Lac Blanc, 2352m ~ Hiking the Grand Balcony Trail
Chamonix Travel Blog› entry 2 of 8 › view all entries
There are so many excellent hiking trails in the Chamonix area above the tree line. What is even better is the availability of the various cable cars, lifts and tramways that would bring one up from the in just a few minutes, hence avoiding that few hours of hard walk up through the woods.
As it was a warm and sunny day, we chose to do the Grand Balcony Trail from Plan Praz (2,000m) to La Flegere (1,877m) and onwards up to the mountain-ringed alpine turquoise lake, Lac Blanc (2,352m).
The highlight of this trail was not only the dazzling views of many of the highest peaks in the Alps, such as Mt Blanc, Grandes Jorasses (4,208m), Aigulle Verte (4,122m) and Mt Dolent (3,823m), but also the outstanding views of the various glaciers such as the Bosson Glacier and Mer de Glace.
The view of the Bosson Glacier and Mt Blanc Glacier from the Plan Praz station was overwhelming. There were also quite a number of paragliders in this area. Gosh, it was actually quite scary to see them running off the edge of the slopes right into the steep valley before taking off into the air.
Generally rather flat walking from Plan Praz to La Flegere, there was a lot of ascent and upwards walking on the trail thereafter to Lac Blanc. The weather could not have been better and the spectacular natural theatre of the mountain and glaciers that run alongside the trail was breathtaking. We finally reached Mt Blanc at about 2.30pm in the afternoon and were quite disappointed to see instead of a turquoise lake a murky lake due to the mineral content in the water.
After a quick coffee and rest, we hurried off on our way back as we wanted to make it back to town before 6pm in the event. Instead of walking downwards back to La Flegere station with lots of people hurrying behind us, we trekked across the mountains to L’ Index cable car station at 2,385m instead. We pushed on without any rest until we reached the station.
Reaching Chamonix in good time for the start of the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail race, the atmosphere in town was sensational with lots of race participants and supporters cheering them on. This was an inspiring event involving a 155km run around the Mt Blanc Massif spanning France, Italy and Switzerland with a total accumulated altitude of 8,500m. There were 2,700 participants and the eldest participant was a 72 yrs old man.
The entire village center was filled with people. One guy even brought along a bell for the cow which was dated 1917 to cheer his friends participating in the race. It was an emotional moment too when the music “Conquest of Paradise” from Vangelis was played when the race started.
After seeing the race participants off, we went off for an authentic Savoy cheese fondue dinner. It was great to try but was too cheesy and heavy for my taste as the mix was made up of four different cheeses and white wine.