Refuge de Moëde d'Anterne to Le Brévent
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The ubiquitous red and white markingsPhoto: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
Starting from the Refugde de Moëde d'Anterne, begin your day with a gentle descent down the hillside on grassy rocky paths following red and white markers that although aren't as fresh as the markers yesterday, they are still there to reassure you of the path. Although you shouldn't worry as today's path is very straight forward with little chance of going wrong!
Arrive at the Torrent de Moëde river and marvel at the fast flowing waters as they cut through massive boulders and rocks. From here, it is a constant but steady ascent to the Col du Brévent. The path is initially very easy going being a grassy and stoney trail passing waterfalls and picturesque chalet ruins. Once close to the Col, the path changes in character and is mostly made up of slabs and boulders. It can be narrow in places and care should be taken, particularly if it is wet. The path zigzags up the rocky mountain-side, follow the markers carefully to stay on track, but do admire the views of the surrounding rocky peaks. Reach the Col de Brévent and admire the views to the Mont Blanc Massif in front of you. You are now in the Aigulles Rouge Nature reserve and this is also where the GR5 meets the famous, and busier Tour du Mont Blanc trail. From here, continue to follow the path as it ascends to the summit of Le Brévent. Although only 45 minutes away, the path to the summit is serious and you have a feeling of taking on true Alpine hiking as you scramble, climb metal ladders (2 with 11 rungs each) and use metal footholds and handrails that are bolted into the rockface.
Upon reaching the summit, actually a manmade summit, it's time for celebration and awe. Le Brévent is considered by most to be the best view point for observing the Mont Blanc summit in all its glory. Even if the weather is not clear enough to see it, browse the information boards and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction knowing you have completed the first Alpine section of the GR5. When you are ready to move on, it's time to take the cable car down to Chamonix, the perfect reward for all your hard work!
Track typesShow elevation profile
The sections of the path leading up to the Col du Brévent and then to the summit of Brévent are exposed and should be avoided in bad weather, particularly the section from the Col to the summit. If you arrive at the Col and do not want to continue, just take the path descending to Planpraz (about 40mins) and take the cable car from here. If you need to skip the Col and the Summit, please see the 'How to get there' section for more details.
There are no water refill points today until you reach Le Brévent. Make sure you carry sufficient water with you.
Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains - always be prepared and carry appropriate clothing; warm as well as waterproof layers, hat and gloves etc. Please see your information pack for a detailed packing list.
Tips and hints
There is no food available en route. Make sure you order a packed lunch from the Refugde de Moëde d'Anterne upon your arrival at the hut. These cost approx. 12 euros and typically consist of a sandwhich, a piece of fruit, 2x energy/cereal bars, apple compot, crisps and a cake.
Points of Interest
1) Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve - a nature reserve since the 1970s. One can find typical mountainous plant and animal species, such as Alpine ibex, chamois, rock ptarmigan, golden eagle, Rhododendron, and heather. Multiple lakes are situated within the nature reserve, including Lac Blanc, Lac Noir, Lac Cornu, and Lac du Brévent.
2) Le Brévent Summit - at 2525m, the Brévent is considered one of the best places to view the Mont Blanc massif and a fantastic place to finish your walk. Accessible by cable car since the 1930's, it is popular with advanced skiers in the Winter, as it is surrounded by 'pistes noirs' and in the Summer with tourists looking for a fine view of the Mont Blanc.
0.00km- START POINT: With your back to the main entrance of the Refuge Moede d’Anterne. TURN LEFT and head along the path in the direction of the lake.
0.10km – BEAR LEFT at the fork (before the lake) and follow the sign for Col du Brevent.
0.30km – BEAR LEFT through rope gate and continue STRAIGHT AHEAD on path as it descends gently. Ignore faint grassy path straight ahead which is heading to the small lake.
0.85km – Come to a sign for ‘Chalets d’Anterne’. TURN RIGHT following signs for Col du Brevent.
2.30km- There is a waterfall to your right, continue STRAIGHT AHEAD descending on the grassy/rocky path. Keep an eye out for red and white markers which are a bit fainter then yesterday’s.
3.60km- Come to a bridge and cross the river ‘Torrent de Moede’, this is the end of the descent for now and the start of the ascent for the day! TURN RIGHT following the path as it winds its way up the hillside. The ascent is steady and the path easy to follow as there only is this one! Markers are faint and intermittent here.
5.80km – Come to the ruins of the ‘Chalets d’Arlevé (1865m). Continue through them STRAIGHT AHEAD. Cross small streams as the path ascends steadily.
7.80km- The path becomes increasingly rougher and steeper the closer you get to the Col du Brevent. Take care on the boulder/stone slab strewn path, as it is exposed and can be narrow in parts. Keep an eye out for the red and white markers to stay on the path, which can seem indistinct in parts.
8.60km- Come to a ridge, TURN RIGHT, continuing to follow the path as it ascends on rocky ground.
9.10km- Arrive at Col du Brevent (a large Cairn with signage marks the spot) (2368m). On a clear day you will get great views of the Mont Blanc massif and the Brevent. If the weather is bad, it is worth considering taking the descending path to Planpraz (STRAIGHT AHEAD) from where you can take the cable car down to Chamonix. The path from the col to the summit of the Brevent is only 45 minutes but covers exposed paths, 2 metal ladders (11 rungs each), metal handrails and footholds, and some light scrambling. Fairly easy going and great fun in the right conditions. To continue to the summit of Brevent. TURN RIGHT following the sign and ascend on rocky path. From here, big yellow circles painted on the rocks help you to stay on track as well as the red and white markers.
10.20km- Come to the start of the metal ladders/assisted climbing. Take care and ascend.
10.30km – TURN LEFT onto wide gravel track, following signs for Brevent, and start the last slog up to the Brevent. There are various cairns on your left as well as wonderful mountain views.
10.60km – BEAR RIGHT, following the rocky path as it ascends. Ignore the path on your left.
11.1km- FINISH POINT: Arrive at the summit of Le Brevent (2525m). Enjoy the views before taking the cable car down to Chamonix.
If you can't walk today due to illness, injury or weather, please contact us and we can advise you on the best way to proceed. The section leading up to Col de Brévent is quite exposed, as is the section to the Brévent summit and these should both be avoided if thunderstorms or snow/ice are forecast. From the Refuge de Moëde d'Anterne, you can descend by foot into to the valley to the town of Servoz, where you can take a train to Chamonix. Check https://www.sbb.ch/ for timetables.
Book recommendations for this region:
Good waterproof boots are a must and walking poles are highly recommended. Make sure to bring plenty of water and a snack or packed lunch. You are going to the highest point of your walk today, (2525m), do not underestimate the changeable nature of the weather and make sure you have some warm dry layers with you.
This walk is quite exposed so be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen on hot days.
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