Analysing terrain data
5 - 6
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
From Les Contamines village centre, head due south to the tiny chapel at Notre Dame de la Gorge, where the tarmac road ends.
You can either walk to this point (which takes around half an hour) or take a shuttle bus.
From the chapel, continue south on a rough jeep track that climbs - quite steeply in places - for an hour to the Nant Borant Refuge.
Keep going on the jeep track, which continues to climb steeply for 10 minutes then traverses through beautiful meadows for half hour before climbing again (for 20 minutes) to the La Balme Refuge (1706 metres).
This is the last refuge for some time so take a break and get some energy back into your legs.
Post drink, continue climbing up towards the Col du Bonhomme (2329 metres), which takes 1.5 hours to reach.
There is a very small wooden shelter on the col and this may come in handy to shelter you from the rain or sun, depending on the weather.
A rising traverse then leads south from the Col du Bonhomme to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2479 metres) over the course of 45 minutes.
From the second col, descend for 10 minutes to reach the Refuge named after it.
The owners here are, even by the standards of refuge guardians, an eccentric bunch, but they offer a warm welcome and a good selection of cakes and hot food.
From the Refuge, descend for 1.5 hours on a clear path down to Les Chapeiux (1549 metres).
The village, if such a small place can even be described as a village, is blissfully quiet.