The Chamonix Vertical Kilometer
Starting right at the launch point for so many grand adventures, Chamonix's church, is the Chamonix vertical kilometer, or VK.
The trail zigs and zags directly beneath the Brevent Tramline to it's mid-station at Planpraz for almost exactly 1000 meters in just about 3.8km. Math reveals that this is both steep and will clearly include some very tight switchbacks - both true. The course record is just 34:07 minutes. But, that was by Kilian. Go find out what you do.
The VK only goes up, so now you have to get down. For efficiency, we like taking the trail off to the left after you finish the up. Otherwise, you're just getting started for connecting trails and heading higher. This way, besides the great views of the Mont Blanc massif, you actually get rewarded with a superb singletrack descent right back to your start point. (The VK route isn't great for downhill, and going the wrong direction can upset the flow of traffic.)
Once down, you can either go again, or have an ice cream. Ice cream is the correct choice.
Start: 45.923820, 6.868430
The route gets direct sun, go early or save it for a cloudy day.
You'll likely encounter some very serious runners either training, or going for a good time - behave, and move out of the way accordingly.
- Avoid looking at the Strava leaderboard unless you truly don't care, or are extremely fast.