Analysing terrain data
4 - 5
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.
Lording over the rest of the Aravis range, the Pointe Percée will naturally appeal to any hiker or climber.
Be sure that you’re up to the task though, as in the final part of the ascent it can be difficult to tell if you’re still hiking or rather rock climbing.
(For those interested, there are also proper rock climbing routes that will take you all the way to the top).
Although this route follows the “easiest” and shortest trail to the summit, it can still be time-consuming, so plan accordingly.
The day will start gently enough with a start from Col des Annes, up a well-marked trail to Tête des Annes where you will be treated to your first unobstructed sight of the Pointe Percée.
Then, follow the ridge to col de l’Oulettaz. After a brief descent, you’ll resume your climb along a steeper trail and reach the refuge after a series of switchbacks.
There, the view is rocks, only rocks, and in all directions, and will remain so until the summit. Initially, the hike on the limestone pavements is easy and fun as the rock is of good quality, but as you progress there will be more and more wobbly rocks slowing you down, with the risk of some of them being set loose by the hikers above.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to start the hike early or do it on weekdays when it’s less crowded.
Bringing a helmet is also a good move.
The trail will be easy to follow all along, alternating between sections on good rocks and trickier ones, but as you get closer to the summit, you’ll need to use your hands to climb more and more frequently.
The climbing never gets too technical (and anyway, as it’s an out-and-back hike, you have the option of bailing out at any time), although the small ridge traverse just below the summit can be too much for some hikers. The view from the top will be well-worth the effort, though, treating you to a panoramic view of the surrounding area, including the Mont Blanc.
While you’re resting from your climb and eating a bite, don’t forget to sign the guest book located in the small box on the imposing 3m30 high cross.
Installed in 1996, it weighs 116kgs + 70kgs for the pedestal and was carried along the same route you took by hundreds of locals forming a human chain. There isn’t much to be said about the descent, as you will precisely retrace your steps, but please proceed carefully and try not to let loose any rocks on those still climbing.
You’ll have the option to stop for drinks or food at the refuge...
otherwise it will have to wait until you’re back at the trailhead.