Time: 8.5h. Up: 1030m. Down: 1990m.
Distance: 16km. Difficulty: hard.

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Stage 48: Refuge de Moëde-Anterne (2002m) to Chamonix (1037m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

Agorgeous hike today -- one of the finest of the whole H2H -- along the edge of the Aiguilles Rouges (Red Needles) to the peak of Le Brévent looking across the Chamonix valley to Mont Blanc. The view from Le Brévent is one of the great panoramas of the Alps (3 Michelin stars), so stop for a leisurely lunch and savour the sight.

There is a cable car up to Le Brévent from Chamonix, and so you'll probably be surrounded by day-tripping tourists... but l suspect that you won't care: the spectacular panorama will mean so much more for you than for them. For by now the H2H will have transmuted you into something much more solid and real than the flocks of flitting, chittering tourists: unlike them, you are no longer observers, but have instead somehow become a part of the Alps, rather like the mountains themselves.

And despite this, you may still feel a little envious as they get into the cable car to be whisked back down to Chamonix… whilst you hoist your packs to your shoulders for the almost 1500m descent from the peak (unless that is, you also take the cable car down!). So, once down in town, why not, as suggested at Montreux, stay for a couple of nights? It will rejuvenate you... and also give you the opportunity to sample some of the remarkable attractions of Chamonix, Queen of the French Alps.

Today's route is identical with the GR5 and the Via Alpina until the Col du Brévent, and then the GR5 alone until the Refuge le Bel Lachat, at which point you turn left off of the GR5 to go down into Chamonix. Start the day by descending from the Refuge de Moëde-Anterne to the southwest, then after a couple of hundred meters fork left along a trail which turns back west and reaches its lowest point at the Pont d'Arlevé (1597m). It then turns south and climbs to the pass of Col du Brévent (2368m). Turn right at the pass and walk up the ridge to the cable car station and mountain restaurant on the peak of Le Brévent (2525m). Afterwards continue, now descending, along the ridge to the Refuge le Bel Lachat (2136m), then turn left down a steep switchback trail that will take you via Les Moettieux (1200m) to Chamonix.

Alternatives: you can make the day shorter by taking the cable car down from Le Brévent (saves 3.5h, -1490m, 7km). If the weather is bad, avoid the exposed ridge and descend about 50 minutes from the Col du Brévent to Planpraz (1999m) from which you can walk or take the cable car down (cable car saves 3.25h, +160m, -960m, 7km). If the weather is bad, and the next day is predicted to be fine, then take a rest day so as to be able to enjoy the view from Le Brévent once the weather clears.
Map: IGN-3530ET Samoëns.

The House to House blog... stage 48.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: take a snack with you for the mid-morning, and then have a late lunch at Le Brévent (after 5h).
Dinner and overnight: there are many excellent restaurants and places to stay in Chamonix (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Moëde-Anterne: there is a railway station in the village of Servoz (for train schedule information, see the SNCF). From Servoz (800m) walk via Vieux Servoz, Lac Vert, and Les Mollays up to the Refuge (around 5h, +1200m, 10km). Alternatively, if you don't mind walking back over the same route during the next stage, you can take the cable car from Chamonix up to Le Brévent and then do the reverse of this stage (around 4.5h, +500, -1030, 9km).
Chamonix: there is a railway station here.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Servoz, centered on Chamonix.

Background Information and Links
Things worth doing include: taking the cable car up to the 3840m Aiguille de Midi next to the Mont Blanc peak, the cog railway to the Mer de Glace and its ice cave, and walking along the Balcon Nord from Flégère to Pran Praz with spectacular views across the valley to Mont Blanc.

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