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Old 04.07.2011, 18:42
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Aiguilles Rouges (FR) hike - help?!

Dear hikers and/or other knowledgeable folk,

Here is our proposed 6-7 day itinerary:

Train to Vallorcine.
Hike to Lac Blanc.
Hike through Col du Brévent to Col d'Anterne.
Hike down past Lac d'Anterne to Le Grenairon.
Hike up Cheval Blanc from western side.
Hike down to Lac du Vieux Emosson and Lac d'Emosson.
Hike back to Vallorcine.

We got it from a hiking book, which unfortunately doesn't address some of our concerns.

First off, we are intermediate hikers. We can take some steepness here and there, but are more interested in long steady inclines. Will this hike be too challenging (Cheval Blanc and up to Lac Blanc, in particular)?

Second, are any of these areas forested or grassy? Or should we expect a rocky and barren landscape for most of the trip?

In general, would you recommend some trips through the Swiss Alps instead if we want to enjoy the scenery and perhaps some wild camping (yes, we are aware of the regulations)?

Thanks for any and all opinions.
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Old 04.07.2011, 18:53
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Re: Aiguilles Rouges (FR) hike - help?!

I hiked up to the Lac Blanc via the Lacs des Chéserys from Col des Montets when I did the Tour du Mont Blanc - not sure if this is exactly the same path as you would be taking from Vallorcine, but it might be.

The initial climb is steepish but regular, just adopt a steady rhythm that suits you and you will be fine. The Lacs des Chéserys are stunningly beautiful. Between the Lacs des Chéserys and the lac Blanc, you have to climb a couple of ladders - these are not completely vertical and are about 4 or 5 metres high if I remember rightly. The Lac Blanc itself is very touristy - hordes of people walk up from La Flégère which does rather spoil the site. If you are planning to stay there overnight, I would imagine it is lovely once the crowds have gone.

The whole of this itinerary is in very barren, rocky terrain - no forest at all, and little or no shade. We set out very early (6 am from Tré-le-Champ) specifically for this reason, to avoid suffering from the heat.

I have not done the other legs of your tour so can't comment on those at all, sorry.

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In general, would you recommend some trips through the Swiss Alps instead if we want to enjoy the scenery and perhaps some wild camping (yes, we are aware of the regulations)?.
Have a look at the Tour des Muverans in Valais - beautiful from one end to the other, and in less frequented country than the Aiguilles Rouges:

Day 1: Ovronnaz to Cabane Rambert
Day 2: Cabane Rambert to Derborence
Day 3: Derborence to Alpage de la Vare
Day 4: Alpage de la Vare to Cabane de la Tourche
Day 5: Cabane de la Tourche to Ovronnaz

I posted a description of this tour (in French) here: http://www.hikr.org/tour/post14721.html if you're interested.
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