Crossing the "3000" mark in hiking
TOP 5 hikes at 3000 in Haute Maurienne Vanoise
Le Rateau3 131 m
The summit of Rateau offers a fairly easy 3000 to climb in the middle of summer. The majority of the circuit goes through a perfectly marked high altitude path.
From the parking of the Plan d'Amont dam, take the direction of the Pont de la Sétéria (2 206 m) then follow the GR5 which climbs steeply to a landing (the very beautiful "Plateau du Mauvais Berger" with its grassy carpets dotted with erratic boulders, playground of the marmots). The trail then continues in twists and turns towards the Col de la Masse (2,923 m). At this point, you may have the chance to see female ibexes, which often spend the summer in this area with their young (the éterlous).
At the Col de la Masse, continue south to the summit. On this final ascent, the path is not marked but many cairns guide you to the summit where a real forest of cairns unfolds and where you have a panoramic view to the Mont-Blanc.
Start / Finish : Parking du Plan d'Amont, Aussois
Difference in altitude : +1100 m/- 1100m
Distance : 11.5 km
Mount Tabor3 178 m
Starting from the Valfréjus resort or directly from the Lavoir parking lot, the Thabor massif is a hiker's paradise. A wild itinerary winding between lakes and scree slopes allows you to reach a superb summit where the mineral landscape becomes lunar, and the exceptional panorama on prestigious summits: Grandes Jorasses, Cervin, Grande Casse, Mont Viso... The Natura 2000 site of Mont Thabor invites you to come and breathe the invigorating air of its natural area where fauna and flora are perfectly combined.
A very accessible 3000 m: Mount Thabor remains mysterious and attracts curiosity by its authentic and wild character. Moreover, because of its remarkable geological history, it is a mine of natural treasures. You will also come across several high altitude lakes that offer refreshing breaks. Finally arrived at the top, you will be surprised by the mineral atmosphere, almost Martian, of Thabor. Another planet, a few hours walk from the Valfréjus resort and the Modane train station... You will also enjoy an incredible 360° view on Italy, the Southern Alps, the Mont Blanc...
Note: if the hike is not particularly difficult for experienced walkers (some runners from Lyon even took up the challenge of a 3000 in the day with departure from Lyon in the early morning, highway to Modane then parking at the Lavoir, climb to Thabor and return to Lyon in the evening!) it is still quite long. The easiest way is to spend the night at the Thabor hut to do this hike over two days.
Departure / arrival : parking du Lavoir, Valfréjus
Difference in altitude : +1255 m/- 1255 m
Distance : 20 km
The Point of the Observatory3 016 m
A hike without technical difficulty taking you to the Pointe de l'Observatoire via the Col d'Aussois (2,916m). A "real summit", well pointed at the top, a nice "observatory" post on the valleys of Aussois, the big summits of the Vanoise and the Mont-Blanc. It marks the passage between the Tarentaise valley and the Maurienne valley.
Except for the off-trail part to reach the Pointe from the Col d'Aussois, the path is well marked and not technical. The itinerary starts from the dam of the lake of Plan d'Amont and continues on the peaceful plateau of Fond d'Aussois, in the heart of the preserved environment of the Vanoise National Park, an ideal place to discover the fauna (especially the marmots) and the flora.
The Fond d'Aussois refuge, at the end of the valley, awaits you for a gourmet break before climbing to the pass and the summit.
Departure / arrival : Plan d'Amont parking lot, Aussois
Difference in altitude : +1000 m/-1000 m
Distance : 11 km
The Signal du Petit Mont-Cenis3 162 m
A very beautiful "3000" between France and Italy. From the parking of the Petit Mont-Cenis hut, take the direction of the Col de Sollières (2639 m) and follow the trail to the ridge towards the summit.
A commemorative plaque on the Signal du Petit Mont-Cenis pays tribute to it as a historic summit. Alpine hunter units fought bloody battles here in April 1945. A peace trail winds through lush meadows and strangely eroded terrain.
At the top, admire the wide Col du Mont-Cenis and its large lake. To the South, you can discover the Dents d'Ambin. To the North, the Vanoise glaciers and the Dent Parrachée dominate the panorama.
Departure / arrival : Parking of the Petit Mont-Cenis refuge, Val Cenis
Difference in altitude : +1040 m/-1040 m
Distance : 12 km
La Pointe des Fours3 072 m
A 3000 without too much difference in altitude? The Pointe des Fours! The departure is indeed at about 2 700 m, at the Pont de la Neige, just below the Col de l'Iseran. From the parking, the path is perfectly marked. It climbs quickly at first and then more gently to the Grand Fond lake. The Col des Fours is just above and you just have to follow the ridge to the Pointe. Be careful on this last passage which is quite airy.
At the entrance of the Vanoise National Park, the Pointe des Fours invites you to a beautiful and short hike in a mineral universe of high mountain. It is not uncommon to come across chamois and marmots.
An ultra fast 3000, ideal for a limited time slot. Be careful though, there are still snowfalls until mid-July and you have to use special equipment to get over them. Moreover, the final passage between the Col des Fours and the Pointe requires to put your hands down.
Departure / arrival : Pont de la Neige, route de l'Iseran, Bonneval sur Arc.
Difference in altitude : +550 m/-550 m
Distance : 6 km
Safety in the mountains
These hikes require a minimum of equipment:
- Hiking shoes
- Change of socks and T-shirt + warm clothes in the backpack (even in a heat wave, temperatures at 3000m can be very cool)
- Food and at least two liters of water per person
- Sunscreen, cap, IGN map, GPS and charged phone
These high altitude summits are accessible for "classic" hiking in July/August/September (residual snow may still be present at the beginning of July). Remember to inform someone of your itinerary and let them know when you are back. Finally, for these high altitude hikes, leave early: you avoid finishing the hike at nightfall and you limit the risk of thunderstorms at the end of the day (always possible in the mountains in case of strong heat).
To be 100% safe, don't hesitate to call on a mountain leader: professionals know how to accompany you in your technical progress.
Get close to the 3000 mark and enjoy the view!Grand Méan, Lanserlia, Pointe de Tierce
Le Grand Méan 2876 m
A grandiose hike to the glacial lake of Grand Méan which offers a spectacle worthy of the greatest expeditions. Starting from the hamlet of l'Ecot (2,000 m) above Bonneval sur Arc, a path rises steadily to the splendid Cirque des Evettes and the eponymous refuge. Built by the architect Jean Prouvé in the 1970s, this building with its atypical design allows hikers to take a gourmet break near marmots and ibexes. A last effort and the Grand Méan lake appears at 2 876 m of altitude, revealing a landscape of the end of the world. The glacier ends abruptly with an impressive ice cliff that plunges directly into the clear waters where icebergs float... Surrounded by peaks of more than 3000m, it is an unforgettable view! And with a bit of luck, you will also be able to admire a herd of ibex that often spends the summer in this area.
The Point and Lakes of Lanserlia 2909 m
A less frequented itinerary than the classic climbs over the Col de Lanserlia. The off-path part is not very difficult and the itinerary forms a complete loop. The Antecime 2886 dominates in a spectacular way the Plan du lac and the Rochers de Lanserlia, a real explosion of towers and ruinous bell towers in a detrital decor. The three lakes of Lanserlia, with their curiously different colors, are nestled in a cirque covered with a beautiful alpine lawn with the imposing Grand Roc Noir (3 582 m) and the Pointe du Vallonet (3 372 m) in the background. A wild hike in the heart of the preserved environment of the Vanoise National Park from the Bellecombe parking above Val Cenis-Termignon.
The Point of Tierce 2973 m
Located at the entrance of the Avérole valley and the Ribon valley, the Pointe de Tierce offers an exceptional 360° panorama. The view on the Avérole valley is striking : the Pointe de Charbonnel (3 752 m), the Bessanèse (3 592 m), the Albaron (3 637 m), the Pointes de l'Ouillarse (3 435 m), the Ouille Allegra (3 130 m). A mythical summit with its chapel and its cross! Every year, on July 16th, a pilgrimage takes place to the chapel of Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel: writings situate the origin of this high mountain chapel before 1446, certainly one of the oldest in Europe.
The cross located 50 meters below the chapel overlooking the village of Bessans was erected to protect it from avalanches in winter. To reach the Pointe from Bessans, take the trail that leads to the Ribon valley and turn left at the oratory-shelter Sainte-Anne. The path crosses first a forest of larches and then a mountain pasture with sheep. Be careful, the whole path is narrow and steep. But the efforts are rewarded: an unforgettable hike as the view on all the big summits of the sector is present.