in the route itself. Don’t go in unfamiliar spots especially in areas where rocks fall.

Aiguilles de Trélatéte

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Aiguilles de Trélatéte

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Aiguilles de Trélatéte 45.794700, 6.815000

Facts About Aiguilles de Trélatéte.

Aiguilles de Trélatéte is a mountain right between the boundary of the Italian Alps and the French Alps. Standing at 3920m above sea level. Its Italian address is at Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley), Italy. And its French address is at Haute Savoie, France. It is more often climbed from the Italian side despite being on the west side of the Mont Blanc massif.

How to get to the peak of Aiguilles de Trélatéte?

Before reaching the peak, you must reach one of the huts to stop over first. Recommended hut is the Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini. Start by driving from the La Visaille. Cross the bridge to the closed car road. That route takes about 3 km. You will reach the Combal plain from here. (You can stop at a bar restaurant here before moving on with the drive.) From here you see and get to the glacial Lac Miage.

Cross the bridge on the left side where you may park the car. Cross the dirt road on the plain. The road is almost horizontal. Once you reach the end of the plain, follow the trail towards a couple of steep turns. You then reach the hut just below the Pyramides spur. This is your stopover before the peak itself.

What to expect at Aiguilles de Trélatéte?

Regardless of the route taken to the top, you need to be in complete mountain gear. Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini is one of the stopovers. Other notable stopovers are the Giovane Montagna and Hotellerie de Trélatête. Only the latter is found on the French side of the mountain though.

Mont Pelvoux

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Mont Pelvoux

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Mont Pelvoux 44.898800, 6.399900

Facts About Mont Pelvoux.

Mont Pelvoux is a mountain mistaken as the highest peak found in the Ecrins massif. This is because if viewed from the Durance Valley, you don’t see the Barres des Ecrins.  Barres des Ecrins is found right behind Mont Pelvoux. Standing at 3946m above sea level. This is located at the High Dauphine Alps in Dauphine, France. One of the most complicated summits to reach in the French Alps.

How to get to the peak of Mont Pelvoux?

There are two huts often used as stopovers before reaching the one. One is the Pelvoux hut. And the other is the Sele hut. You may have read about the Sele hut at our article about Ailefroide. Similarities in path traversed exist. Just adjust depending on your choice of hut to stop for the night. Summit Post provided the particular latitude to follow at  N 44° 52′ 57” E 006° 24′ 20.

What to expect at Mont Pelvoux?

Due to its proximity to the Ailefroide, climbing this mountain after the other makes the stopovers useful. Pelvoux hut has a capacity of at least 58 persons. But make sure to contact the reservations desk to book a night or two. Contact them through their landline number at 04 92 23 39 47. The hut is only open between the 15th of June and the 8th of September.

Ailefroide

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Ailefroide

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Ailefroide 44.885000, 6.356100

Facts About Ailefroide.

Ailefroide is a mountain found at the Ecrins massif, High Dauphine Alps, France. Standing at 3954m above sea level. This is the third peak in the same massif where La Meije and Barres des Ecrins are found. Its other name is L’ailefroide. As one of the rather complicated peaks in the French Alps, walking is the best way to tread your way to the summit. Traversing options range from the snowy paths to the challenging rock and ice route. It consists of 3 faces. The northwest face above Coste Rouge Glacier, the north face above Glacier Noir and the south face just above the Ailefroide Glacier.

How to get to the peak of Ailefroide?

The easiest route is at the Ailefroide Orientale by the southwest ridge. Best climbed in summertime. One of the last stopovers before the peak is the Sele hut. To reach the Sele hut, start walking from the small chapel of the village right on the main street. Walk towards the junction north ward. Upon reaching the junction, turn left. You will reach the camping area adjacent to a car park. The car park is located close to a sign that says “Refuge du Sele, Refuge du Pelvoux and Claphouse”.

Climb the zig-zag route towards another junction. The road has loops so be careful. You go past the corner leading to the Refuge du Pelvoux. The route to the Sele hut is straight ahead though. You will see the hut itself on the right hand side of the valley. Stop here for the night for the early morning trek to the peak.

What to expect at Ailefroide?

If you originally booked a trip to climb Barres des Ecrins, this might show up as a suggestion. Alternatives to the Sele Hut (or Refuge du Sele as some pamphlets say) are the Pilatte hut and the Carrelet hut. The bivouac option is found at the Occidental Ailefroide.

La Meije

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La Meije

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La Meije 45.004800, 6.308200

Facts About La Meije

La Meije is a mountain located at the High Dauphine Alps at La Grave, France. Same group as that of Barres des Ecrins along the Ecrins massif. Standing at 3983m above sea level. It is one of the steep mountains to traverse in this side of the French Alps. The sturdy rock is an excellent way to apply your mixed climbing skills with fellow hikers. Other mountaineers won’t mince their words in describing this mountain as “difficile”. The view from the top makes it a worthwhile climb though.

How to get to the top of Le Meije?

Best starting point? Take the train by the Geneva Airport. Hop off at the Grenoble Station. So whenever you may be coming from, ideal starting point is at Grenoble. Drive from Grenoble to enter A480 via Avenue Felix Viallet. Turn to the N85. You then reach D1091 towards Les Freaux in La Grave. Drive further to reach D233T. From here, you stop at the Refuge Promontory. Stop over this refuge to prepare for the hike up to the summit.

What to expect at La Meije?

What made La Meije a little notorious was the lack of nut placements. Never try climbing this peak without friends experienced in this terrain. Route guides are usually accessible to help you around this massif-based mountain. Still, be ready with the right crampons, axe and rope.

Barres des Ecrins

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Barres des Ecrins

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Barres des Ecrins 44.922500, 6.360000

Facts About Barres des Ecrins.

Barres des Ecrins is a mountain located in France. Standing at 4101m above sea level. This is the southernmost peak found in the High Dauphine Alps. Hikers climb this peak to get an external view of the Mont Blanc and other peaks as far as the Italian Alps. As the tallest peak found in the National Park. It is subject to certain rules like “No dogs in the park”.

How to get to the top of Barres des Ecrins?

Drive from Pre de Madame Carle for about 4 hours at least to the Ecrins Refuge. From here, walk towards the left side across the Glacier Noir. Summit Post described this path as “across the avalanche debris from the seracs”. You then walk towards the Bergschrund at the foot of the mountain. With the route going 50 to 60 degrees, rock climbing is inevitable towards the saddle. Cross this saddle to trek the main path atop the Ecrins. If the weather conditions are favorable, go up the east ridge. Otherwise, follow the path leading to the Dome de Neige. You reach the peak by the west ridge this way.

What to expect at the Barres des Ecrins?

Speaking of rock climbing, bring a pair of axes, some ice screws, crampons and a GoPro camer. Tuck the GoPro to your chest outside the parka or wind jacket. Book as early as possible in the Ecrins Refuge. The hut is open only between April 13 and May 19 and between June 1 and September 1.

Aiguille Verte

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Aiguille Verte

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Aiguille Verte 45.934900, 6.970000

Facts About Aiguille Verte.

Aiguille Verte is found in the same city as the Mont Blanc massif right in Haute Savoie, France. This mountain stands at 4122m above sea level. Tourists come here as it is one of the top skiing summits today. You start at the point though is found at Valais, Switzerland. Its beauty rivaled the views from the summit of Mont Blanc itself and Grande Jorasses.

How to get to the summit of Aiguille Verte?

Take the route towards Refuge du Couvercle starting from Montenvers. Hike towards Refuge d’Envers de Aiguilles. Go down to the western side of Mer de Glace. This path leads you to Les Echelles. Walking takes about 20 minutes at least. Climb another glacier on the western side. Take the southeastern direction from here to Les Moulins. Focus your trek towards south then east of the steep trail to Les Egralets. A climbing track towards the hut just below the Flammes de Pierre. This spot is at the end of the Aiguille du Moine. You will find Refuge du Couvercle on this path. Never take this route based on weather forecast and updates about climate conditions in this area.

What to expect at Aiguille Verte?

Weather conditions on the trail towards the summit of Aiguille Verte. Trekking this mountain is dangerous if traversed on the wrong day. Meteo France constantly posts updates for you to view. Please subscribe to their RSS feed as needed. Train rides can take you to the best stopovers possible. The Chamonix website provides routes by car for your convenience.