Col des Montets to Plan Praz via the Lacs
Elevation + / -
1552m / 1011m
When to go
End Jun - End Sep
7.0 - 12.0 Hours
1467m / 2562m
Very Difficult (5/5)
4.0 - 6.0 Hours
15+ Years old
This trail starts at the Col des Montets and traverses the highest trail along the Aiguilles Rouges all the way to the Planpraz lift station right above Chamonix. Its a strenuous trail with quite a bit of altitude gain and pretty rough and rocky terrain. You will be rewarded for all that effort with some incredible views across the Chamonix Valley and towards the Aiguille Verte and the Massif du Mont Blanc. You will also be visiting all the mountain lakes along the way starting of with the famous Lac Blanc. This lake has been featured in many popular photos and has a nice refuge and snack bar next to it. From there you traverse towards the Index chair lift and then the traverse continues to the Col de la Gliere. A pretty spectacular climb up to the col with a nice view to the next valley as your reward. From the Col de la Gliere there will be two lakes you can and should visit. The two lakes, jointly referred to as the Lacs Noirs and then later on down the trail Lac Cornu. After visiting Lac Cornu you climb back to the trail and head over and down the Col du Lac Cornu and make your way down to the Planpraz lift station from where you can take the lift down back to Chamonix. This trail can be done in reverse in which case there will be significantly less uphill climbing. For those looking for even more you could continue on from Planpraz and climb up Le Brevent and make your way down the crest passed the Aiguillette du Brevent and the Aiguillette des Houches and all the way down into Servoz. That would make this a monster trail of 32km.
Photos of this Trail
We have a large library of pictures from in and around the Chamonix Valley. All pictures are categorized and geo location tagged. These are the pictures we have for this trail. Click on any picture to view it's details and location.
Trail Directions & Safety Considerations
15+ Years old
Natural Reserve. Dogs are not allowed.
When to Go
End Jun - End Sep
Risk Considerations & Difficulty Assessment
This route reaches an altitude of 2562 near Les Lacs Noir and there is likely to be a certain level of snow cover till late June at least. This trail suggests you take the Planpraz lift back down to Chamonix to save yourself an additional large descent. This lift is open typically from mid June to mid September and that is probably the best window to undertake this trail. It is important to check local conditions at the time you are planning to go. The trails are rocky and technical and snow cover could really be a problem This trail is not hard to navigate and the major waypoints are Lac Blanc, Index, Col de la Gliere, Col du Lac Cornu and Planpraz. I need to verify how well the detours to Lacs Noirs and Lac Cornu are marked. The trails themselves are pretty rocky and technical and it is pretty much like that all the way from the moment you reach the top of your initial ascend from Col des Montets. The final ascend to the Col de la Gliere has metal hand railings and could be a bit hairy.
Trail Starting Point
You can start the trail at the Col des Montets. You can park your car there or take the train to Montroc and walk to the Col des Montets. The first major destinatio is Lac Blanc and there are multiple trails that can take you there from Les Praz, Argentiere and Tre-le-Champ.
At the Col des Montets there is a trail marker for Lac Blanc. Follow this trail which quickly turns into a steep trail of switchbacks till you reach the high traversing trail of the Grand Balcon Sud. There will be clear trail markers for Lac Blanc and you should reach the lake and refuge without any trouble. Once you are done looking around Lac Blanc, you will pass the mouth of the lake and cross over to the trail south west in the direction of the Index chair lift. Just take care not to take the trail going down to La Flegere. The traverse to the Index is a single track and you will have no problem reaching the chair lift. From Index make your way down till you reach a split of the trail at the Col du Fouet. Turn right in the direction of the Col de la Gliere. There are some technical parts right before the col with some metal handrails. Once at the col there is a trail going north towards the Lacs Noirs. Just follow the trail marker. After visiting Lacs Noirs you make your way back to Col de la Gliere and make your way south till you reach the path going towards Lac Cornu. After visiting this late head back up to the Col du Lac Cornu and make your way down towards Planpraz. This will be easy to navigate and you will see the lift station in the distance. From Planpraz take the lift down to Chamonix
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
You can download the GPX file and load this route into your own GPS enabled device or application. If you are on Strava, then you can open this route in Strava and save it to your account.
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.