07 12 Col de Balme

rest at Alp Tseppes
rest at Alp Tseppes

12th July, Trient 1279m – Alp Tseppes, Col l’Arolette 2333m – Chalet Alpin du Tour, Le Tour 1453m, 4.5 h

Rather than taking the direct route from Trient past the hamlet of le Peuty to make the steep climb to Col de Balme at 2,131m, we followed a route which I already knew via the Alp Tseppes and the Col l’Arolette (2,333m). We assumed that this would be less frequented and therefore less muddy. On reaching the Col de Balme (2191m) and the Swiss-French border the view to Mont Blanc, now from the French side, should accompany the walker for the next three stages. No view though for us and even the hut on the col appeared cold and depressing. There was not much point in climbing the narrow ridge of the Aiguillette des Posettes to 2,201m, so we descended directly following the line of the cable car to the small French village of Le Tour (1,453m). Here we had arranged to stay at the large but pleasant and efficiently run Chalet Alpin du Tour of the Club Alpine Francais.

The next morning presented the same prospect as we had already endured for the last week and more. No improvement in the weather was expected in the next three days and the stages ahead involved some steep and rocky climbs. There was no chance of reaping the reward of the views of the Mont Blanc massif. We decided then to abandon the tour and travel straight home. A short walk took us to Montroc station where Peter could take a train to Chamonix and then a bus to Geneva airport. Uli and I caught a train in the opposite direction to Martigny and on to Basel. We were all home by the evening.

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