Today is a long day so we recommend an early start, breakfast is available from 7.30am at your hotel. If possible, buy your lunch provisions the day before as the boulangerie and supermerket are about 10 minute round trip in the opposite directioin of the trail. Leave La Chapelle by way of an easy-going foopath adjacent to the river 'La Dranse d'Abondance'. Expect to see the locals out for a morning stroll to the boulangerie or out for a morning run. Turn into the Nature Reserve of Mont Grange and start a long and steep ascent through woodland to your first objective for the day, the Col de Mattes (1930m), the highest point of today's walk. Enjoy the panoramas from this peaceful col. Flanked by Alpine cows and views to the Dents du Midi, Dents Blanches and if you're lucky, Mont Blanc, it really is postcard perfect! Start a descent on rough path through flowery slopes (obviously frequently used by cows so many paths have been created, keep an eye out for markers which can be faint here).
You will then start to steadily reascend on a wide rocky track, through even more dairy farms, before the trail flattens out for a good while, offering welcome respite from the ascent and descent. Enjoy views down to the valley of La Chapelle d'Abondance and various ski areas.
An ascent to the second col of the day, the Col de Bassachaux (1778m), which is very different in character to the Col de Mattes, with a car park and large restaurant it can be busy. Continue on a wide track past the restaurant and enjoy views on your right of the mountain of the 'Roc d'Enfer' (2244m) and the picturesque Lac de Montriond.
Arrive at the Col de Chesery and the Swiss-French border. Your crossing into Switzrland is without fanfare and is unfortunately unmarked, however you will notice a change in the signage to yellow arrows with black writing, which lets you know you are now in Switzerland. Arrive at the basic but cosy Refuge de Chésery. Enjoy a well - deserved beer on the terrace with views to the serene Lac Vert.
Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains - always be prepared and carry appropriate clothing; warm as well as waterproof layers, hat and gloves etc. Please see your information pack for a detailed packing list.
Today you will be walking past a few different areas where cows graze. Although generally very docile and used to walkers, keep your distance and never turn your back on a cow that is behaving strangely or aggresive. Be particularly vigilant around cows with calves.
Tips and hints
Try to pick up your lunch the evening before from the supermarket or boulangerie in the town of La Chapelle. This will allow you to make an early and organised start the next morning. There is a restaurant at Col de Bassachaux in case refreshment is needed.
Plenty of water refill points throughout the day.
This tour is available on the following itineraries:
Getting thereIf you can't walk today due to illness, injury or weather, please contact us and we can advise you on the best way to proceed. Refuge de Chésery is quite remote and although there is road access to it, the road is narrow and rough and only suitable for certain vehicles. Finding a taxi to take you there would be very difficult and expensive. The best option would be to travel to Samoëns a day early and have a rest day there.
Good waterproof boots are a must and walking poles are highly recommended. Make sure to bring plenty of water and a snack or packed lunch.
This walk is quite exposed so be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen on hot days.
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Blister kit
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.