Swiss Side Loop

Chamonix

Vormaine

Balme

Balme (Le Tour)

From Le Tour, visit Trient and return along the CCC/UTMB course before discovering the Posettes ridgeline.

Also in Haute-Savoie, France

Trail Running Severe

Distance
25 km
Ascent
2.2 km
Descent
2.2 km
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2.5 km
Gradient
31˚
VIEW ON MAP
Swiss Side Loop Map

Description

Although the fastest way to reach the Col de Balme would be to follow the unappealing ski pistes under the ski lifts, why not make a detour in the direction of the Albert 1er refuge? You'll need to tackle the steep climb up the moraine along a sometimes technical and exposed trail, but you'll be then rewarded with a breathtaking traverse trail that will take you back to the col. It's longer, sure, but definitely more scenic!

The descent on the Swiss side is easy enough, but it's rather long. The last part is along a road, but at least you'll make short work of it. From Trient, it's time to join the UTMB course, with the climb towards Les Tseppes, and then Catogne. Most runners do this bit at nighttime, which is a shame considering how beautiful the view is. The trail is typical UTMB: easy enough, after a series of tough switchbacks to start with.

At Catogne, keep climbing towards the small col to the south, where a short descent will bring you to Col des Posettes. There, you'll have the option to directly descend to Le Tour or make the short climb to Aiguille des Posettes. As it's only 200m of ascent, and you'll be treated to a stunning panoramic view on a trail that initially follows the ridgeline before turning into a fun singletrack snaking around the trees, I suggest choosing that option. This section is a part of the Mont-Blanc Marathon course, and will keep you away from the mountain bikers as well. The trail will bring you right back to the car park where you started.

Difficulty

Severe

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September, October

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