Cross the Alps meeting people and mountains... The Grande Traversée des Alpes (GTA) between Lake Geneva and the Mediterranean is a long-distance hike. The opportunity to take a long break and put daily life aside.
This itinerary runs along the Swiss and Italian borders while crossing five counties and some of the most famous mountain ranges in the Alps.
1st section: Chablais, Haut Giffre, Aiguilles Rouges, Mont-Blanc
This first section departs from the shores of Lake Geneva to Chamonix, the ice capital of the Alps. Discovering the Chablais mountains with their characterful limestone relief and the green mountain pastures in Abondance! The wild Dents Blanches massif opens the doors to the Faucigny region... a land of giant waterfalls, lapies, chasms and heavenly alpine plateaus. A few hours hike later and we are into the Aiguilles Rouges from where we will finally discover the Mont-Blanc mountains with a spectaular display of glaciers and rocky spikes. To be continued…
2nd section: Mont Blanc, Beaufortain, Vanoise
This section leads from the giant glaciers of the Mont Blanc massif to those equally imposing of the Domes de la Vanoise. On our way, collections of milk cans remind us of the authenticity of farming life in the Beaufortain pastures and then on the Vanoise the first National Park in France, created in 1963, land of ibex and marmots.
One of the benefits of being with a guide is the opportunity to discover some beautiful variants and mountain passes stress-free! The chance to feel alone in the world, in the vast preserved Beaufortain and Vanoise areas.
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The price is all inclusive from departure to end point.
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Meet at 12:00pm infront of the Tourist Office in Thollon-les-Mémises or at 9:30am infront of Chamonix train station if you have chosen this option.
PIC DES MEMISES - BALCON DU LEMAN
Take the cablecar and depart towards the balcony trail overlooking Lake Geneva. Picnic lunch and then cross the Mémises and the alpine pastures of Mottay before descending to Novel valley. Night in a refuge in the pastures (without baggage).
3.5 hour walk / Elevation: +550m -600m
BISE PASS - BISE VALLEY
From the refuge, climb to Lake Neuteu and the Bise pass. Short detour possible to the beautiful glacial Lake Darbon under the watchful eyes of the ibex! Descend into the Bise valley to the Ubine Refuge nestled under the north face of Mont Chauffé.
6.5 hour walk / Elevation: +970m -970m
ABONDANCE - LAKE TAVANEUSE
Descend to the village of Abondance for a short transfer. Climb to Lake Tavaneuse and to the mountain pass at 1997m. Descend through the pastures and the forest to Lake Montriond. Transfer to the Chardonnière refuge. Night in a dormitory.
7 hour walk / Elevation: +950m -1350m
DENTS BLANCHES MASSIF - PAS AU TAUREAU
Climb to the Tête de Bostan facing the superb and wild Dents Blanches massif. Cross the Pas au Taureau (2555m) via a short cabled passage, then descend into the lunar-like valley of the Combe aux Puaires, an unusual area of lappiaz (eroded limestones). Night at the Vogealle refuge in a dormitory (without baggage).
7 hour walk / Elevation: +1200m -660m
BOUT DU MONDE AND CIRQUE DU FER À CHEVAL
From the Vogealle refuge, a beautiful descent facing the Tenneverge cliffs and on to Bout du Monde, continuing to the amphitheatre at Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval and its multiple waterfalls. Night in the village of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +100m -1150m
ANTERNE LAKE AND PASS
Short transfer. The day begins through the woods, alongside the Rouget, Pleureuse and Souffraz waterfalls. Climb to the Anterne pasture at the heart of the Sixt-Passy Nature Reserve, a wide high plateau where one of the most beautiful lakes in the area is nestled. Here is the kingdom of marmots and rare bearded vultures! Skimming stone contest followed by a short climb to the Anterne pass and descent to the Moëde-Anterne refuge. Night in dormitory.
5.5 hour walk / Elevation: +1300m -250m
ENVERS DU BREVENT - CHAMONIX
Short descent towards the Arlevé bridge. Here the landscape changes, the Fiz limestones give way to the red rocks of the Aiguilles Rouges range. Climb up to the Brévent pass (2368m) then descend to Planpraz to take the gondola down to Chamonix.
5 hour walk / Elevation: +750m -750m
LES HOUCHES - LES CONTAMINES
Take the cable car and depart on foot from 1800m. Crossing to the foot of the Bionnassay Glacier before climbing to the Tricot pass. Descend to the Miage chalets and on to Les Contamines.
Night in a small dormitory in a village gîte.
5.5 hour walk / Elevation: +650m -1300m
COL DE LA CROIX DU BONHOMME - CORMET DE ROSELEND
Climb via the Roman road to the famous mountain pass, Col du Bonhomme. Descend via the Crête des Gittes and the vast Beaufortain pastures to arrive at Plan de la Lai. Night in a dormitory above Lake Roselend.
6.5 hour walk / Elevation: +/- 1000m
FROM THE FOOT OF PIERRA MENTA TO PORTE DE ROSUEL
Balcony trail overlooking Lake Roselend and climb to the Bresson pass (2469m) at the foot of the Pierra Menta mountain. Descend through the Ormette valley and alongside small water channels in the hamlets to reach Valezan, part of the Tarentaise valley. Taxi transfer to Peisey Nancroix and La Porte de Rosuel.
Night in a dormitory in a refuge (*or hotel).
7 hour walk / Elevation: +1050m -1650m
COL DE LA SACHETTE - TIGNES
Enter into the Vanoise National Park at the foot of Mont Pourri and Dôme de la Sache. A short detour is possible via Lake La Plagne before climbing to the Sachette pass (2713m). Descent into La Sache valley and the natural reserve of Tignes-Champagny and continue to the village of Tignes-les-Boisses.
Night in a hotel.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +1160m -940m
COL DE LA VANOISE: VIEW ON THE GRANDE CASSE
Short bus transfer to reach the Val Claret ski resort. From here discover the wide outdoors of the Vanoise National Park and climb to the Leisse pass. Descend the Leisse valley punctuated by its many lakes. The 1700m high southern face of the Grande Casse overhangs the trail. Night in a dormitory in Col de La Vanoise refuge (*without baggage).
5.5 hour walk / Elevation: +1080m -650m
PETIT AND GRAND MARCHET CIRQUES
Depart from the refuge along the balcony trails overlooking the Pralognan Valley: Combe de l'Arcelin, Cirque du Dard, Cirque du Grand Marchet, Cirque du Petit Marchet, Lake Valette and Combe des Nants. Descent into Prioux Valley. Night in a dormitory in a refuge.
7 hour walk / Elevation: +1000m -1800m
CHAVIÈRE PASS - MAURIENNE VALLEY
Climb Chavière valley dominated by the Domes de la Vanoise in a lunar landscape punctuated by cairn forests (piles of stones). The Aiguilles de Péclet-Polset indicate the nearby Chavière Pass. Descend into the Maurienne Valley through the pastures. Short transfer to Modane from Porte de l'Orgère.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +1150m -950m
End point around 4pm at Modane train station.
Elevation: +/- 700m to 1300m approximately per day.
Walking time: 5 to 7 hours per day.
Type of trek: mountain route on trails with some well equipped aerial sections.
Group from 6 to 14 people supervised by a guide.
CLASSIC: 13 nights in mountain chalets, refuges and gites.
All accommodation offers hot showers.
For the night without your baggage at the accommodation (you will get it back the night after), here are the things to add to your backpack (about 2 kilos are enough!):
- small toilet bag
- sleeping bag liner sheet
- change of clothes (bare necessities!)
Breakfast and dinner are provided in each accommodation.
Picnics are included and are carefully prepared daily by your guide, comprising a variety of healthy salads and local products.
We do our best to accommodate special diets (gluten-free, vegetarian etc.). However, we encourage you to bring some additional products for your own picnics.
To be able to easily walk 15km (on flat trails) in 3 hours maximum.
If this is not the case, at least 3 weeks before departure, 2 to 3 times a week, we advise you to undertake some prior fitness training: 4 to 5km jogging or 3 to 4 hours hiking or cycling. Your physical preparation will enable you to enjoy your trek to the maximum.
IGN Top 25 - 3528ET/ Morzine and Top 25 - 3530ET/ Samoëns (1/25 000).
From end of June to mid-September.
Meeting point at 12:00pm in front of the Tourist Office in Thollon-les-Mémises.
Inbound: depart Gare de Lyon (Paris) TGV Paris/Bellegarde/Evian
There are regular buses from Evian to Thollon Les Mémises (40mins) www.thollonlesmemises.com
Schedules should be verified in a train station or at www.oui.sncf
Take the A40 motorway to Annemasse, free parking and bus www.sat-leman ligne-141-evian-annemasse or train to Evian-les-Bains, then to Thollon-les-Mémises. Free parking at Thollon-les-Mémises.
1 hour by car to Chamonix.
Bus and minibus services direct to your accommodation (25-35€ pp each way)
2.15 hours by car to Chamonix.
Train every 2 hours to Chamonix, 4.15 hour journey (40-45€ pp return)
7 hours by car to Chamonix.
Train every 2 hours to Chamonix / 5-6 hour journey (80-120€ pp return)
In option: the transfer Chamonix-Thollon and the transfer Modane - Les Houches: 50€ per transfer and per person (to book on registration).
If you book a night in the Chamonix valley, ask the hotel reception for a bus/train pass to use public transport for free in the Chamonix valley. www.chamonix.montblancbus.com/en/bus-lines
If you are late please contact the agency as soon as possible on: +33 (0)4 50 79 09 16 or +33 (0)6 42 49 76 07
Bring a comfortable backpack of 30 to 40 litres for your personal belongings for the day (warm clothes, waterproofs, water, plate and cutlery for your picnic, sunscreen and your identity papers) and please keep a little room to carry a picnic and snacks.
Your baggage will be transported daily (except Days 1, 4 and 13) between accommodation by our logistics vehicle. You are allowed 1 soft, sports type bag with all your possessions inside, no heavier than 12kg. Your bag has to be carried everyday by the driver, where access is not always easy, please think of their backs! Baggage which is too big and too heavy won't be accepted by the drivers!
If you wish to prolong your holiday, we can safely hold another bag for you which you may leave with us at the departure point and it will be deposited at the end point with your other baggage.