Uphill difference of level / in height:
Downhill difference of level / in height: 1240 m
Refuges on the way: arrival of the cableway at La Chalette (1801 m), Chalet du Miage (1559 m), Chalet du Truc (1720 m)
This is a too long stage I wouldn't suggest, at least as far as our route is concerned. It is possible to avoid the first ascent taking the cableway starting from Les Houches. Anyway, Elena and I decide to do the entire stage on foot and set off very early, almost at dawn, before all the others wake up, and meet the rest of the group at about 10 a.m. at the arrival of the cableway. We then make our way to the Col de Tricot (2120 m) on a very interesting path, that includes a sort of "Himalayan" bridge suspended over the torrent Bionassay. Descending from the top of the Col we have to face a terrible series of differences of level: at the beginning we descend at 1560 m, to the Chalet de Miage, then we go up to the Chalet du Truc (1720 m) and down again almost to Les Contamines Montjoie (1164 m). At this point the classic route suggests to spend the night at Les Contamines, but we decide to shorten the next day stage and go on on the variant that leads us to the Hôtellerie de Trélatê (1970 m), one of the oldest refuges of the entire massif of the Mount Blanc. The way up to the Hôtellerie turns out to be a terrible one, because we take the wrong path, the longest of the three going to the refuge. Eventually, at about 6 p.m., we arrive at the refuge, completely exhausted.
There are only the six of us at the refuge. As soon as we get there we are kindly received by the lady who runs the refuge, who prepares us a delightful and rich dinner. Shortly after 9 p.m. we lay down on the bed of the enormous dormitory (more than 70 places), entirely at our disposition, (all for us), and soon fall asleep, because of the tiring but gratifying day.
The stage from Les Houches to the Hôtellerie is certainly a fascinating one and with the final variant is surely well worth being covered: it is an easy path but very suggestive, unfortunately neglected by the majority of the people making the TMB. Anyway, I warmly suggest to take advantage of the cableway on the first stretch and, above all, to be very careful at the end of the stage not to take the wrong path as we did!
|The dawn, seen by Elena and me while the others were sleeping||An Himalayan bridge on the stream Bionassay|
|The descent from the top of the Tricot||A stretch on the side of the mountain before reaching the Hotêllerie|