CROSSING THE AIGUILLES ROUGES
4 DAYS - SELF-guided
Located on the right side of the “Arve” River, the Aiguilles Rouges range faces the Mont-Blanc and proudly dominates the Chamonix valley. This mountain range is 4 to 6 km wide and is surrounded by Servoz and Les Houches to the southwest, Vallorcine and the Swiss border to the northeast. The main ridge of the massif has many peaks between 2300 and 3000 m of altitude. Although small in size, this modest mountain range has nothing to envy the national parks, since some species are recognized as being specific to this area of the Alps.
Day 1: From Les Houches (Le Bettey) to the Refuge de Bellachat
We start our Aiguilles Rouges crossing at the hamlet of Bettey located above the village of Les Houches The trail joins the alpine pastures of Chailloux before continuing in the comb under the Aiguillette des Houches. Here we are on the southern tip of the massif. The view of Mont-Blanc is just amazing! A short descent allows us to reach the Bellachat hut, above Chamonix valley at 2200m high.
Ascent: 998m / Descente: 185m – Approximate distance & time: 7,5 km / 3 to 4 hours
Day 2: Hike from the Bellachat Refuge to the Moëde Anterne Refuge
In the morning, we will reach the summit of Brévent (2525m) and then continue to the Col du Brévent and Pont d’Arlevé (alt. 1587) along the famous GR5 trail. Getting closer to the Fiz huge cliffs, we may have the chance to observe some Bearded Vulture hovering above the rocks before arriving at Moëde Anterne mountain hut.
Ascent: 795m / Descent: 960m – Approximate distance & time: 12 km / 4 to 5 hours
Day 3: From Moëde to the Pierre à Bérard refuge, passing by Le Buet
Culminating at 3100m of altitude, the Buet is the highest summit of the range. It is also well known as the “Mont-Blanc des Dames”. Probably because it has a similar shape and is very good training before going to the real Mont-Blanc!
From Salenton pass, the trail joins the classic way up to Buet. It is a well-traced route. The atmosphere is very mineral and the last slopes under the summits are quite demanding but it definitely worth it. From col de Salenton / Salenton pass, the ascent of the Buet is optional. The descent in the Bérard valley leads us to the Pierre à Bérard hut.
Ascent: 1280m / Descent: 1340m – Approximate distance & time: 14 km / 6 to 7 hours (Hike with Le Buet summit)
Day 4: From the Pierre à Bérard refuge to the charming Praz de Chamonix
The trail goes through the Bérard valley until the small hamlet of La Poya (1350m). Our itinerary then reaches the Montets pass (Col des Mottets) located at the northern entrance of the Aiguilles Rouges reserve (a natural protected area). After a steep hike, you’ll reach the “lacs des Chéserys” – a very beautiful place and point of view- to continue by le “grand balcon sud”, a famous trial above the Chamonix valley leading to Flégère gondola, the end of our journey. From the Chéserys lakes, if the weather and your physical condition allow it, you should consider continuing the ascent towards the famous Lac Blanc (2352m). And from the Lac Blanc, you can take the path that goes directly to the Flégère gondola. The Aiguilles Rouges crossing ends at the bottom of the La Flégère gondola.
Ascent: 890m / Descent: 920m – Approximate distance & time: 14,5 km / 5 to 6 hours
Note: the itinerary, distances and altitudes may vary slightly for many reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions.
Please also be aware that a self-guided trip involves your own responsibility for the route you choose and the choices you make on the trails. We will provide you with a route map, but you will be hiking every day on your own and we cannot be responsible for the final decision or for anything that may happen during your hike.