The ascent of the Mont Buet often precedes the ascent of the roof of Europe, the Mont Blanc because it is an excellent training to gain hardness and for height adaptation. For his easy-going aspect, the Mont Buet is sometimes called the " Mont Blanc for the Ladies". He is located close to Chamonix, with great views over the Mont Blanc massive and Matterhorn.
- Nearest airport : Geneva Cointrin
- Nearest stations : Cluses, Chamonix.
- By car, two valleys permit the access to the Mont Buet :
1) The valley of the Giffre. From Cluses, N 202 direction Taninges, then right D 907 to Samoens and Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval. (26 km from Cluses). In the center of Sixt turn right and continue to Salvagny. After Salvagny turn left (not right direction Le Lignon) and park at the end of the street.
2) The valley of Chamonix you can reach from Geneva or Cluses with the A 40 (highway). From Chamonix, continue to Argentiere, follow the signs to Martigny (Switzerland), pass the col des Montets. Just before entering the hamlet Buet (before Vallorcine, 1,5 km after the Col des Montets), you have a big parking. Park your car, and follow the signs.
The normal route to the Buet crosses THE NATURAL RESERVE 'LE VALLON DE BERARD' (539 hectares):
This natural reserve leads on from the reserve of 'Les Aiguilles Rouges'. Created in 1992, it is the latest of the 9 reserves in the Haute-Savoie region. All the different types of alpine life are here (sub-alpine, alpine & snow-line) and the fauna.
Below the forest line the green alder lives with shrub heath land of blueberry, heather and rhododendron.
Higher up the mountains the snow gullies and suspended glaciers are relics from the ice age. Not only does the Vallon de Bérard have a typical mountain fauna of mountain goats, chamois and ptarmigan…..it is also an important migration corridor for birds and insects linking the Swiss Valais to the Rhône valley.
The Association of Friends of the 'Aiguilles Rouges' Nature Reserve
Tel/Fax: (33) 4 50 54 08 06 (all year round)
On-site chalet at the Col des Montets (from 1st June - 15th September):
Tel: (33) 4 50 54 02 24
The two principal routes to the summit
1) From Vallorcine over the Valley and the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard. Level difference 1731 m. Ascent possible in one day. The easiest route (see also the Buet, normal route submitted by tne).
The wild valley of Bérard with his mineral scenery reminds to the valley of the Oisans. From the car park a large path leeds quickly to the waterfall of the Pierre à Bérard. Near the cascade, a chaos of fallen rocks has made a cave you must visit. According to the legend, at the 19th century, a counterfeiter of the name of Farinet, would have hidden in the cave located behind the cascade to escape the gendarmes who sought it. A little path brings you also behind the waterfall : very impressive !
After this visit, continue the path and enter in the Valley of Bérard. Continue straight forward and don't pass the footbridge of Fontaine Froide at the right. Higher, you pass on the left side of the mountain stream of Eau de Bérard (be prudent if you have to cross snowbridges over the water). You arrive after 2 hours at the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard.
Climb at the right the steep slopes under the Aiguille de Salenton and pass over rocks and large snowfields. Don't cross the Col de Salenton and walk below the crest direction north. You pass near the "Table du Chantre". Climb with a large loop the rocky comb under the arête de Mortine. You arrive to a little shelter, the Abri de Pictet (Swiss naturalist). From here follow the wide ramp (called la Mortine) to the summit (3 h 30 from Bérard).
2) From Salvagny over Refuge de Grenairon. Level difference 2171 m. More difficult as 1) and needs 2 days.
- First day : Sixt - Refuge de Grenairon. From Salvagny, a forest track will lead you to the hut of Grenairon in 60 (!) bends. Climb through the forest of la Feulatière and steeper along the ravine of Nant Sec. Join the path coming from Vagny high over the valley of the Giffre. Continue on numerous tight bends through a luxuriant vegetation. A rocky zone precedes the Refuge de Grenairon (1974 m), 3 h 15 from Salvagny. In summer, you acan shorten the way by using the chairlift of Vagny.
- Second day : Refuge de Grenairon - Buet - return by Chalets des Fonds. From the hut, climb direction the Frêtes du Grenier, a strange ridge landscape. You pass the last rock, the "Cathedral" (2531 m) and arrive at the Plan du Buet, a flat rocky comb with a lake (2543 m). By fog it is very difficult here to find his way through. Climb steeper on the north ridge through the snowfields (sometimes crampons are necessary ). Impressive view on the Tré les Eaux face with it's glacier. The crest is exposed and security cable help the ascent. You arrive at the summit after 4 hours (from the hut). Descent as 1) to the Abri de Pictet. Leave the tracks and walk along the ruiniform crest (blue paint marks. Climb down on the south face, on a schistic ramp, steep and instable : the "passage de la Chaïne", the most difficult of the walk (rope of 30 m, in 8mm useful).After a breach, return on the north face and walk down through rocks or snowfields to the Beaux Prés, a grassy comb. You arrive in the Cirque des Fonds (slippery passages), to the Chemin d'Anterne and the Cuvette des Fonds (1368 m). From here a tracks leads to Salvagny in one hour.
Don't forget your avalanche beeper (ARVA), snow shovel and probe. This ski tour is in a high mountain region and requires a good understanding of the terrain.
The descent from the Buet is one of the best ski tours in the region.
The tour does not have slopes above 30° max if one stays on the normal route.
Approach : from Vallorcine - Le Buet, quite the same as in summer.
The Buet 1329m is the starting point of the tour. Take the summer trail that leads to the Berard Refuge 1924m which is found at the head of the small valley ( Can't be missed unless covered with snow!) . In the forest follow the best formed path either on the left or right hand side of the river. From the refuge follow the slope up and after about 200 metres start heading right. Pass the col de Salanton 2526m and the butresses of the Buet and follow the Mortine ridge to the summit.
Descent: Creux des Vaches
Descend straight down the south face of the Buet until 2570m . You can find your way into "Creux des Vaches" by a narrow gully 35°. Follow the gorge until the end and join upwith the normal route.
Huts - Camping
-Refuge La Pierre à Bérard (1925 m), you reach it after about 2.5 hours of walking. The route to the refuge is very easy.
From the refuge up to 2300 meter, there is a lot of places to put up tents. (Dont put it to close to the refuge)
-Refuge de Grenairon (1925m) tél 00 33 (0)4 50 34 47 31 or 00 33 (0)4 50 34 12 15 (off season)
-Refuge des Fonts (1380m) Tél 00 33 (0)4 50 34 44 05
-On close to the top, there is also possible to put up a tent.
The mountain can be climbed all year arround, the mountain huts are open june to september.
The route is a high altitude walk and is very crowded in the summer. However, in the between season months it is peaceful. ( mid may to mid june, early to late sept ). If you are going in the spring months, try to have a good idea where the rivers are running under the packed snow. It is not advisable to transverse these areas. The snow line moves from about 1800m to 2500m between mid may and mid june, and then to above 3000m in the summer.
For ascent in winter, see the section ski ascent.
If you are walking with a GPS, this might help you :
Top MT Buet N 46.0247755, E 006.8525720 ( 3096 meter)
Weather station N 46.0194540, E 006.8516493 (3025 meter)
Refuge la pierre a berard N 46.0031247, E 006.8685365 (1925 meter)
First ascent : H-B de Saussure with Frères Deluc in 1770 over Arête des Fonds.
Near the Refuge des Fonds, Alfred Willis buit his summer residence in 1859. Alfred Willis was the founder of the Alpine Club. First ascents of Alfred Willis in this region : Pointe de Saales (1860), crossing over Ruan - Tenneverge (1864)
First ascent of the Cathedral of the Frètes du Grenier : 1926.
Extreme ski descents :
- NE Face : Chris Manson, Gilles Coletta and T.Van Arkel in march 1984 on 500 m 40 to 45 degrees
- W face on 1500 m 40 to 50 degrees : Daniel Chauchefoin, R. Delieutraz, F. Di Paolo,Pierre Tardivel 18 March 1984
by surf : Hubert Ducroz in april 1988
- W face (great Lion couloir) : Hubert Ducroz