Il Refuge Albert Premier e dietro l'Aguille du Chardonnet Italian Home
English Home

prvevious stage
next stage

Stage 6

from Le Peuty (1297 m, CH) to Refuge Albert Premier (2701 m, F)

Uphill difference of level / in height: 1400 m
Refuges on the way: Refuge of Col de Balme (2191 m)
Average duration of the stage: 4 h

The sixth stage of our trip is a variation on the classic tour, following which we should go to Le Tour or, a little bit further, to Montroc. Nevertheless the refuge Albert Premier, as you can see in the photograph at the side, is situated in a fantastic position and we cannot but yield to the temptation to deviate from the original route, although we have to lengthen the tour quite a lot.

We set off at Le Peuty and reach the peak of the Col de Balme (2191 m). after less than two hours, walking along a gentle winding path and stopping every now and then to eat some bilberries. The peak of the Col du Balme offers us a wonderful view: the sky is very clear and we overlook the entire valley of Chamonix, and moreover, after being hidden for the previous days, the Giant reappears in all its magnificence. We set off again, direction Refuge Albert Premier. At the beginning the ascent is very easy: save a short stretch supplied with a manovia metallica, the path is wide, and therefore crowded; it is actually quite an effort to climb the last 300 meters or so to the refuge, because the path rises quickly on a steep crest directly to the refuge itself, with some artificial stairs at the end of it.

As already mentioned, the refuge is situated in a fantastic position: it is just below the Glacier du Tour and is surrounded by lots of peaks much higher than 3000 meters. The rooms are very nice, but there aren't more than five wash-basins (only cold water, very cold actually, because it comes directly from the glacier), obviously no shower and three or four toilets to divide with more or less two hundred people!!

The refuge is full of alpinists that spend here the night to set off at 4 a.m. for the Aguille du Chardonnet. Because of all these persons, the dinner is served in two turns: ours is the first, the one of 6 p.m.! After dinner we drink something on the terrace of the refuge, admiring the most beautiful sunset of our life. Light turns off at 9 p.m., to give the chance to rest suitably/adequately to those who are going to wake up in the middle of the night.

A rough patchwork of the marvellous view from the top of the Col de Balme (on the right the Muont Blanc)
Along the ascent leading to the Col de Balme Near the top of the Col de Balme, with the Muont Blanc behind us
Elena walking along the path leading to the Albert Premier All of us in front of the door of the Albert Premier
The Aguille du Chardonnet A marvellous sunset from the terrace of the Albert Premier
Sunset on one of the seracs of the Glacier du Tour Sunset on the Aguille du Chardonnet