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Guidebook to 50 day walks in the Mont Blanc region near Chamonix and Courmayeur, plus outlines of 4 multi-day treks around both sides of the Mont Blanc massif. The walks range from 3 to 20km and cover a variety of terrains from easy valley walks to more challenging routes over boulders, scree and on via ferratas.
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|Buy your choice of routes or chapters to read online, on your mobile device or to download as a PDF to print or read.||Browse Routes|
The 54 walks in this guidebook explore the popular region around Mont Blanc(4808m), the highest mountain in Western Europe, showcasing the very best routes on both the French and the Italian sides of the massif. Includes 50 great day walks – from 3 to 20 kilometres – and 4 multi-day treks, taking in a variety of terrain including valley footpaths, airy ridges and via ferratas. Walks are organised according to the nearest town base: St Gervais les Bains and Les Contamines, Servoz and Plateau D'Assy, Les Houches, Chamonix, Argentière and Courmayeur. The multi-day treks are Vallorcine to Plaine Joux, the Tour des Aiguilles Rouges, Vallorcine to Servoz and a circuit of the Italian Val Ferret.
Walks are Graded 1 to 3: grade 1 walks are manageable by any reasonably fit person on good, usually waymarked paths, while grade 3 routes are long, tough routes, often without waymarking, making navigation difficult: there could also be some scrambling. Additionally there is often a valley walk that can be done whatever the weather, or on rest days, with children, by bike, or as a run. All routes feature a detailed route description and mapping and are illustrated with spectacular photography.
The major centres of Chamonix and Courmayeur are often busy with holidaymakers and associated industries: cafés, accommodation, and lifts and signposts... but these valleys have walks equal to anywhere for their views, terrain and variety, with their sublime glaciers plunging towards the valleys, high snowy summits glinting in the sun, flower-bedecked slopes and rocky trails. Be it spring, summer or autumn, the sheer beauty and range of the walking here will satisfy any hiker – and there are plenty of facilities for the end of the day.
We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our Feedback form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).
|How it all Started|
|Animals and Birds|
|Flowers and Trees|
|Transhumance and Alpages|
|When to Go|
|Security and Rescue|
|Walking with Dogs|
|Things not to be Missed|
|How to Use this Guide|
|Chapter 1 – St Gervais Les Bains and Les Contamines-Montjoie|
|1 Mont Truc|
|2 Mont Joly|
|3 Lac d’Armancette|
|4 Col de la Fenêtre|
|5 Tête Nord des Fours|
|6 Lacs and Monts Jovet|
|Chapter 2 – Servoz and the Plateau d’Assy|
|7 Lac Vert|
|8 Pointe Noire de Pormenaz|
|9 The Dérochoir and the Désert de Platé|
|Chapter 3 – Les Houches|
|10 Le Prarion|
|11 Mont Vorassay|
|12 Aiguillette des Houches|
|Chapter 4 – Chamonix|
|13 Chamonix Valley Walk|
|14 La Chapeau and Tête des Prapators|
|16 Montagne de Blaitière|
|17 Chalet de Cerro|
|18 Montagne de la Côte|
|19 Refuge de Bel Lachat and Le Brévent|
|20 Grand Balcon Sud – La Flégère to Planpraz|
|21 Lac Blanc|
|22 Tête de Villy|
|23 Col de Salenton|
|24 Lac Cornu and Lacs Noirs|
|Chapter 5 – Argentière|
|25 Argentière Valley Walk|
|26 Pierre à Bosson|
|27 Tête du Grand Chantet|
|28 Aiguillette d’Argentière – Les Chéserys|
|29 Argentière Glacier Pointe de Vue|
|30 Aiguillette des Posettes|
|31 Refuge Albert Premier|
|32 Croix de Fer|
|Chapter 6 – Vallorcine|
|33 Vallorcine Valley Walk|
|34 Pointe de la Terrasse and Tré-les-Eaux Valley|
|35 Cheval Blanc|
|36 Dinosaur Tracks|
|37 Bel Oiseau|
|38 Col de Barberine and Fontanabran|
|39 Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard|
|40 Mont Buet by the Normal Route|
|41 Refuge de Loriaz|
|42 Emosson from Loriaz|
|43 Mont Buet by the north ridge|
|Chapter 7 – Courmayeur|
|44 Punta della Croce|
|45 Mont Fortin|
|46 Mont Chétif|
|47 Col and Lac Liconi|
|48 Mont de la Saxe|
|49 Tête Entre Deux Sauts|
|50 Tête de Ferret|
|Chapter 8 – Multi-day Treks|
|51 Vallorcine to Plaine Joux|
|52 Tour of the Aiguilles Rouges|
|53 Vallorcine to Servoz|
|54 Italian Val Ferret Circuit|
|Appendix A Mont Blanc Region Tourist Offices|
|Appendix B Useful Terms and Glossary|
|Appendix C Transport in the Chamonix and Courmayeur Valleys|
|Appendix D Rainy Day/Rest Day Activities|
|Appendix E Hut Etiquette|
|Appendix F Climbing Peaks and Hiring Guides|
Mont Blanc, at 4808m (or there-abouts, as they keep remeasuring it) is the highest mountain in Western Europe. No matter how many times I walk, run or bike the trails around the region, I can never ignore the sight of this huge peak and its equally spectacular neighbours. The major centres of Chamonix and Courmayeur are often busy, invaded by holidaymakers, not to mention the heavy goods traffic that has to come up the valleys to get through the alpine chain. Some people claim the paths are too frequented, there is no wilderness anymore, there are cafés and lifts and signposts… but nothing changes the fact that these valleys have walks equal to anywhere for their views, terrain and variety.
I never fail to be moved by the sublime background of glaciers plunging towards the valleys, high snowy summits glinting in the sun, flower-bedecked slopes and rocky trails tempting me on towards new vistas and hidden valleys. Be it spring, summer or autumn, the sheer beauty and range of the walking here will satisfy any hiker – if it doesn’t they’re pursuing the wrong activity.
There are many famous trails that take hikers to wonderful viewpoints opposite the Mont Blanc massif. There are also lesser-known paths and routes that lead to fairly remote areas where you will see few walkers even in the high season.
In really dry hot summers when the freezing level is fixed above 4000m for long periods, the glaciers melt, the crevasses become huge, and rocks fall down gullies and rock faces, the non-glaciated area of the mountains – the moyenne montagne as it is known in France – becomes particularly attractive. It is relatively unaffected by the objective dangers of the high mountains (the haute montagne). Many people enjoy walking on these high slopes way above the valley, with fantastic grandstand positions opposite the glaciated peaks, but with none of the attendant dangers associated with the high mountains.