Time: 6.75h. Up: 1250m. Down: 600m.
Distance: 16.5km. Difficulty: easy.

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Stage 53: Gîte des Glières (1475m) to Val Claret (2127m)

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

Along but easy uphill walk today as you climb slowly out of the Peisey-Nancroix valley between the ice-clad massifs of Bellecôte (3417m) and Mont Pourri (3779m). At the end of an otherwise charming day you'll cross a high pass... and then descend to the appallingly ugly ski resort of Val Claret de Tignes.

1950's architecture gets my vote for the worst since ancient Sumer... which it resembles... and Val Claret is a prime example. Built at the end of that benighted decade, it is a jumble of concrete boxes with negative charm ratings plunked down in a barren tree-less bowl made even less attractive by the scars of the ski-slope and -lift construction still visible all around.

Marginally redeemed in winter by the extensive and reliable skiing that surrounds it, in summer Val Claret is simply an eyesore... the antithesis of the beautiful, traditional Alpine village.

Why go there, then, you ask? Well, in part because it is the logical place to overnight along this stretch, but more because from time to time it is useful to see bad architecture: one then appreciates the good that much more.

Today's route is identical with the GR5 except right at the end for the final descent into Val Claret. From the Gîte walk up-valley past the Refuge de Rosuel (1556m). About an hour later you'll come to a fork: take the left-hand path in the direction of Plan du Grassaz and Col du Palet. You'll pass by the Lac de la Plagne (down and to your right), and the Lac de Grattaleu (on your left) before finally reaching the Col du Palet (2652m) after 5+ hours of hiking. From here descend to the east to Val Claret.

Alternatives: none. The route is not exposed, so as long as the weather isn't too bad, the hike should be safe.
Maps: IGN-3532ET les Arcs, IGN-3633ET Tignes.

The House to House blog... stage 53.

<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: picnic.
Dinner and overnight: there are a number of different places to stay and eat in Val Claret (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Gîte des Glières: from Landry, which has a railway station, either take a taxi or walk (3h, +730m, 6km) up the Peisey-Nancroix valley to the Gîte (for taxi contact information see here (navigate the website via accès/taxis), and for train schedule information, see the SNCF).
Val Claret: you can either take a taxi or one of the infrequent buses 30km to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, where there is a railway station (for taxi information see here, and for bus schedule information see here).
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Nancroix, centered on Val Claret.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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