- Annecy – Chamonix
- August 2022
Chamonix is a lively resort situated in full view of Mont Blanc. This is our third time visiting here but we love it so much as there are so many outdoorsy things to do and I love the vibe around the place.
When we undertook The Tour du Mont Blanc back in 2020 we had passed by/read up on several hiking routes that had interested us but obviously undertaking our long distance hike we couldn’t do them. So by coming back and basing ourselves here in the valley for a few days we could hike to our hearts content.
First day though was to be a chilled out, a plenty of coffee stops kind of day, just generally enjoying the atmosphere. I love people watching in Chamonix as it has such a mixture of people, undertaking a variety of activities, it kind off makes you want to get off your backside and move.
And so we moved and we were off to hike the Grand Balcon Nord hike, a classic Chamonix trail. This is one spectacular Alpine hike with panoramic views, especially at the high point of the Forbes Signal.
The high traverse along the Grand Balcon Nord features nonstop, panoramic views of Mont Blanc, the Chamonix Aiguilles, the Aiguille Rouges, Le Brevent and the Chamonix Valley. The hike starts at Montenvers with stunning views of the high peaks towering above the Mer Glacier.
Another hike we decided to undertake was across the valley to another mountain top, Le Brévent. This was where we had started our TMB in 2020, so it was nice to revisit with much lighter backpacks.
From here the panoramic views over Mont Blanc are exceptional. We also sat and chilled for a bit watching climbers come up some technical climbs which was very impressive.
We also undertook a hike to The Argentière Glacier. This is one of the larger glaciers found within the Mont Blanc massif, and is situated above the village of Argentière. It lies perpendicular to the Chamonix valley and falls within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
This hike gets you up close and personal, infact your standing right at the glacier’s edge and if your prepared you can hike across it, we came with no rope, ice axe, helmet or crampons so did not undertake it…maybe one for the future as it looked amazing.
The Argentière Glacier is one magnificent hulk of ice, situated in a scenic valley surrounded by jagged peaks, its stunning.
At nine kilometers long (5.6 miles), it’s one of the largest glaciers in France’s Mont Blanc massif, though like most glaciers across the globe, it has been shrinking at a steady pace.
Satellite images from various years give a birds’ eye view of the great river of ice retreating further into the mountains. Whilst we were sitting at its edge we continually saw and heard the loud noise of the glacier calving…an amazing sound and spectacular to see but it always saddens me also as you know thats another piece gone forever never to be replaced.
We hiked higher up to get a different impressive view of the sérac, a chaotic mass of ice pinnacles, blocks and deep crevasses of the glacier below us with waterfalls spilling down slopes below the glaciers retreating tongue.
The craggy slopes of Aiguille du Chardonnet tower overhead. I love this landscape.
From here we then needed a much earned coffee so on the hike back down we visited Refuge de Lognan whereby we sat and enjoyed our coffee whilst continuing to still admire the tongue of the glacier.
We also undertook several low level forest hikes, visited some small villages and of course tasted some more French ice cream…I had the Mont Blanc flavour this time of course!
Hope you enjoyed the short video above ☝ of our hike on the Grand Balcon Nord 😍.