Day 1 : VALLON DE SORT
We meet in Chamonix at 8H00 and transfer by minivan to Val de Rhêmes (1H30). We start our hike at the village of Bruil. The trail climbs up into the Sort alpine valley and pastures (8 000ft). We then reach a pass (8 400ft) from which the view over surrounding peaks is purely amazing : Granta Parei (11 100ft), la Grande Traversière (11 450ft), and Grande Rousse (11 700ft). On the way down we hike across the Entrelor mountain bowl, and join the Alta Via 2 Trail, a route we will hike on again during this trek. We spend the night at the hamlet of Bruil.
Up / Down : 840m / Hiking Time : 5 H 00
Day 2 : TOUR DU TRUC DE TSANTELEINA
Our hike starts at Thumel, the hamlet that marks the end of the road, deep into the Gran Paradiso National Park. First a wide trail leads to a beautiful alpine valley. We hike to Benevolo hut and continue up into a “cul de sac” alpine valley. Hiking around Mount Truc de Tsanteleina provides merely spectacular view : it seems we can touch the ice of the glaciers, or just about… The vertical wall of the Granta Parei (11 110ft) proudly stands In front of us. We hike back down to Thumel and ride our minivan to Valsavarenche. We stop at Pont for the night (6 400 ft).
Up / Down : 760m / Hiking Time : 6 H 00
Day 3 : GRAND COLLET
From Pont, the trail towards Gran Collet pass is steep and steady. Towards the East we can admire the Gran Paradiso massif. Looking to the West, landscapes are less rugged yet higher and dryer. A short downhill section takes us below the pass. We cut across alpine meadows and glacier polished rock slabs, looking for grazing chamois. The Park’s wilderness is striking by its beauty, showing untouched alpine nature at its best. We hike down to the wide Nivolet plateau to reach Pont to find our hotel again.
Up / Down : 865m / Hiking Time : 6 H 30
Day 4 : REFUGE CHABOD
We hike to the Frederico Chabot hut (9 000ft). The restored stone-covered trail reminds us of the days when King Vittorio Emanuele rode his horse on this wide and comfortable trail, to get to higher hunting areas. Quite some time before the hut, we leave the trail and head into a wild untracked alpine bowl just under the summit of Gran Paradiso. A gentle trail leads to the Pravieux alpine pastures (6 140ft). We transfer to Val de Cogne, and reach Lillaz an hour later where we spend the night (5 300ft).
Up / Down : 900m / Hiking Time : 6 H 00
Day 5 : VALLON DE BARDONNEY - LAC DE LOIE
From Lillaz, the trail cuts across a larch forest, then takes us to the Bardonney alpine valley. In this wild grazing pasture, time seems to have stopped long ago. A short climb leads to a perfect viewpoint, and the panorama looks just like a postcard ! The trail continues across the hillside to Lac de Loie (7 720ft), from where we can admire Mont Blanc… towering high in the distance! On the way back down to the village, we come across the spectacular Lillaz waterfall. We spend the night in the same hotel.