A scenic cruise down to a chairlift.


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Described here as a descent, this hike can be done as a single day return trip starting from and finishing at the Breya chairlift, high above the charming Swiss village of Champex Lac.

It's a fabulous hike in whichever direction you do it and passes through one of the Mont Blanc Massif's quieter corners.

If you're planning to do this and then transfer to Mauvoisin and hike up to the Cabane de Chanrion, get an early start - it's a big day! Aim to be at the chairlift not long after it opens so that you can be in Champex Lac by mid morning.

Starting from the Cabane d'Orny, descend the rocky path which heads east from the hut.

The path is pretty rough in places but generally fairly easy to follow.

If you do lose the path at any stage, there are paint marks and the occasional signpost to get you back on track.

The path goes past a series of gorgeous blue lakes, and these look stunning (not to mention somewhat out of place) perched high up in a wild, alpine environment.

Other highlights from the path include the epic views of some distant Swiss 4000ers and the much closer (but equally impressive) sight of the Glacier d'Orny and the rocky peaks on the far side of it.

The Petit Clocher du Portalet (which sits level with the end of the glacier) is particularly spectacular and is home to some legendary granite rock climbs. As you descend towards the chairlift the terrain becomes increasingly green and there is a pleasant sensation of returning to the "normal" world after a period in the high mountains.

Upon reaching the chairlift, ride it down to Champex Lac and, if you're feeling a bit hot and bothered, enjoy a swim in the lake that sits in the middle of the village. If you're continuing on to the Cabane de Chanrion this afternoon, take a taxi from Champex to the Mauvoisin Dam and continue with part 2 of this day's hike.