Looking down onto Chamonix and the Aiguilles Rouges from the Aiguille du Midi east ridge.
The Aiguilles Rouges (Red Peaks) are a mountain range in the French Alps adjacent to the Mont Blanc massif, rising to an elevation of 2,965m/9,728ft (Aiguille du Belvédère). They offer numerous objectives for hiking, climbing, and mountain biking in the summer, and groomed (on piste) and powder skiing/boarding in the winter. Most of the range can be easily accessed thanks to the Brévent and Flégère lifts directly from the towns of Chamonix and Les Praz, operating almost year-round.
On clear days you have spectacular views of the north side of the Mont Blanc massif just across the valley.
A large part of the range has been declared as the Réserves Naturelles des Aiguilles Rouges in 1974. There are two info points, the visitors center Chalet du col des Montets and a small building right on top of Le Brévent. http://www.rnaiguillesrouges.org/
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View of the north side of the Mont Blanc massif from the Aiguilles Rouges.
There are lots of great trails on the Aiguilles Rouges massif. You can start every hike from the bottom of the valley, or use the lifts to start higher up. From the south side of the range (Chamonix side) the views of the north side of the Mont Blanc massif are spectacular. From the north side of the range you have great views of the Fiz massif (2,802m/9,193ft) with its prominent vertical wall below the summit, as well as a number of surrounding ranges and peaks. Consequently, the main ridge offers superb round views, such as the lift accessible summit of Le Brévent.
Popular trails and sights include:
Grand Balcon Sud trail; At around 2,000m without significant elevation difference (it's also a section of the Tour du Mont Blanc trail). (Photo album)
Petit Balcon Sud trail; Longer trail in the lower elevations from Argentière to Servoz.
The Aiguilles Rouges are home to several popular lower-grade rock climbing routes that are considered good introductions to alpine climbing. There is a small climbing crag close to the summit of Le Brévent (lift service from Chamonix), as well as a few other less-easily accessible crags along the south side of the range. Some of the harder climbing routes can be found on the prominent vertical south-facing wall just below the summit of Le Brévent. With the help of the lifts, virtually every outing on the Aiguilles Rouges can be done as a day trip.
Note that popular routes generally get a lot of traffic. An early start is always beneficial.
View from Le Brévent. The shaded wall in the front left is the climbing crag.
There's a French film titled "Les aiguilles rouges" (2006) telling a fictional story of eight scouts who get lost trying to climb Le Brévent. It's filmed on-site. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478548/
"Ian Fleming, when writing the fictional biography of James Bond, mentioned that Bond's parents were killed in a mountain climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rouges near Chamonix, when the future secret agent was eleven-year-old." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aiguilles_Rouges]
The Aiguilles Rouges in morning sunshine seen from the Aiguille du Midi east ridge.
The Aiguilles Rouges as seen from the trail between Nid d'Aigle and the Tete Rousse hut.