Mont de Grange

Mont de Grange

Route: Mont de Grange nature reserve

Area: Chablais Alps, France

Date of walk: 18th August 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 10.5 miles

Ascent: 2,100 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny

We arrived at the Hotel Les Gentianettes yesterday afternoon after walking there from Abondance. Today’s circular walk started from the door of the hotel and took us into the northern part of the Mont de Grange nature reserve. After last night’s superb but highly calorific dinner we were in need of some exercise

We walked out of La Chapelle d’Abondance to join a path beside the River Dranse, which runs along the Abondance valley. After about 1.5 miles we crossed the river and following a short road section we began the long and quite steep climb up through the forest, passing by a lovely waterfall as we did so. There were innumerable hairpin bends along the narrow path, and these helped to take the sting out of the gradient

We eventually reached some meadows and followed a track around the mountainside, enjoying some wonderful views as we went along. On arriving at a junction known as La Pare du Midi we had a decision to make. At this point there is an optional there and back detour to the Refuge de Trebentaz, which involves an additional 1,000 feet of ascent (and descent), and would add 1.5 hours to the route. We debated the pros and cons for a while and in the end reluctantly decided to give it a miss, as clouds were coming in and rain was forecast for the afternoon

We started the long descent, initially through meadows, with more views ahead of us looking towards Mont Chauffé and Les Cornettes de Bise. There were several alpine cattle mooching around on the path in various places, but we passed by them without incident – they are good natured animals, despite their intimidating horns. These were the only beasts we saw in the nature reserve – we’d been hoping for a sighting of a chamois or perhaps a marmot but were out of luck today

The descent was easy, apart from a quite steep and slippery section near the end. On reaching the valley floor we crossed to the far side of the valley and retraced our steps back to the hotel to complete a hat trick of wonderful Alpine walks

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