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Hiking tips Mt. Blanc area in October

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Hiking tips Mt. Blanc area in October

Postby Rick B » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:23 pm

Hey all,

From end of september until early october I'll be near the Mont Blanc for a conference. Afterwards I wanted to go hiking a bit, but I was wondering what the options would still be around this time of year? Are the huts closed already? What to expect of the weather? I'm going with my girlfriend, so nothing too fancy for us. Any tips and ideas would be more than welcome!

Cheers,

Rick
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Postby nattfodd » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:52 pm

Most refuges will probably be closed, yes. There is lots of good hiking to do, but you can't go too high as you will probably hit snow quite quickly (above 2500m is pretty much guaranteed). Weather is usually unstable but not too bad on average.

If you're looking for easy to moderate dayhikes from Chamonix, I know quite a few. Going to the Jonction/Gite a Balmat (the rock outcrop between the Bossons and the Taconnaz glaciers, below the Grands Mulets refuge) is in my opinion the best low-altitude hike in the valley, though the last part of it could already be in snow at that time of year. Going to Montenvers from les Planards is really easy with very good views. On the other side, you have all the hikes leaving from Flegere, for instance lac blanc or lac cornu. And then more stuff in le Tour, Argentiere, Saint-Gervais, etc...
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Postby icypeak » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:09 pm

Hi Rick
If you go to the main tourist office in Chamonix, right beside the church (and across the street from the most amazing bakery!) they have some good maps of hiking trails. Lots of trails there at lower altitudes, my favorite is Grand Balcon. Have fun!
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Postby Rick B » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:55 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.

I have a Rother wanderfuhrer (really good little books with hikes) of the area, but I don't know how well the hikes will go off season, I've only been in the alps in summer so far.
Especially if it is possible to spend the night up in a hut or shelter, but from you replies I guess not :(
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Postby Rick B » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:47 pm

I will try once more to get some more inside information by bumping this thread :)

I'm particularly curious if anybody knows if and where I can find good hikes through forests with larch trees (that go yellow) in the area? Thanks in advance .. !
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Postby nattfodd » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:39 pm

You can find some of those above Argentière, on the Grands Montets side. There is an easy hike that starts from a lonely hotel (the one you see on top of a hill when you drive from Chamonix) and goes through the woods to a viewpoint above the glacier d'Argentière. If you take a left uphill at a fork on the way, you will eventually reach above the treeline and can go down all the way to the Tour. Sorry not to be able to be more specific, I have forgotten the names of those places.

Another (very) easy hike in the woods is the plan de la Forclaz, just after the Swiss border. I would also consider hiking to the Flégère from les Praz, it's short and quite beautiful at that time of year.
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Postby Rick B » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:49 pm

Thanks a lot for the advice. Yes, the Flegere is definitely on the list, and on to the Lac Blanc if possible (snow-wise and time-wise). The forest hikes are for when the weather is not so great.

Is there a hut at the Lac Blanc? I have a little book here that says that there used to be a hut, but it got wiped away by an avalanche. But the book is from 2000, so maybe they rebuilt it in the mean time? Hmm after googling a bit it seems like a privately run chalet / hotel thingy.. We're still looking for a cute hut / bivouac, not too high up to spend a night ..
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Postby nattfodd » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:50 pm

When I was at the lac blanc in 2005, there was a hut which served food and drinks at a high price. I can't remember if you could sleep there or not. In any case, I would be highly surprised if it was still open in October.

You have a list of all the CAF (French Alpine Club) managed refuges on http://www.ffcam.fr/index.php?function= ... Mont-Blanc

Quite frankly, if you are never going to go above snowline, I don't see the point of sleeping high, no hike is going to last more than 5-7h, so you might as well come back in the valley and use one of the nice camping spots of the area (I personally had a very nice stay in the île des barrats: http://www.campingdesbarrats.com).
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Postby Gabriele Roth » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:30 am

Fine !!
nobody is thinking about the Italian side ... Val Veni and Val Ferret in october are wonderful and still touristically active ... :)
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Postby Rick B » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:52 pm

There's no particular point on sleeping high, except of hoping for a good sunrise / sunset and getting away a bit from civilization... But I'd be also very happy to stay in the valley and enjoy some autumn colors with high mountains as a background.

Gabriele, anything in particular you'd recommend? I'm very interested in the italian side as well. I've looked at Mt. Chetif and Testa di Liconi, although the latter one might be a bit high considering snow and temperatures (I'm with my girlfriend and some other non-experienced friends, nothing too fancy for us).
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Postby Mihai Tanase » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:42 pm

All CAF (Club Alpin Francais) huts have a permanent room open all year round, with blankets and sometimes, fuel or gas. All the others huts (Plan de l'Aiguille, Lac Blanc, etc.) are privates. No open rooms in winter.
On the italian side, a very nice trip is Col de la Seigne (Val Veny) on the french border but without car, is VERY FAR from Courmayeur. Same thing in Val Ferret.
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Postby Gabriele Roth » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:47 pm

Rick B wrote:There's no particular point on sleeping high, except of hoping for a good sunrise / sunset and getting away a bit from civilization... But I'd be also very happy to stay in the valley and enjoy some autumn colors with high mountains as a background.

Gabriele, anything in particular you'd recommend? I'm very interested in the italian side as well. I've looked at Mt. Chetif and Testa di Liconi, although the latter one might be a bit high considering snow and temperatures (I'm with my girlfriend and some other non-experienced friends, nothing too fancy for us).

http://www.summitpost.org/album/321649/wandering-in-val-ferret.html
http://www.summitpost.org/album/321220/wandering-in-val-veni.html
http://www.summitpost.org/area/range/150797/mont-blanc-group.html#chapter_28
http://www.regione.vda.it/turismo/dove_dormire/rifugi_e.asp?ricid=151&tipo=ricerca (select Courmayeur)

ecc
ciao :)
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Postby francoisG » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:34 pm

In general, even if there is a snowfall in october, it will melt away pretty quickly (at least below 3000m). For instance, last year on october 5th, I had to turn back in an attempt to reach the Pointe Percee (2750m, the highest point in the Aravis range). The next week-end, I was summiting it without any problems - all the snow was gone...

To give you an idea, last year, the last hike I did without encountering any snow was on october 26th. The only issue is that days are getting short, and you have to be careful with your timing.

Here is a list of hikes I did last fall in the Chamonix area. They can all be done in a day:

- Aiguille de Loriaz
- Aiguille a Bochard
- Aiguille de Roselette (for this one, it's better to have a partner and use a running belay on the summit ridge)
- Aiguille du Belvedere (same remark)
- Pointe Percee

If you want the topos, I can send you some links.

Francois
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Postby Rick B » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:23 pm

It's a bit late, but I'm back from my trip for a while now and have found some time to upload some pictures from my trip. For those who are interested, they are in this album:

http://www.summitpost.org/album/609051/Mont-Blanc-Area-in-Autumn.html
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