CROSSING THE AIGUILLES ROUGES
4 DAYS - SELF-guided
Located on the right bank of the Arve River, the Aiguilles Rouges Massif 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, Vallorince and the Swiss border to the northeast. The main ridge of the massif has many peaks between 2300 and 3000m of altitude. Although small in size, this modest mountain range has nothing to envy the Great National Parks, since some of its environments and 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 journey at the hamlet of Le Bettey located on the top of the commune of Les Houches. Our path joins the alpine pastures of Chailloux before continuing in the combe under the Aiguillette des Houches. Here we are on the southern tip of the massif, from this major viewpoint, the spectacle of the Mont-Blanc chain is very impressive. A short descent allows us to reach the Bellachat refuge. We dominate the Chamonix valley at an altitude of 2200m.
Elevation gain : +998m / -185m – Approximate distance & time : 7,5 km / 3 to 4 hours
Day 2 : Hike from the Bellachat Refuge to the Moëde Anterne Refuge
The Carlaveyron plateau may hold a few furtive encounters with its inhabitants. This morning, we reach the summit of Brévent (2525m). We continue to the Col du Brévent and then to the Pont d’Arlevé (alt. 1587) along the famous GR5 trail. Maybe we will have the chance to observe a Bearded Vulture hovering above the rocks of the Fiz in large regular orbs. The Moëde Anterne refuge is the drop-off point for this first day.
Elevation gain : +795m / -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 chain, it is also called “Mont-Blanc des Dames”. The col de Salenton joins the path of the normal way. It is a well traced route, the atmosphere is very mineral and the last slopes under the summits are demanding. From the col de Salenton, the ascent of the Buet is optional. The descent in the Bérard valley leads us to the Pierre à Bérard refuge.
Elevation gain : +1280m / -1340m – Approximate distance & time : 14 km / 6 to 7 hours (Hike with the Buet summit)
Elevation gain : +680m / -740m – Approximate distance & time : 9 km / 3 to 4 hours
Day 4 : From the Pierre à Bérard refuge to the charming Praz de Chamonix
The trail goes through the Bérard valley to the small hamlet of La Poya (1350m). Our itinerary then reaches the Montets pass located at the northern entrance of the Aiguilles Rouges reserve. A good climb allows us to reach the lakes of Chéserys, we take the path of the big south balcony. Once arrived at the windward side, the difficulties are behind, the path stretches a little more to join the Flégère gondola, end of our journey. From the Chéserys lakes, if the weather and your physical condition allow it, you could 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 cable car.
Elevation gain : +890m / -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.