Croix de Fer is an easy hiking objective, which can be done in just a few hours from Le Tour, north-east of Chamonix. The summit offers excellent views of the Chamonix-valley and Mont-Blanc to the south, and of Martigny to the north. Wildlife, such as marmots and ibex, can also be seen. The route is well marked, and easy to follow.
Croix de fer is 2343 meters tall, and has a prominence of 143 meters.
From chamonix, simply take bus 02 to the end station Le Tour, where the hike will begin. Alternatively you could drive in your own car. There is a large car park at the base of the Charamillon cable car.
It is also possible to reach the summit from Vallorcine or Trient. Vallorcine can easily be reached by train.
There are several different routes to the summit of Croix de Fer. The most popular route starts from Le tour, following the cable car up to the Chalet de Charamillon, and from here on to the hut at Col de Balme. From Col de Balme you simply follow the signs towards Croix de Fer. Regardless of which route you decide on, you will have to walk along the ridge for the final few hundred meters. The ridge is slightly exposed at times with easy scrambling, and people have died from falling: so be careful! The summit (actually a few meters below the summit) is marked with an iron cross, with the year 1984. The route offers a nice diversity between pastures with grazing sheep, and rocky scrambling further up.
Walking from Le Tour a return trip should not take you more than 4-5 hours. If using the cable car and chairlift, it is possible to complete the trip in 2 hours or less.
Traverse on the summit ridge
If anyone has more info about other routes, or perhaps more technical routes, please let me know!!!
None. The cable car is fairly expensive though. If the hike is done from Le Tour or Vallorcine you will be crossing the border between France and Switzerland.
When to Climb
The typical season from late june to early september. When I was there in the middle of june, the mountain was still partly covered in snow, inspite of the relatively low altitude. Be aware that the hut is closed in off-season and it is therefore not possible to get refreshments on the hike: so bring water and snacks!
The hut on Col de Balme
Work in progress!!!
If anyone has additional information to be added please let me know and i will add it!!!