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.
Next departure 01/08/21
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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 the 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
MODANE - VALLEE ETROITE
Transfer to Valfréjus (20mins) to the famous departure point of the GR5, towards the Étroite valley. Gentle climb towards this mountain pass which acts as a natural border between the Northern and the Southern Alps. Here enter the Hautes-Alpes and Étroite Valley, a French enclave in Italy. Descentdto the hamlet of Les Granges to spend the first night in a refuge.
5 hour walk / Elevation: +750m -650m
VALLÉE ÉTROITE - COL DU VALLON - NÉVACHE
Returning on the trail a few hundred metres to sink into the heart of the Clarée Valley. In an extremely wild area, climb to the Vallon pass (2645m) dominating the magnificent Lake Blanc. A beautiful descent towards the Nevache village in the upper Clarée Valley. Cross the traditional village of Ville Haute and transfer (35mins) at the end of the day to the neighbouring Fonts de Cervières valley. Night in refuge.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +850m -1050m
FONTS DE CERVIÈRES - COL MALRIF - ABRIÈS
Reaching the Queyras National Park via the Malrif pass (2830m). A beautiful climb from the Fonts de Cervières hamlet. Cross the Marif pass with a breathtaking view of the famous Mont Viso, the Lord of the Southern Alps. A long descent to Abriès via the Malrif lakes which are among the largest in the Queyras region. Night in a gîte.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +850m -1300m
ECHALP - LAKE VALLEY - COL VIEUX - LAKE BLANCHE
From the last hamlet of this high valley of Guil, up along the Italian border, the valley of Bouchouse which constitutes a biotope reserve. Passage to Egorgeou and Foréant lakes and then to "Col Vieux" (2806m) to reach "Col de Chamoussière". Descent into this wide valley of the "Aigue Blanche" to reach the "refuge de la Blanche", by the lake, nestled at the foot of the "Tête des Toilies". Night without luggage transport.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +1400m ; -600m
LAKE BLANCHE - COL DE LA NOIRE - MALJASSET
From the refuge, in its extraordinary landscape, climb to the mineral area of Col de de la Noire. Leaving behind the Queyras region to enter the wild valley of Haute-Ubaye. Gently descending into the flower filled Longet valley to the first hamlet of Maljasset. Night in a gîte.
7.5 hour walk / Elevation: +550m -1300m
MALJASSET - COL MARY - CHIAPPERA
At the foot of the highest range of Haute-Ubaye, the Chambeyron (3412m), an easy climb through the Col Mary Valley with its multitude of lakes cheerfully dotting the pastures. From the mountain pass enter Italy, to the Piedmont to reach the Val Maira and the beautiful village Chiappera. Night in a gîte, without luggage transport.
5.5 hour walk / Elevation: +815 m ; -1150 m
CHIAPPERA - COL DES MONGE - ORONAYES VALLEY - LARCHE
Nice traverse in the unusual Maira Valley to reach the "Col des Monges" (2542m) marking the border between France and Italy. Descend into the Montagnette Valley dominated by the fortresses of Maginot erected during the Second World War... Arrive in Larche, a small village of Haute-Ubaye. Transfer around 6pm towards the Montdauphin-Guillestre train station.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +1150 m ; -1150 m
LARCHE - VALLON DU LAUZANIER - PAS DE LA CAVALE Depart for the Lauzanier Valley at the gates of the Mercantour National Park. Climb via a pleasant path to reach the Lauzanier Lake before a final slightly steeper climb up to the pass. A magnificent view from Col de la Cavale of the Tinée and the surrounding mountains. Descend into the high valleys of the Alpes Maritimes passing via the Col des Fourches and the magnificent promontory of Mont des Fourches. Reaching the Bonnette Restefond road (the highest road in Europe) encountering poignant vestiges of the Maginot line. Night in Bousseyas, the first hamlet in this high valley of Tinée.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +1040m ; - 1100m
ISOLA 2000 - COL DE LA MERCIERE - LE BORÉON After an early transfer to Isola 2000 ski resort, climb to the Col de la Mercière (2342m). Descend and then cross through the old village of Mollière and up to Col De Salèze. Depending on the condition and the fitness level of the group a detour is possible to Lake Negere. Descend into the Vésubie to the village of Boréon. Night in a gîte.
5.5 hour walk / Elevation: + 550 m ; - 1090 m
LE BORÉON - PAS DES LARDES - MADONE DE LA FENESTRE - LACS DE PRALS - LA GORDOLASQUE
From Boreon, climb through the valley towards the lakes of Trécolpas to cross the Pas de Lardes (2448m) dominated by the Gelas, highest summit of the Mercantour. Descend to the hospices of the Madone de Fenestre passing near its cheese cave. Through the Poncet Valley to the lower lakes and then on to the 5 lakes of Prals before going up to Lower Prals. Beautiful descent into the Gordolasque Valley, in the Relais des Merveilles.
7.5 hour walk / Elevation: + 1550m ; - 1520m
VALLÉE LA GORDOLASQUE - REFUGE DE NICE - BAISSE DE VALMASQUE - VALLÉE DES MERVEILLES
Climbing through the Gordolasque Valley to Lac de la Fous and Refuge de Nice which dominates. Travelling light for a night without baggage transport to the Refuge des Merveilles.
From Refuge de Nice, climb to Baisse Basto to join the famous Vallée des Merveilles and its engraved caves. A succession of enchanting lakes in the middle of this mineral landscape typical of this valley full of history.
6.5 hour walk / Elevation: + 1300m ; - 790m
REFUGE DES MERVEILLES - PAS DU DIABLE - COL DU RAUX - L'AUTHION - CAMP D'ARGENT
Via a multitude of lakes, leave the Vallée des Merveilles by the Pas de Diable. Change of scenery starting from the Pas de Diable where we will cross several mountain passes at medium altitude through sheep pastures. At the Col du Raux, heading back to the small plateau of Authion dominated by a remarkable redoubt, a high place of confrontation during the Second World War. From Authion on a clear day is our first sighting of the Mediterranean. Descend to the small ski resort of Camp d'Argent.
5.5 hour walk / Elevation: + 625m ; - 1000m
CAMP D'ARGENT - MONT VENTABREN - MANGIABO - SOSPEL
A magnificent day on a ridge awaits. Leaving these landscapes rich in military vestiges of the Second World War to reach Sospel via the Mount Ventabren and Mangiabo ridges. With a continuing view over the mouth of the Var and the outskirts of Nice. A Charming descent to the village of Sospel on the Bévéra river for the night. 7 hour walk / Elevation: +570m -1750m
SOSPEL - COL DU RAZET - VIEUX CATSELLAR - MENTON
Last day of the GTA, not there yet... but can you smell the sea?! Beautiful climb to the Col de Razel (1032m) on an old paved path between ruined shepherd huts. Passing flocks of sheep and goats from Rove testifies to the arrival in Provence. The vegetation becomes much more leafy and fragrant. Chestnut trees, maples and rosemary line this beautiful day. Enjoy the last mountain pass, Col du Berceau (1050m) to picnic overlooking the bay and harbour of Menton... and a final descent of 1050m to the waters edge!
6.5 hour walk / Elevation: +1110m -1450m
End point around 4:30pm in Menton harbour.
Elevation: +/- 700m - 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 between 6 and 14 people supervised by a professional mountain leader.
CLASSIC: 27 nights in mountain chalets, refuges and gîtes
For the nights 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.
Meeting point at 12:00pm in front of Thollon-les-Mémises Tourist Office.
If you wish, we can pick you up in Chamonix and transfer you to the departure point in Thollon-les-Mémises; optional service costing 45€ per person, to be booked on registration.
Meet at 9:30am with your baggage in front of Chamonix train station.
Inbound: depart Gare de Lyon (Paris) TGV Paris/Bellegarde/Evian
There are regular buses from Evian to Thollon Les Mémises (40mins) www.thollonlesmemises.com
Return train: depart Chamonix at 3:15pm arrive in (Paris) Gare de Lyon at 9:49pm.
Times given are indicative and should be verified in a train station or on www.oui.sncf
Return: From Chamonix to Annemasse by train www.oui.sncf
For your car: free parking in Thollon-les-Mémises, Chamonix and Annemasse.
Chamonix, free parking at the Biolay car park opposite the Montenvers train station or if you wish to leave your car in a covered garage, contact:
Chamonix Auto Park: 04 50 53 65 71 (40 to 50€ per week).
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)
If you book a night in the Chamonix valley, you can ask to your hotel reception a bus/train pass so you can public transports for free in the Chamonix valley.
In accordance with regulations, we are covered by Professional Liability Insurance. In no case can we be responsible for your own Personal Liability. If you chose to take out repatriation insurance with EUROP ASSISTANCE whom we propose, Altitude Mont Blanc will only serve as an intermediary between the client and the insurer. We cannot influence either party. We adhere to strict conditions of sale. You are responsible for compliance with the reporting procedures of any incident.
Our insurance can only be sold to European citizens speaking French.
Before making any decision, contact EUROP ASSISTANCE.
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 1,4,13,18, 20 and 25) 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.