Chamonix Walking - Walk 1 Flegere to Lac Blanc
Lac Blanc is one of Chamonix's most popular hiking routes…and deservedly so. Set in the heart of the Aiguilles Rouges, the lake itself is a place of outstanding beauty, with ever-changing colours and textures depending on the time of year. The lake remains frozen, or semi-frozen, well into the summer season and offers one of the finest views over the Mont Blanc massif. If any further motivation is needed, the traverse across from l'Index to Lac Blanc is also one of the best places to spot wild chamois! There is a refuge hut at the lake with drinks and snacks available.
This is a high altitude walk with no real difficulty (hence its popularity), although there will be snow patches early in the season and walking poles are recommended. The most scenic route is Chamonix-La Flégère-l'Index-Lac Blanc-La Flégère-Chamonix.
Count approx 1 hour 30 for the traverse across from l'Index to Lac Blanc and 1 hour 15 for the descent from Lac Blanc to La Flégère.
Take the bus or train to Les Praz, or alternatively walk along the river Arve from Chamonix to Les Praz (approx 40 mins). At Les Praz take the Flégère cable car. From here take the chairlift up to l'Index. At l'Index take the path leading off to the right to start the traverse across to Lac Blanc. This is rugged, barren terrain as the path descends down towards the Combe des Crochues. The path continues around a rocky corner before climbing back up to reach the boundary of the Réserve Naturelle des Aiguilles Rouges. Continue across more exposed, rocky ground to eventually join the path that comes up from La Flégère. A further 200m over a slight hill and the spectacular Lac Blanc will suddenly appear before you.
For the descent instead of returning to l'Index, take the path leading directly back down to La Flégère cable car. The path winds down the mountainside affording spectacular views right down the Chamonix valley. Directly opposite is the impressive Mer de Glace, with the surrounding jagged peaks of the Aiguille Verte and the Aiguille des Drus. At La Flégère take the cable car back down to Les Praz. Return to Chamonix via bus or train, or take the pleasant walk back along the river Arve.
At Lac Blanc you can alternatively descend to Argentière via the Lacs des Cheserys, five pretty lakes nestled in the mountains. Count approx 2 hours 30 for this descent (includes a slightly tricky section with handrails and ladders).
This walk is described in full in Natalie Jennings's book, 'Mont Blanc Wanderings', along with further suggestions to turn this walk into a full day's hike.
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