Argentiere Glacier and Refuge Lognan
Elevation + / -
474m / 474m
When to go
Start Jul - End Sep
2.0 - 3.0 Hours
2040m / 2352m
1.3 - 2.0 Hours
9+ Years old
This trail showcases some of the best that the Montagne de Lognan has to offer including very up close contact with the the imposing Glacier d'Argentiere. We take the Plan Joran gondola from Les Chosalets right outside Argentiere. This is the only lift that services the Montagne de Lognan in summer. In winter this is the famous Grand Montets ski area. The gondolas drops us of at a nice altitude of 2123 meters. Instantly giving us great views into Tre-le-Champ and the Vallorcine valley beyond and across the Chamonix Valley towards the Aiguilles Rouges. From there we make our way north-east until we turn a corner on the trail and get our first glimpses of the very imposing Argentiere Glacier. We then climb the rocky trail running parallel to the glacier to a view point. From there we can see deep into the valley that the glacier has cut and can appreciate its size. There is also a trail that provides access to the glacier itself. We have done this ourselves and have seen many tourists do the same. It seems safe enough but glaciers are dangerous and you will notice small crevasses all around you. After admiring the glacier, we make our way back and then descend towards the Chalet Refuge de Lognan. This is a wonderful place and they serve a wonderful "croute" which we have enjoyed a few times in a few variations. After a break at the refuge we make our way back to the gondola and descend back to the valley.
Overall, a fantastic little trail that shows the best this particular mountain within the Chamonix Valley has to offer. If you are looking for a bigger challenge then we can recommend you combine this trail with this trail which ascends from Le Lavancher via the Tete de Prapators and the Chalets de Pendant. Once you did that one too, you can truly say that you have mastered the Montagne de Lognan.
Photos of this Trail
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Trail Directions & Safety Considerations
9+ Years old
Dogs are allowed on the Plan Joran lift and the trail should be reasonably doable for a dog although there are big boulders and the terrain is quite rocky.
When to Go
Start Jul - End Sep
Risk Considerations & Difficulty Assessment
The trail reaches an altitude of 2352 meters. The snow can melt quite late in the year on the side of the lognan mountain. The climb to the view points should be snow free from the start of July to the start of October. The lifts go from mid June to mid September. So if you will be using the gondola, as suggested in this trail description, then your last possible date will be the closing of the Plan Joran lift.
The trails are well marked and it will be easy to follow the trail markers to the glacier view point. The Refuge Lognan cannot be missed either and will be visible during a large part of the trail.
The trails themselves are quite technical once you start climbing up to the glacier view point. Its very rocky and some boulders are very large and some have been eroded down by the glacier in times long past, and have a very smooth and potentially slippery surface. Many people use the trail to set foot on the argentiere glacier. It is definitely a nice experience but the official guideline has to be that you should not enter glacier territory without crampons, rope and a guide. It seems many people do not heed this warning and we will leave this up to you to decide for yourself. Our official position and advice will be to go to the viewpoint but to leave the glacier exploration for another time and with a properly trained guide.
Trail Starting Point
The trail starts at the top of the Plan Joran gondola. The gondola departs from Les Chosalets, a little south from Argentiere. There is a large carpark here as part of the Grand Montets ski area. There is also a bus stop a little further down the road at the Chosalets round-about. The nearest train station is Argentiere after which a bridge can help you cross the river and make your way to the gondola.
We take the Plan Joran gondola and start the trail where it drops us of at an altitude of 2134 meters. On your left you will notice a trail marker pointing towards the Glacier view points. Follow this trail which traverses the mountain in a north-eastern direction. Stay on this trail and keep following the glacier view points trail markers all the way to the glacier. Here you will now follow the trail that runs parallel to the glacier up the mountain. You will see another trail marker in the distance. From there the trail marker will tell you that it is another 10 minutes to the view point. You can also chose to descend to the actual glacier. The trail is much used and easy to follow but does have a big boulders and is generally very rocky. Needless to say, going onto a glacier without a guide and without crampons and ropes is not recommended. Once you are done admiring the glacier, make your way back down to where you first turned the corner and saw the glacier. This time take the trail to the right at the junction and keep heading in a direction that stays close to the glacier. You will see the Chalet Refuge de Lognan in the distance. Stay on the 4x4 track that leads in the direction of the refuge. At one point, you will notice a small trail that goes directly to the refuge. It has no trail marker. You can take this little trail or you can stay on the 4x4 track that will also lead you to the refuge but it will circle around it. Visit the refuge and take the 4x4 track on its western side. It will loop up and reconnect to the 4x4 track that you were on before. Keep heading west until you reach a junction with a 4x4 track on your left which goes steep up in a southern direction. Take this steep track until it reconnects to the trail that you took at the start of your trail. There will be a trail marker there too pointing towards the Plan Joran gondola. Follow the trail back to the gondola and make your way back down.
Points of Interest for this Trail
We have a large database of all of the points of interests in and around Chamonix. These are the points of interest you will find along this trail:
3D Map & GPS
Trail Route Map & GPS
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3D Map of this Trail
FATMAP in an incredible website and mobile application that you can use to view the trail in full 3D, do a fly over of the route and get a detailed vertical profile. You can view the FATMAP of this trail below and use the 'View larger map' link to visit the trail on the FATMAP website.