This alternative route goes to the French border at Col de Balme, before descending to the valley floor and the village of Le Tour where it continues to Tré-le-Champ/Argentiere. You may be staying at Tré-le-Champ, Argentiére or Chamonix; please check your accommodation details.
From Trient, climb to reach the French border at Col de Balme (2191 m). Where you can then take the lower route to the valley floor and onto the village of Le Tour, then Tré-le-Champ. The walk can be further shortened by taking the telecabine. We would not recommend this variant except in poor weather as you are descending through a ski area.
There are several river crossings. There are always stepping-stones available but these may be slippery, and especially when wet. Take extra caution on these crossings.
Some of the path is along rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.
There are some exposed edges; be sure to read instructions carefully, stick to the main path, and don’t wander close to the edge. Use handrails where provided.
In early spring/summer there may still be patches of snow. Walk around where it is possible, and otherwise place your feet carefully and use walking poles if you have them.
This route is above 2,200 metres so bear in mind you may feel a shortness of breath and additional muscle fatigue associated with the altitude.
Such is the way of Alpine hiking that you need to be prepared for all seasons and weathers; sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required, as is plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.
Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so be sure to bring enough with you.
Food and Drink
Between Trient and Tré-le-Champ there are few opportunities to buy food or drink, so be sure to bring enough provisions with you.
Basking in the beautiful view atop Col de Balme after 5.9 kilometres is Chalet du Col du Balme, from where you can enjoy refreshments.
Optional telecabine to Le Tour; The telecabine and chair to Autannes operates from mid-June to the third week in September. Opening hours change slightly during the season but are normally 09:00 – 16:30. A single ticket for the chair and gondola costs around €25.
In the Chamonix Valley, all the lifts are operated by Compagnie du Mont Blanc and up to date opening hours and tariffs are available on their website here: http://www.compagniedumontblanc.fr
Bus from Tré-le-Champ to Argentière or Chamonix (depending on your itinerary- please check your accommodation details). There are regular buses to Argentière and Chamonix from Tré-le-Champ, just make your way to the bus stop on the main road, which has a bus timetable attached.
Chambus from Le Tour to Argentière/Chamonix. (Line 02)There are regular buses to Argentière/Chamonix from La Tour, just make your way to the bus stop opposite the lift station, which has a bus timetable attached. Or check online for details: http://chamonix.montblancbus.com/en