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Tré-le-Champ to Planpraz via Lac Blanc without ladder section

Hiking trail · Rhône-Alpes
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Walking to Lac Blanc
    / Walking to Lac Blanc
    Photo: Minna Harshbarger, Macs Adventure
m 2800 2600 2400 2200 2000 1800 1600 1400 1200 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km Refuge de la Flégère Plan Praz Refuge Lac Blanc Tré-le-Champ Bus Stop Hotel De L’Arve

The penultimate day and the Tour du Mont Blanc is determined to leave you with a lasting memory! Today’s views are enchanting as you climb from Tré-le-Champ and then traverse the famous Balcon Sud to finish in Planpraz, from where a gondola will drop you into Chamonix.

14.8 km
6:16 h
1348 m
802 m

After the spectacle of the last 1-2 weeks you may find it impossible to believe that the Tour du Mont Blanc has saved its best for last but today you embark on the walk’s wonderful finale along the Grand Balcon Sud. The path beings further down the road from Tre Le Champ than the traditional route to avoid the ladder section. Throughout the whole Tour du Mont Blanc never have the glaciers, rocky spires and snowy peaks felt as vivid and near as they do today.

You will have stayed in Argentiere or Chamonix the night before. To return to Tré-le-Champ, you might need to take a bus to Montruc as this route runs more regularly, and then walk to Tré-le-Champ which takes 10-15 minutes. Full bus schedule available here; https://chamonix.montblancbus.com/en/bus-lines

From Planpraz it is recommended to take the Planpraz gondola (payable locally) down into Chamonix. Buy a return ticket to allow you to head up the following day and continue hiking towards Les Houches. Be aware that the final gondola descent is generally around 16:30; if you miss this it is a long walk down. Full information available here: https://www.chamonix.com/lifts,88,en.html

Author’s recommendation

Enjoy a hearty lunch at the Refuge du Lac Blanc, enjoying the reflections of the mountain peaks in the still glacial waters.

outdooractive.com User
Author
Minna Harshbarger
Updated: February 11, 2020

Highest point
2355 m
Lowest point
1463 m

Safety information

There are several river crossings. There are always stepping-stones available but these may be slippery, and especially when wet. Take extra caution on these crossings.

Some of the path is along rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.

There are some exposed edges; be sure to read instructions carefully, stick to the main path, and don’t wander close to the edge. Use handrails where provided.

In early spring/summer there may still be patches of snow. Walk around where it is possible, and otherwise place your feet carefully and use walking poles if you have them.

This route is above 2,200 metres so bear in mind you may feel a shortness of breath and additional muscle fatigue associated with the altitude.

Tips, hints and links

Points of Interest

Lac Blanc

The walk to Lac Blanc is one of the Chamonix classics and so you might find these footpaths a little more trafficked than other sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc. It is however deserving of this attention; just wait until you stand on the shores of this glacial lake at 2,352 metres, spot the craggy peaks reflected in its blue waters, and gaze at the dramatic panorama of the Mont Blanc massif.

  

Transport 

Bus from Chamonix to Tré-le-Champ: A regular shuttle bus operates from Argentière to Col des Montets. Take this and alight at Tré-le-Champ. Enquire at the tourist office or your hotel for timetables.

Le Flégère – Les Praz de Chamonix Telepherique: Check the up to date information here -  http://www.chamonix.com/flegere-index,83,en.html 

Approx €15:00 for a single ticket (then take the shuttle bus to central Chamonix)

Plan Praz – Chamonix Telepherique - Check the up to date information here - http://www.chamonix.com/planpraz-brevent,82,en.html 

Approx €15.00 single ticket from Plan Praz.

 

Food and Drink

Between Tré-le-Champ and Planpraz there are few opportunities to buy food or drink so be sure to bring enough provisions with you.

You will reach Refuge du Lac Blanc and Refuge La Flégère, both of which serve food and drink. In terms of the surrounding atmosphere, the Refuge du Lac Blanc cannot be beaten as a place to stop.

 

Start

Tré-le-Champ Bus Stop (1463 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.003426, 6.923010
UTM
32T 339184 5096525

Destination

Planpraz Gondola

Turn-by-turn directions

To reach Tré-le-Champ bus stop from Argentiere or Chamonix, you may need to catch a bus to Montruc (as this bus service runs more regularly) and then follow directions for the 10-15 minute walk to Tré-le-Champ.

From Tré-le-Champ bus stop ignore the path signposted Le Lac Blanc and Aiguillette d’Argentiere (this leads to the ladder section), rather continue walking up the road towards Col des Montets. After about 400m take a footpath on the left 91430m) signposted, Pedestre du Pays du Mont Blanc. Initially, this takes you amongst plants with identification labels, then at the fork bear left to take you to Col des Montets, turn left. Ascend steeply on a trail with switchbacks as you gain height. At around 2000m the path levels and this is where the Grand Balcon Sud begins. 

Bear left again around 2060m to follow the Lac Blanc and Lac des Cheserys path and come to a large cairn, bear left at the next fork and shortly after reaching the prominent cairn of Tete Aux Vents to join the main route.  

You will pass two lakes on your right, and then close beside a third lake (Lacs de Chéserys), after which the path will bear right and begin heading uphill towards the Refuge du Lac Blanc. Having admired Lac Blanc and sampled the tasty goodies from the refuge, the path will continue straight on and begin to head steeply downhill with several cairns to guide you. As you reach two large boulders at 4.6km the path will split into three; choose the middle path that continues straight and heads downhill. You are following signs to La Flégère and Les Praz.

At 6km you will walk on a long boardwalk section and then the path will head downhill towards a small reservoir and chairlift. As you approach this ski area there is a confusing network of gravel roads, though it is well signposted – keep following signs to La Flégère and check the map regularly. At 8.0km, below La Flégère restaurant, bear right from the gravel road, following the sign for Planpraz. This path will then head through woodland and away from the skiing infrastructure, on a narrow path with sensational views across to the Mont Blanc massif. Occasionally there are steep edges so walk carefully and use the handrail where one is provided. At 8.8km, continue walking along the scree slope; some of the rocks have dots of red paint to guide you.

At 9.9km as you again approach a ski area and a confusing network of gravel roads, continue along the footpath following the sign to Croisement du sentier, and then after 200 metres follow the signs to Planpraz, ignoring the left turn to Chamonix. By now you will begin to see a collection of huts on the grassy ridge ahead, and the footpath will contour along the valley heading steadily uphill towards them.

As you reach the La Parsa chairlift, follow the gravel road that winds downhill and towards Planpraz. From here you can catch a gondola into Chamonix. Full lift information available here: https://www.chamonix.com/lifts,88,en.html 

Note


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Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

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Distance
14.8 km
Duration
6:16h
Ascent
1348 m
Descent
802 m

Statistics

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 km
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Highest point
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Lowest point
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