Try a new adventure in Chamonix with a Cicerone guidebook
Chamonix Mountain Adventures
by Hilary Sharp
Handy guidebook to mountain activities based in Chamonix in the French Alps. Selections of graded routes described for walking, trekking, mountaineering, mountain biking, road cycling, via ferratas, rock climbing and bouldering, with clear advice for novices for each activity. Adventures to fill an exciting trip for everyone to the Chamonix area. More...
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Start/Finish Pont de l’Ile 1000m
Terrain Steep tracks and small paths, some of which can be muddy and some of which are very eroded near the summit.
High point Mont Joly 2525m
Altitude gain 1525m
Map IGN Top 25 3531 OT Megève
Parking Turn off the main road at a sign to La Chapelle. Follow the road around right to Les Hoches. Park at the bridge just beyond – Pont de l’Ile.
Mont Joly is seen from so many places in the Arve valley that it goes without question that it must be a fine belvedere and indeed it is one of the best. It’s almost true to say that what you can’t see from here isn’t worth seeing - close up are the Dômes de Miage and the Aiguilles de Tré-la-Tête, de Bionnassay, du Goûter and des Glaciers, Mont Blanc, of course, and beyond are the Beaufortain, Vanoise and Ecrins massifs.
Sadly, the walk itself isn’t quite so prestigious as it takes wide tracks and small paths through an area largely sacrificed to skiing. However, the views really do make this route worthwhile, so enjoy the nice parts (notably some pleasant pastoral hamlets) and ignore the rest.
It is possible to continue on from the summit along the narrow ridge. However, the route as a there and back is already long enough for most people.
From the car park take the track signed to Pocherey, heading west. This leads up through meadows and soon arrives at the pretty hamlet of Le Carteyron. Don’t be distracted here - it’s very easy to miss the signpost indicating a steep four-wheel drive track which is signed to Pocherey and takes off from behind the chalets.
Keep following the track and eventually you’ll reach the ridge that separates Les Contamines from Megève.The immediate surroundings are rather compromised by ski lifts and associated junk, but lift your eyes and admire that fabulous view of the massif.
Head up the ridge, at first on a good steep path, which becomes less worn after a path heads off rightwards. Stay on the small ridge path to a flat area where a wide track heads off right. Don’t take this, go on to the top of a chairlift. Beyond this is a wooden hut and the path goes left of this up the ridge – it’s not obvious until you get on it, but despite being very eroded there are some paint flashes and, although steep, it’s still a proper path and soon it reaches the summit of Mont Geroux (2288m) on a nice flat and grassy ridge. This is a good place to catch your breath before continuing along the all too obvious ridge path to a final ascent to Mont Joly and its rather fine orientation table.
Return by the same route.