Mont Buet via Tre les Eaux Loop
Elevation + / -
2103m / 2103m
When to go
Mid Jul - End Sep
8.0 - 13.0 Hours
1335m / 3098m
Very Difficult (5/5)
5.0 - 8.0 Hours
15+ Years old
1 Refuge, 1 Snack Bar
The summit of Mont Buet sits at an altitude of 3098 meters, making it the highest peak near Chamonix outside those that are part of the Mont Blanc Massif. The views from the summit are spectacular and provide wide vistas in all directions and into distant lands. There are a couple of options for reaching the summit of Mont Buet. The "standard route" goes through the Berard valley and climbs up to Mont Buet from its south-facing slope. After reaching the summit you then return the same way. We prefer the northern approach from Cheval Blanc which then enables us to make this into a loop by ascending from the north side and descending via the south face and returning via the Berard valley. We already have a detailed trail description for the trail to Mont Buet that passes by the Refuge de Loriaz and the Col de la Terrasse. The version we present here follows largely that same route but comes up to the Col des Corbeux via de gorgeous Tre-les-Eaux valley. The one down-side of both routes is that you will have to tackle some pretty technical terrain with big drops. If you have a fear of heights then the traditional route from Berard is probably a better option for you.
The trail starts at the Le Buet parking. Easily reached by private vehicle or by train or bus. From there we go to the hamlet of Le Lay and enter the valley of Tre-les-Eaux. The imposing ridge line that runs from the Cheval Blanc to the summit of Mont Buet will be towering high above us all the way. You will probably be having mixed feelings realizing that you will be having to climb all the way up to this towering ridge line but you will also be excited about the views that await you there. The climb out of the Tre-les-Eaux valley to the Col des Corbeux is beautiful. Don't forget to look behind you every now and then. From Col des Corbeux you will make your way to the Cheval Blanc which from a distance will look a lot further away and more daunting than it will prove to actually be. Having said that, the actual climb up to Cheval Blanc is quite steep and there will be red ropes in the more technical sections. The views from Cheval Blanc are incredible. The slightly downhill smooth ridge line from Cheval Blanc will be a welcome change from the climb you just did. You will now continue along this ridge line all the way until you reach the summit of Mont Buet. Some of the sections here will be quite harrowing with big drops and lots of ropes and metal supports. The views and the pictures you will be taking will be spectacular though. The summit of Buet itself has an orientation table and its a great location to spend some time to admire the many, many peaks around you. Including great views of Mont Blanc from a distance where you can finally appreciate that it really is much taller than all the other peaks. From the summit you will descend all the way down to the Refuge de la Pierre a Berard and then take the Berard Valley back to the Le Buet Parking.
Overall, this is some of the best scenery around Chamonix. Its long and strenuous but if you can handle it then this will be one of the most rewarding day hikes you can do in the region. Some practical information: no dogs as you will be passing through natural reserves. The technical difficulty is too high for anyone below the age of 15 in our opinion. The altitude of more than 3000 meters necessitates proper preparation and clothes for all temperatures and weather conditions. The summit of Mont Buet is only snow free for a limited couple of months per year and it changes drastically depending on how early the snow falls. To illustrate this, we did this route in the middle of September 2022 and were going through the snow. The video we shot in October 9, 2023 had us going up in t-shirts at 25 degree temperatures. So ask ahead of time. The northern approach is too technical to be handled in snowy/icey conditions and could pose real danger. There will be plenty of rivers and stream along the way. Both Refuge Loriaz and Refuge Berard have a water source. Check if those are open on the dates you plan to go. In any case bring plenty of water as there are long stretches without a water source.
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 Reserves. No dogs allowed.
When to Go
Mid Jul - End Sep
Risk Considerations & Difficulty Assessment
This route reaches an altitude of 3098 meters at the summit of Mont Buet and it will be dangerous to take this particular route from the northern side of Mont Buet if there is snow cover. At the same time the amount of snow cover at different periods of the year can vary great depending on the amount of snow that fell the last season, the heat of spring and summer and the timing of the first snow. So it is important to get accurate data on the amount of snow cover on Mont Buet. The Mountain Information Office is a good source to consult before heading out. Roughly speaking the best period to undertake this high altitude trail would be from the middle of July to the end of September. We understand that this is a very small window.
It is not difficult to navigate this route. In fact you will be seeing the majority of the route quite early on seeing how you will be entering the Tre-les-Eaux valley and seeing much of the ridgeline to Mont Buet ahead of you. The trail markers are clear and present at every junction.
The trail is very technical. Especially the final ascend to Mont Buet from the Cheval Blanc has many sections that are steep and require hand and foot work. There will also be big intimidating drops on many of those sections. The traditional route approaching the summit from its south-western slope is a lot less technical.
Trail Starting Point
We start the trail at the Le Buet car park. The Le Buet train station is located right at the far end of the car park and the bus station is inside the car park. The entrance to the Tre-les-Eaux valley is at Le Lay should you decide to start this trail from Vallorcine.
From the Le Buet parking follow the main road D1506 in a northern direction. You will see a trail on your left right before the bridge with a trail marker for Mont Buet. Take this trail and follow the signs for Tre-les-Eax. At Sur le Rocher keep following signs for Tre-les-Eaux. You are now on a single trail that will lead all the way up to the Col des Corbeux. Follow the signs for the Cheval Blanc. At the summit of Cheval Blanc follow the ridge in a south-western direction following the trail marker saying Lac du Plan du Buet. Follow trail along the ridge line which will take you all the way to the summit of Mont Buet. The summit has no trail markers but you will see the trail going down its southern face. Follow this trail and keep following it in a southern direction to the Col de Salenton. You will reach a junction before Col de Salenton. Take the trail going down to Refuge de Berard. You will never actually go to the Col de Salenton. From Refuge berard follow the single trail out of the valley back towards Le Buet passing by the Cascade de Berard and the hamlet of La Poya.
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.