Chamonix Aiguille du Belvédère ⇑
Θ Point to point
Chamonix's Aiguille du Belvédère run has it all, and it gets you to the high point of the Aiguilles Rouges at 2965 meters. It combines a steep trail ascent from Argentière with a short wander through the alpine zone before the scramble up the Aiguille du Belvédère's south ridge.
We recommend getting the earliest possible start for this one so as to have the Lac Blanc to yourself in the morning. You'll need to beat the hordes coming in hot from the Flegere lift for a day of mountain beach time.
Get yourself to Argentière by bus, train or foot and start making your way up the 1150 meter climb to Lac Blanc. Here, you can buy drinks and snacks, and for at least a brief moment enjoy the relative quiet of this stunning azzure lake. But, your goal rises directly above and behind the lake, reminding you of some work that needs getting done.
Follow the trail around the south side of the lake until it splits, one heading deeper into the canyon while the left rises higher and more in the direction of the Aiguille du Belvédère. This trail is on again off again, not runnable and at times very steep and somewhat loose.
After 350 meters of gain, you'll reach what's left of the Glacier Blanc, a sad, tiny glacier in its final days of existence. Cross the glacier, or skirt its sides, and gain the final step to the Col des Dards, where the south ridge starts. Just about all access points lead to the ridge proper, some even on a faint trail. After some easy terrain, a steeper rock step ends at a small vertical-ish wall with a chimney system. It's possible to go onto the west side here but this small path goes nowhere. The chimney is your route, look for pitons, some painted bright colors, to mark the way. Climb the chimney (3b / 5.4) for about 8 meters to easier ground which has some additional easy scrambling before the summit.
Runners not doubling as climbers need to understand this is actual climbing, hands and feet, in steep terrain, where a fall could be fatal. Yes, it's 3b, but that only means something to climbers. Understand your skill level and don't attempt this as a "run" unless you are 100% sure of your level.
The Aiguille du Belvédère summit rewards you with some of the very best views in all of Chamonix, from the entire Mont Blanc massif, to Mont Buet, to the distant flatlands of France to the crowds of beach lovers at Lac Blanc far below.
Our descent of Aiguille du Belvédère was off the north side, in the hopes of making a loop. We do NOT recommend this! Instead, retrace your steps down the south ridge and back to Lac Blanc before dropping further to Lacs de Chésery on the Chamonix High Traverse (aka Conga Line) and then descend back to Argentière via the more northerly trail in our GPX track.
Start: 45.983554, 6.926556
Know your climbing ability for the short section of 3b climbing and understand that what you go up, you will also need to go down, which is actually more difficult.
Have a good weather forecast, the Aiguille du Belvédère south ridge is not the place to be in a thunderstorm.